Second, don’t be scared. This seems huge, but it’s cuz I took a million pictures to try and clarify things. This is a bag that can be used as an in-between diaper bag. You know, when you have a couple kids, and need to hold some toys, diapers, snacks, and your stuff (like a just-in-case bag!) It might take a few days with interruptions, working on it here and there, but hopefully it’s worth it. K, supplies you’ll need:
2 fabrics – one for the outside, and one for the inside (I had 3/4 yd remnant of each, and that was enough for this purse & the just-in-case bag, plus some extra)
Elastic (I used 1/2” wide)
A hook (more to come on that…)
Cardboard or plastic canvas (they didn’t make it long enough for what I wanted though)
Scissors, rotary board, ruler & cutter, matching thread
*Note* If you want your purse bigger, add some inches. If you want it shorter, subtract a few inches. Your call!
All right, ready? First, I think it’s easier to cut all my pieces at the beginning. If you want to cut them as you go, be my guest. I drew up a little pattern to clarify 2 of the pieces. For the sides of the bag, you need to cut 2 of each color (meaning 2 outside and 2 inside) in these shapes:
If you fold your fabric in half, and then measure on the bottom 7.5” out, 10” up, and 5.5” out, then draw a line and cut, you’ll get a shape like the top one. Does that make sense? On the second one, you’ll do 3” from the fold, 10” up, and then 2” from the fold and draw a line between the 3” and 2” points, so the 10” is how long your folded part is. I hope that makes sense. So this is what it looks like when it’s still folded in half. Ka-pesh?
Okay the rest of the pieces are easier, promise. We’ll call the bigger pieces front & back, and the smaller pieces the sides in the future. K, for the rest of the pieces.
You’ll need the strap, which I did mine 5” x 29” from your outside fabric.. Cut your interfacing the same size. (do it a different color if you want)
Strap Holder: 5”x5” square, 2 of them, from the same fabric as the strap.
Outside Pocket: 6”x6”. Cut one from the inside or a coordinating fabric.
Bottom: 6”x15”, cut one of the outside and one from the inside fabric
Closure: 4 1/2”x2”, cut 2 of the outside fabric.
Base: 14 1/2”x11” cut 2 of the inside fabric
Cardboard: 13 1/2”x4 1/2”.
Inside Pockets: cut one piece 18”x6 1/2”, and another 17”x7 1/2”, both out of the inside fabric.
Whew. That’s all the cutting! It seems crazy complicated, but hopefully it will be smooth sailing from now on! First, let’s make the outside. It’s easiest to put on the outside pocket before you have other layers to deal with, so let’s do that. If you don’t want the pocket, skip this step! Press 3 of the edges up 1/2”. Press the top edge down 1/4”,
and then another 1” inch.
Your pocket looks like this now:
Press the corners in so they don’t poke out when you sew the pocket on by pressing the corner up, so the lines match, meaning the pressed lines you just made will still match, and your corner will be folded up. Like so:
Sew across the top of the pocket, making sure to tuck in the side top corners. Sew it along the edge as best as you can in a straight line . Then pin your pocket to the front piece of your outside fabric (one of the bigger trapezoids shapes. And you thought you’d never use geometry!). The seam allowances is 1/2” all around, and I like to have mine centered on the purse, so fold your pocket and your outside in half and pin it to the fabric, matching middles. I pinned mine so the bottom fold of the pocket was 1 1/4” from the bottom of the front piece, so it’d be about 3/4” from the bottom when it was finished. Then sew it on, close to the edge, around the 2 sides & bottom.
Okay, now pin and sew all of your sides, back & front to the bottom piece of your outside fabric. It will look like a big plus sign. One thing is try not to sew the 1/2” from any of the corners, so you don’t have overlap.
Now press all of your seams nice and open. Go ahead and sew all your side seams now on the outside fabric, and then you’ll have the basic structure of your bag finished! Let’s move onto the inside. If you don’t want any pockets inside, just sew it like the outside was. First, let’s do a rolled hem at the top of both pockets. Press down 1/4”, then 1” on the longer side of both pieces (the 17” piece and the 18”)
Sew along the edge of those, and now you have a pocket to slide the elastic in. First, measure and mark (or pin) every 6” on the 18” piece, and in the middle of the 17” piece (top and bottom edges).
