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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Handbags and Wallets Part 4

We are busy 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 continued with the construction and we concentrated on the pockets and side panels. In this blog we will be putting the finishing touches on the paneled bag.

Attach the Base
Find the centre of the bottom of all four of the constructed panels. Find the centre of both of the bases. Pin the centre of one of the constructed panels to the centre of the base. In the example I started on the lining.

Pin the base to the panel, all the way to the top, left and right. The corners will cause a bit of a problem. A small fold will solve it quickly.

Sew, allowing 1,5 cm for the seam.

This is what it will look like .

Attach the other lining panel to the base in exactly the same way. I have turned the lining for my bag inside out so you can see what the two sides look like. You don’t have to turn the lining inside out, because it goes into the bag as is, with the right sides facing in. I did this only for photographic purposes.

Repeat the steps for the outer panels exactly as for the lining.

Cut the corners away when you are done to create space in the corners when you turn the bag inside out.

The fold in the corners will have left a small opening like the one shown. It isn’t open and nothing can fall through here, so you can technically ignore it. I prefer to sew it closed by hand, simply because it gives a tidier finish.

Put the lining inside the bag and pin all the way around, lining the seams up with each other.

Constructing the Sling
Fold the sling in half in its length and iron flat.

Open the sling up and fold the sides in to meet in the middle.

Fold the sling along the original fold again, i.e. fold it in half again. Iron it flat.

Set your sewing machine to a longer stitch length for top stitching.

Top stitch the sling, stitching all the way around. Maintain an equal distance from the side.

Attaching the Zipper and Sling
Fold the base ends in and slip the zipper ends in between the lining and the fabric. Slip the sling in there as well. Pin all of this to secure it in place. I show you the outside view as well as a view of the lining. Do this on both ends.

Fold the top of the bag and the lining in all around and pin to secure.

Open the zipper so you can reach through the opened zipper. Release the sides one pin at a time and slide the zipper panels in between. Re-pin when done and move on to the next pin. Work your way all along the side of the zipper.

The ends will appear to be a problem, but simply smooth the excess fabric away tucking it in between the lining and the fabric. It smoothes out beautifully.

I do not recommend top stitching here. I would much rather recommend that you sew very neatly by hand, making sure that the inside and outside line up properly and that everything is tucked in neatly.

And this is what the finished product will look like.

For the next blog in the series you can look forward to constructing a round vanity bag.
For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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