Search This Blog

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Handbags and Wallets Part 13 Upright Bag

It is time for something a little different in handbags. I decided to design a bag with a little more structure and concentrated a lot on practical pockets. This is the result. You can download the pattern from In this first part of the making of the bag we work our way through from conceptualization to the construction of the pockets. In the next blog we shall bring the final pieces together and finish the bag.

Concept, Pattern and Layout
We start in the usual place by drawing the concept first. I then proceed to design the pattern. I always have a working copy from which I draw up a second set, fitting it onto A4 paper so that you can easily print it out on any home printer. Simply set your printer to no margins and press print in A4 Landscape format.

I lay the pattern pieces out on my fabric. I am basically going to be making the whole bag from only one fabric and almost all the pattern pieces are cut from this, aside from the lining.

Only this one piece is cut from the flower print fabric. The flowers are rather large and can easily overwhelm the bag. Laying out the pattern piece I am for once not interested in saving fabric, but rather ensure that I get a proper flower into the pattern piece.

I make sure to cut all the necessary pieces from the lining as well.

Construction - Sling
It is time to start construction of the bag. I start on the sling. Fold the sling in half and iron it flat.

Open the sling and fold the sides in to meet at the middle. Iron it flat.

Fold the sling in half on the first fold line again and once more iron it flat.

Set your stitch length to be a little longer so that you can get a more professional looking top stitch.

Sew all around the sling staying close to the edge, but maintaining the same distance from the edge throughout. A foot width should suffice.

The Zippers
The bag has three zippers in total. We start with the top zipper that will close the bag. Sandwich the zipper between the fabric and the lining of the zipper flaps.

Sew as close as possible to the zipper. Repeat the steps with the remaining two zipper flaps as well.

For the outside zipper pocket, sandwich the zipper between the fabric and the lining of the bottom panel. Sew as close to the zipper as possible.

Sandwich the other side of the zipper between the fabric and lining of the top panels. Sew as close as possible to the zipper.

We now move to the inside zipper pocket. Follow the same steps as for the outside pocket, with the exception that all the pieces will be cut from lining this time.

Iron all the zippers flat when you are done.

The Pockets
We have actually already constructed two of the four pockets and have only the two open pockets remaining. Lay the pocket pieces with right sides facing on top of each other. Sew the top seams with approximately 1,5 cm seam allowance. The outside pocket has one fabric piece and one lining piece.

The inside open pocket has both pieces cut from lining, but the steps are exactly the same as for the outside pocket.

Iron the seams open,before you fold the pockets over so that the right sides are facing out. Iron the pockets flat on the seam.

Lay the outside open pocket down on one of the fabric panels of the bag. Mark the centers at the top and bottom.

Sew straight down the middle of the pocket, effectively turning the one big pocket into two smaller pockets. (This step is entirely optional. At the same time, if you prefer smaller pockets, you can repeat the same steps for the inside open pockets as well. I did not, because I loathe rummaging to find something inside a bag and not having free access to the pockets).

In the next blog we put the rest of the bag together to finish it.
For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.