I would rate this as an “experience beginner” project. If you are ready to test your beginner skills, this is a great break down on how to sew a bag for you!
Once you start reading thru this bag tutorial, you will notice that there are different options provided for you to try some new techniques. If you aren’t ready yet… no worries! Options are so great aren’t they? No need for a further introduction by me! Collect your supplies and follow along to learn how to sew a bag.
Not ready to learn how to sew a bag yet? Save the tutorial here on Pinterest…
If you are looking for a different style bag, try this oval bag tutorial.
How to Sew a Bag from DIY Tutorial Ideas…
The Olivia Bag
This bag is quick and easy to make with pockets that can be customized to size. Dress it up in your favorite fashion fabric, with a lining in fun contrasting color.
I used a canvas weight material for the outside and a quilting cotton weight for the inside. Use whatever ya like, but make sure you add interfacing accordingly. I used fusible fleece and duck cloth (my favorite interfacing hands down!).
First you will need to create a pattern piece using the diagram below. I like to make my patterns on freezer paper so I can iron them on the fabric shiny side down and cut around it and peel it off and repeat. Freezer paper is the best! To make this pattern, I started with the 18″ side, found the center, measured up 11 3/4″ from there and then measured out 3 1/4″ from each side of that mark making the 6 1/2″ side. See diagram for the rest! You can do it!
So, this is what ya need:
- Using the pattern piece for the body, cut: 2 main fabric, 2 interior fabric, 2 fusible fleece, 2 duck cloth
- Cut 1 pocket piece 8″ x 4 1/2″, 1 strap piece 3 1/2″ x 41″ from the interior fabric
- From the main fabric, cut: 1 pocket piece 8″ x 4 1/2″, 2 zipper pocket pieces 9″ x 5 1/2″, 1 strap piece 3 1/2″ x 41″
- From medium weight fusible interfacing, cut: 1 piece 2 1/2″ x 9″
- Cut: 1 strap piece 2 1/2″ x 41 from the fusible fleece
- 7″ zipper (optional)
- magnetic snaps (optional)
Seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated
Start by fusing the fleece to the interior body pieces and fuse the medium weight interfacing to the top of one of the zipper pocket pieces.
Then layer duck cloth, main fabric body piece right side up, main fabric body piece wrong side up and then duck cloth again and pin.
Sew down each long side and across the bottom. Press seams open.
Pinch out the corners forming a triangle and measure 3 1/2″ and draw a line with a disappearing marker (make sure it is nice and straight by putting the seam line along the 1 3/4″ mark). Pin, matching the 2 seams and sew along this line. I like to sew on this line twice for strength!
Trim the triangle leaving a 1/2″ seam.
Do the same to the other corner. Now, turn right side out and you should have fancy looking corners like so!
So far, we have this!
Admire. You are a total rock star!
Okay, next take your 2 pocket pieces and sew them RS (right sides) together using a 1/4″ seam allowance and leaving a space for turning at the bottom. Clip corners.
Turn right side out, press out corners really well and press pocket. When pressing, make sure your opening is tucked in nice and neat as to make it looked closed up. You will close this opening when you stitch it onto the bag. I like to add a 1/2″ seam line along the top to give it a finished feel.
Pin it 3″ from the bottom of one of the interior body pieces. Top stitch it on along the 2 sides and bottom. Then determine the size you want your pockets. Here I added a 1″ pen pocket in the middle. Make sure you reinforce the top of your pockets where they will get the most pull by sewing over the top 1″ or so several times.
Zipper or Not…
On the other interior body piece, you will add your zipper pocket if you want. Otherwise you can create a pocket much like the one we just did. Our fabric piece is a different size, but you will use a 7″ zipper so everything else is the same! Pin the pocket on 3″ from the top.
Follow the directions to end up with this.
Okay, once you have all your pockets in place add your magnetic snaps. Add the snaps 1 1/4″ from the top and centered. Be careful to make sure it is centered on both sides so they will match up.
Now lay your interior body pieces right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom leaving a 4″ or 5″ opening at the bottom.
Press seams open and make your corners the same way you did with the main body of the bag. Now you will have this.
At the last minute, I decided to add a key fob thingy by cutting 7″ of ribbon, adding a hook and stitching it to the inside of the bag and inch or so from the corner.
Next is the strap.
Fuse the fleece onto the center of one of the strap pieces.
Okay, pin the two strap pieces right sides together and stitch down each long end (note: you are using 1/2″ seam allowance here). You should be stitching right along side of the fleece. Turn it right side out and press really well. Top stitch down each long side. I used a double stitch here using 1/8″ top stitch and then 1/4″. I just liked the added fancy!
Pin and baste it to the outside of the purse with matching fabrics facing. Make sure not to twist the strap. You will notice that the strap is an inch thinner than the tabs. This is to allow for the seam allowance when stitching the bag together, so line up the strap to the center of the tab like in the picture.
Putting it together…
Now, put the exterior of the bag inside the interior of the bag with right sides facing, line up the top edge nicely and pin. Stitch along the whole top of the bag. Then make a slit in each of the corners making sure not to cut into the seam.
Clip the corners of the tabs.
Turn the bag right side out from the opening in the interior bottom of the bag. Press the top really well being sure to press out the tabs and corners really well and then top stitch. I used a double stitch here again like in the construction of the strap.
Yay!! Look how pretty your bag is! You’re a sewing super star! Okay, so for the bottom… you can either just top stitch the bottom closed or you can add something on the inside to make the bottom sturdier. I like to do this to many of my bags. To do that you need that plastic grid stuff for yarn and some batting. Cut the grid stuff the same size of the bottom of your bag.
Wrap batting around this piece and stitch around it.
Trim around this piece and then insert it into your bag from the opening in the interior. Lay it out nicely on the bottom of the bag.
Lastly, pull out the inside of the bag, tuck in the raw edges of the opening and top stitch it closed.
Tuck that back into the bag and Voile!! You did it! Now you will be the talk of the town with your new fancy bag! Nice job, friend!
You have officially learned how to sew a bag from DIY Tutorial Ideas! Check out their website for more ideas.