Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tutorial on my Crafty Colorful and Customizable Cross Body Bags

Update: I have checked back (6 years later) and many of my photos are missing or broken links!  I am so sorry, hope you can follow instructions without the pics here!  I will investigate what happened.

Ok, as promised my tutorial for making my handy dandy cross body bags...I searched all over Pinterest and the internet and while I found a few tips and tricks, I came up with my own way to make the bags.  I am a bit of an attention deficit sewer, I am always trying to find faster ways to do things so I don't get bored.  I apologize in advance for any confusion, I encourage you to try things your own way as well, sometimes we know what works for us!  That said, this is my first attempt with making a table to house my directions, Blogger doesn't offer it, but a little sleuthing around the internet yielded some html coding to create it.  I hope to get better at this soon, feel free to suggest improvements.  I used pics from one bag, but where I missed the pic for the step, I tried to show with other bags under construction.  

Cross Body Bag my way!

  • You will need: 2/3 yard of your main fabric, mainly for the length to make a fabric strap, but if you choose cording, you can get away with a lot less yardage (cotton is preferred, but upholstery can work too, you might not need interfacing for structure)
  • 1/8 yard of pocket or contrast, trims,
  • 1/8 yard of lining fabric
  • 1/8 yard of pellon type interfacing, one that creates a soft structure, or fusible fleece or even quilt batt
  • 6-8 inch zipper, if you use a longer one from your stash, plan on cutting it to size ansewing across the teeth thread
  • sewing machine that also has a zipper foot
  • All seams are 1/4 inch
  • TIP:  If you place your pieces next to each other on the layout, you can interface all at once then cut out.  If you sew a lot you know how to save steps!

Step 1: Pardon my hasty sketch, I made templates out of cardboard for my bag pieces, not shown, because I knew I was making more than one.  If you are simply making one bag, just follow the directions for the cut pieces. Cut your pieces out, following dimensions to the right on this table. Turn iron on high and fuse your interfacing to the backside of the pieces where indicated, or if you sew in, pin and baste around the edges.

Top Sketch:
Your main fabric, - Cut  main body piece, 8 1/2' by 10 1/2" this will be the back
Using the second piece created by cutting 2, re-cut 1 main body front so that piece measures 8 1/2"x9 " (Cut through fold)

 Top front is 1 1/2 " by 8 1/2 "  Interfacing 8.1/2" x10 1/2 " for back and 8 1/2" x 9" for front, also cut your top front piece out of interfacing 1 1/2 " by 8"

Second sketch:
2 Lining pieces are 8 1/2 " x 10 1/2 ", like above, cut one 8 1/2" by 1 1/2" and  one 8 1/2" by 9"

Pocket is 6 " by 8 1/2" before folding in half
Strap:can be made different lengths, for the 3 way method, be sure it is long enough.  Mine was 36 inches long finished, so cut two long 2 inch wide by 18 inches, you will join these to make one long strap 

Step2: Fold the pocket piece in half, apply trims or lace or any decor you would like to feature and then sew 3 sides of your front pocket to the bottom front piece, leaving the folded top open, and press.  Then sew vertical lines from the opening of the pocket to the bottom, arranging the lines of sewing so that pockets area created for your needs, I use my cell phone as the measurement for one of the pockets. You might want a stylus pocket or other gadget sized space to be created here.

Step 3:  Sew the bag front top to the bag front bottom with a large basting stitch. Press the seam open on the wrong side.
Step 4: To make a sturdier end to your zippers, take 2 small rectangular scraps about 2 inches and fold  in half.  Pin on each end of your zipper, assuming the zipper is smaller than the opening. ( If you have a zipper that is at least 8 inches or more, you might have to finish the end with hand stitches so the zipper pull doesn't leave the track.) Sew across the ends creating a tab that will peek out of the zipper opening but create a more secure opening for wear and tear.
Step 5: Pin your zipper under the center of the pressed seam, on each side. Turn to right side, press and if you want to, you can apply rick rack or trims across the top to coordinate with your pocket trims.
Step 6:  Make your strap next so that you can use pieces of the strap for the strap loops that need to be pinned to the front of the bag.  Take the two 18 " pieces and join them right sides together along the short side, creating a 36 " long strip.  Press the strip in half, longways, then press 1/4 inch to the inside on each long edge.  You shouldn't have any raw edges showing on the long edges. Pin the edges together and then top stitch along both sides taking care to sew as straight as possible.  I use my seam markings on my sewing machine throat plate to help me with this.  Cut off the 2 inches on each end, and fold them each in half and pin 1/2 in from the side edges of your bag front.  Keep raw edges even with the outside top edge of bag.  Baste across the ends.  These loops need to be sewn into the seam in the next step. To finish your long strap edges, turn them in 1/4 in and press, top stitch across the ends.
Step 7: take the back and front section with it's zipper and pocket already installed and with right sides together, sew all the way around. Sew 4 sides of your bag outer but remember to leave the zipper open so you can turn it right side out later.

Step 8:Now for the lining pieces, sew the top rectangle that is 1 1/2" by 8"  to the main front piece, using a long basting machine stitch.  Press the seam open, then take this unit and right sides together stitch all four sides. Trim across corners to reduce bulk on both the lining and the bag seams.   You will open the seam you created with a seam ripper, turn the lining right side out, and with the main body inside out, slide the bag into the lining, lining up the opened seam with the zipper opening.
Step 9: Pin the edges of the opening to the zipper tape, using an invisible stitch like the slip stitch, hand sew the opening of the lining to the zipper opening.  Be sure to secure where he zipper ends and keep the lining free of the movement of the zipper.  
Step 10. Finishing: Turn the bag so that the lining is inside and use a wooden spoon or knitting needle end, poke the corners so they are smooth and rounded.  If need, you a pin to poke out those corners so they look uniform. On the outside back of the bag, turn the edges of the loop under and slip stitch securely.  Try to stitch through bag, but not the lining if possible.  Thread your strap through the loops and knot the ends.  Since this is a 3 way bay, you can grasp strap on the back side of the bag and draw it up to shorten the handles, creating 2 loops to hold.  And with the straps untied, tie the bag around your waist to create a handy fanny pack that makes your bag hands free!  I sized this bag to keep you from overloading it, but also, perfect for your tablets and electronics.  Extra padding can be built in with your choice of pellon fleece or even quilt batting.

Here is a bag with table cloth lace and upholstery weight fabric.  Cording was used for the handle, with a casing made across the back.  This bag can only be used as a shoulder bag for that reason.
The Cupcake confection below was a special order.  The center pocket was requested for a table stylus, the flap is the doily with the cupcake motif on top.

An old battered 30's quilt made up nicely into a bag, the third tab on the back can support a key ring.

Upholstery cording worked nicely too, I taped the ends to avoid raveling.

The bag below uses a piece of thrifted cross stitched table cloth piece, I have made a lot of things with this same table cloth!

As you can see, the sky is the limit for your fabric and trim choices.  I used a variety of cording for handles as well as contrasting fabric made into handles.  Use what you have, this project is great for those scraps and remnants.

I am linking up with a number of bloggers, see the page "Where I Party for a partial list.  Thank you Coastal Charm for sponsoring a lovely list, hoping for a shout out too!

Have fun and go wild!

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