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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Handbags and Wallets Part 3

We started with an ongoing series of blogs on designing and making handbags and wallets. In the first blog we developed some ideas and designs for a number of bags and wallets. If you don't want to design your own pattern you can buy and download the pattern here from We then focused on one specific bag and designed a pattern for it. We opted to call it a paneled bag, since the sides were divided into panels. In the second part of the series we started with the construction of the bag. In Part 3 we continue with the construction and we will be concentrating on the pockets and side panels.

Constructing the Pockets
Aside from the two zipper pockets, one on the outside and the other on the inside of the bag, the bag has also been designed to have an open pocket on the outside as well as another open pocket on the inside of the bag. We are now going to construct these. Once again we will be repeating the same steps for the two pockets. Pin the fabric and lining for the top pocket pieces to each other, right sides facing. Then pin the bottom pieces in the same way.

Sew along the pinned sides. I worked on a foot width, more or less. The bigger your seam allowance, the bigger the gap between the pocket pieces will be.

Repeat the steps for the inner pocket cut only from lining.

Iron the pockets flat when done.

Constructing the Panels
It is time to start attaching the panels to each other. I am going to start on the lining. Lay the two side panels down on the table. Attach the top of the open pocket to one of the panels with pins.

Attach the bottom of the open pocket to the panel using pins.

Pin them to the other panel as well.

Repeat the steps for the outer pocket.

Repeat the same steps for the outer zipper pocket.

Repeat the same steps for the inner zipper pocket.

Now lay the Whole Centre Panels on top of the pockets, right sides facing the linings of the pockets so that the pockets are sandwiched between the side panels and the Whole Centre Panel.

This is what the outer open pocket must look like when you turn it over.

Repeat these steps for the inner open pocket.

Repeat the steps for the outer zipper pocket and the inner zipper pocket.

Put the outer pockets aside for the moment. Sew the sides of the pocket sandwiches you’ve created with a 1,5 cm seam allowance.

This is what the two lining panel will look like once constructed.

Iron the seams open.

Turn the outer panels’ ‘sandwich’ so that the side panels face you. Unpin the side panels and lay the pleat in its place. Pin the pleat to the sandwich, right sides facing.

Pin the side panels to the other side of the pleats.

Do this to both sides of the pattern and to both outer pockets.

Sew with a 1,5 cm seam allowance all along the pleats.

This is what it should look like when you are done.

Fold the pleat in half in its length, pinning the seams right on the seam line. Put a pin at the top as well as at the bottom.

When you turn the panel over, the pleat must be completely hidden. Pin the middle as well to make sure it remains hidden.

This is what it must look like with the pleats pinned down.


Sew a stay stitch at the tops and bottoms to keep the pleats in place. This way you can remove the pins without the pleats opening again.

Iron the panels flat. Can you see the pleat? Once you have ironed it flat, put the pin back in to retain the shape of the panel. You can remove it once the bag is fully constructed.

In the next blog we will be adding the last of the pattern pieces to finish the construction of the bags.
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