Now, cut 2 pieces of elastic about 13” long. Thread them through the pocket you made, and stitch on both sides to secure. (use a safety pin to make it easier!) Okay, now on your back & front pieces for the inside, measure every 5 inches on one along the bottom and about 6” from the bottom & mark. On the other piece, measure the middle and mark on the bottom & 6” from the bottom. Now match up your pins. The 18” piece goes on the piece marked every 5”, and the 17” piece goes on the one marked in the middle. Match the pins, and your fabric will have extra fabric. They won’t match perfectly, and that’s okay.
Now, sew along the bottom of the pocket and front & back pieces, making little tucks for the extra fabric as you go. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I promise!
Now, sew a straight line (vertically) from the pin on the top of the pocket where your mark is, down to the bottom of the pocket to the matching mark. This will give you 3 pockets on one side, and 2 on the other. It helps to draw a line with your ruler, and pin it so your fabric doesn’t shift. Also, baste along the sides, matching the edge of your pocket & front/back pieces as best as you can.
Okay, now let’s sew your front & back pieces, and sides to the bottom to make the big plus sign again.
You’ll notice in the picture that I haven’t done the elastic or sewing pockets down yet. I had to do things backwards since I was going back and forth from Utah & Idaho during that week, so I did what I could with the supplies I had at the time, in the place . Now get your ribbon. I used a piece that was 1/2” wide, and about 12” long (melt the edges so it doesn’t fray!). Baste it onto one of the side pieces, around 4-5 inches from the bottom, on each side.
At this point in time, I made a decision that slightly changed the pattern. Go through and cut off 1 1/4” from the top of the sides & front/back pieces.
Now, sew all the side seams, and you have the inside of your bag almost finished!
At this point in time, if you want to have a hook inside your bag to hold your keys (then you don’t have to dig for them!) sew it onto the side that doesn’t have the ribbon. I used a thing my husband got from a race and had no intention of using.
I cut it so it was 4” long, and melted the edges. I would have changed the ribbon, but I didn’t have any that width, and I didn’t mind the color. Sew it on the side without ribbon, nice and secure, and get ready for the next part.
Get your base piece and press the shorter side 1/4” down, to the wrong side on both pieces.
Sew around the edges (1/2”), right sides together, leaving the pressed edge open.
Clip the corners, turn it inside out, and press it nice and flat. Now you have a pocket to slide in your piece of cardboard. That will give the bottom structure. If you can find a piece of plastic canvas, use that. It’s removable, so you can wash your bag.
Now, put your outside part into the inside part. Pin it with wrong sides out, all along the top, matching seams as best as you can.
Sew around 1/2”, leaving one of the sides open. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to reinforce it. Pull your outside part out, and press open the seams.
Now, through the hole that you left open, turn the bag right side out.
Push the inside part down into the outside part.
Now, because of that 1 1/4” we cut off the inside, your inside is shorter. Put in your cardboard base and push it down, straightening out the bag all around.
Pin & press it in place, once you have it nice and even
If you want to stitch around the edge, do so, otherwise, just blindstitch the hole you left open shut. You have your basic bag now!
Let’s add the finishing touches, shall we? First, let’s do the closure. Sew the 2 pieces of closure together, right sides together, leaving the short edge open. Clip corner, press, (pressing the open edge inside 1/4”) and then sew around the edge of your rectangle. Sew that onto the back of your bag, matching the middle of the closure and purse. Sew it securely, making a little rectangle.
Ignore the D-ring. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the closure. I put a line down the middle just for decorative purposes. Now, sew on some Velcro across the bottom of the strap. Figure out the middle of the front, and where you want the Velcro to be, and sew it on there too.
I also put a button on the outside to cover the Velcro stitching, and it’s cute. Put a flower, ribbon, whatever!
For the straps: Press the holder squares down 1/4” on 2 sides.
Fold them in half, right sides together, and sew down the one edge. Clip corners, turn them inside out, and press so the seam is in the middle.
Pin each holder so it’s 1” on the purse, matching the middles of the holder and the purse.
Slide on the D-Ring, fold it in half, and pin that down.
Sew around the edges in a rectangle, making it secure.
Again, I added the line in the middle just for fun. Press the interfacing onto your strap fabric piece. Press the 2 shorter ends down 1/4”, and sew right sides together. Clip corners, turn it inside out, and press the seam in the middle (just like the closures you just did). Stitch along the open edges this time.
Loop the strap through the D-ring, making sure the seam is on the inside. Fold up 1 1/4” and pin. Sew a rectangle to secure the strap to the D-Ring.
Now your bag is finished! Enjoy!
She’s a lot cuter model than me!