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Topic: Sewing bag - zip case with pattern & tutorial  (Read 21584 times)
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« on: May 06, 2012 09:45:20 AM »

This sewing bag is one of the goodies that I made for aliis in the Unicorn Swap. It's made from hemp canvas (stencilled with a unicorn I designed just for her!  Wink ) and lined with quilting cotton. I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

In fact, I was so pleased with it that I decided I'd make myself one to store all my sewing machine's accessories. Yeah!

THAT WAS A BAD IDEA. I think the lining fabric I chose was too thick, and the outer fabric had a fairly loose weave that liked to skew... Ugh. It serves its purpose, but beautiful it ain't:

Everything. Just. Went. WRONG. WONKY CORNERS  Angry
Anywayyy. I also took a bucketload of pictures as I made it - although it RAINED the whole time and ruined the light - so you can make one too (though hopefully yours will turn out nicely like my first one).

The templates
The finished bag is approximately 22 x 14 x 5cm, or  8 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 2".
Templates - print these (each image is meant to be an A4 sheet, double check your dimensions!), seam allowances are included:

(They're a bit rough & ready, I know Tongue)
Alternatively, the main body is 30cm x 22cm rectangle, with a 3cm square cut from each corner.
The corner pieces are a 6x6cm square with a triangle cut from one edge (pick an edge and mark one cm in from either side, then a point 2cm up and 3cm in; join this centre point to each side point)
The hinge piece is a rectangle 8cm x 18cm
The handle piece is a rectangle 6 x 18cm

You will need
This project doesn't use much fabric; I used a fat quarter for the lining of aliis' bag and had leftovers (45 x 55cm is roughly a fat quarter). You'll need a heavy-ish fabric for your outer and a nice light fabric for your lining. I used a plain outer fabric which I stencilled onto, and a pretty pattern for the lining.
  • All your essentials - NICE SHARP SCISSORS (or rotary cutter), pins, temporary fabric marker of your choice, measuring tape, iron - and don't forget your sewing machine Tongue
  • I'd reccommend having a heavy machine needle (the type sold for denim) for when you get to the zip stage!
  • Threads that mach your outer and lining fabrics - take care throughout to match your top and bottom threads to whatever piece is on top or bottom as you sew (if your lining is facing upwards, for example, your top thread should be lining coloured and your bottom should be your outer fabric colour)
  • Cut 2 main body pieces from your outer fabric, and 2 from your lining
  • Cut 8 corner pieces from your lining fabric
  • Cut 1 hinge piece from your outer, and 1 from your lining
  • Cut 1 handle piece from your lining
  • You'll also need about 1m of elastic that goes nicely with your lining, which we'll cut later
  • ... and one zip that measures 22" (I used a closed end metal dress zip)
  • Oh, and any blocks/stencils and ink/paint/whatever you wish to decorate with Smiley
One last thing ... to help it keep its shape, I actually strengthened aliis' case with 22 x 14cm rectangles bonded to the inside of the main outer pieces (if that makes sense!). I forgot to do this to mine Sad It's not essential though!

Now make!

Start by decorating your outer pieces however you want. I used my good ol' key linocuts here, but you could go crazy with some beautiful appliqu or something. (If you do, let me see!)
Then you want to take your 8 corner pieces and press the 1cm seam allowance under on the 3 straight edges on each piece. Align each piece over a corner on your main body (the little triangle cut out of each corner piece should line up nicely over the squares cut from the main body corners Smiley) and top stitch on, over the 3 edges you just pressed. Continue until both your outer main body pieces have their corners covered.

Now! This is a fun bit. Take all the things that you plan to store in your bag, and arrange them on your main body lining pieces until they all fit nicely. Think carefully about where you'll place everything, and decide where you'll need your elastic to be. Remember not to put anything in the outer 4cm, as this will become the gusset. remember that the top of the finished bag - where the handle is - is the hinge!
Measure and cut your elastic (consider leaving a little slack if there's anything particularly bulky you want to store) and mark out all the spaces in between your items - where you make these marks, you will sew your elastic down.
Now sew your elastic down!

Next you need to sew your corners: pinch them together from the wrong side and sew, leaving a 1cm allowance. Repeat for all outer and lining main body corners. Trim the little fold open at the top of each one, and press them all open.

Now, place one lining piece into one outer piece, right sides together. Pin and sew around all edges, leaving a few inches open at the "top" (you need to be careful to line up the "top" that you chose when you stitched in your elastic, and when you decorated your outer piece, so nothing ends up upside-down!). Repeat for the other main body pieces. Turn right side out and press.

Zip time! Aliis' zip went in first time, slightly off but nothing to worry about. Mine? I think I reset it 7 times in total. 7.  Roll Eyes It just wouldn't cooperate. So, measure carefully (try aligning the centre of the zip with the centre of the "bottom" of one body piece), pin carefully... and cross your fingers. The zip is simply top stitched in underneath - with the "front" of the zip against the lining. You could make a feature of your zip by placing it on top, if you wanted.
The gap at the "top" of your bag is where your hinge pieces will go. Once you've set one side, unzip and repeat for the other.

Now it's time to place your hinge. Fold under the seam allowance on your hinge pieces and press.
Start from the inside and carefully place your lining hinge piece so that it covers the zip ends, and doesn't extend past the gusset. Top stitch in place.
Repeat this for the outside hinge, being careful to cover all the stitches from the lining hinge piece.
Nearly there!

To get those nice crisp edges, with your zip open, fold under the gusset on one edge and top stitch between the points of the two corner pieces -- as close to the edge as you can!

Finally!, fold your handle piece in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew the long edge, turn and press.
Fold under one raw edge twice, about 1/4" each time, and top stitch over the hinge (it wants to be centred on the short width of the hinge, about 2cm from the edge that meets the zip). Repeat for the other end of the handle.
Press the whole thing one last time and enjoy!

And there you have it! One beautiful or disastrous sewing bag, depending on how it went. Please do ask any questions you may have, I often wonder if my instructions really make as much sense as they do in my mind.  Cheesy
Of course, you could adapt the pattern to other uses too... if anyone should make one, please post and let me see!! C&C welcome  Kiss

Maimy x
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012 09:51:35 AM »

This is so completely amazing and wonderful. Thank you for the terrific tutorial, too. You are so thorough. Rocked & Pinned!  Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012 01:16:06 PM »

What a great zip case!

Thanks for taking the time and make a tutorial too! Awesome!

I had no problems following your tut, great work!
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012 02:11:01 AM »

Thanks for the tuto and another project on my to-do list!!

« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012 03:13:37 AM »

I love my awesome sewing bag! It's so well made and colours are just perfect! It's great to see how it's made, I'm planning to scale this up to make a soft suitcase for my mum's laptop Grin

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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012 02:47:20 PM »

Thank you guys  Kiss

I love my awesome sewing bag! It's so well made and colours are just perfect! It's great to see how it's made, I'm planning to scale this up to make a soft suitcase for my mum's laptop Grin
Awesome idea!! & I'm so happy that you like it Cheesy

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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012 03:58:33 PM »

This is so fabulous, I can't wait to make one for myself.
Thanks for sharing!
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