Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beach Bag Tutorial

I've had a pile of fabric and patterns just lying around, waiting for me to turn them into finished sewing projects.  And after posting a few of my finished dresses, I decided that it was time again to get back into a sewing project.  So, to help ease myself back into the swing of it, I made a simple cloth tote/beach bag via a pattern from Burda Style.  This project took me less than a few hours and can be made into so many variations and modifications, that I might just make another.  Below was my step by step journey through the making and completion of my bag.  You can find the original [and free!] pattern on Burda Style here.

My rendition of the Charlie Reusable Bag:

*All seam allowances included.  Use a 5/8" seam.

1.  Begin by downloading and printing out Burda Style's amazing and simple pattern.  Match each side accordingly and tape together the pieces.

2.  Lay out your fabric and find the straight grain.  Lay your pattern on top, making sure that your grain matches with the directions on the pattern.  (If you don't, you're bag will eventually become droopy and sad because of stretching!)  Begin to pin your pattern to the fabric and make sure to copy over any markers on the pattern to your fabric.  The fabric that I used for this project was purchased at Ikea.

3.  Cut out the fabric following the pattern.  You should end up with (1) small rectangular piece and (2) pieces of the larger piece.

3.  Burda Style then tells you to overcast all the edges, so that you won't have any fraying.  I don't own a surger but after looking over my stitches, I found one that worked similarly.

4.  Next you'll need to create the inside pocket.  You'll need to fold the piece according to the marks that you made transferred from the pattern.  Sew the sides together.

5.  Next you'll need to sew the handles together using a flat felled seam.  I actually didn't know how to do one so I quickly Google'd it and found this handy tutorial.

6.  Next you'll need to sew the bag sides together.  Attach the pocket to one of the sides and use the marks that you've transferred on your fabric as a guide.  Make sure that the opening of the pocket faces towards the inside of the bag.  After sewing the sides, you'll need to sew the bottom.  Burda Style directions weren't very clear on how they finished their bottom but I just sewed along the bottom twice for reinforcement.  I've seen other bag tutorials were you can tuck in the corners and sew the bottom but it's up to you!

Here's what the bag looks like when you fold it up into the pocket.  You can see the raw edges still and you'll also find that there are raw edges on the handles.  I didn't really like the "unfinished" look and ended up finishing all edges of the bag.

7.  To finish the edges, I double tucked them into wrong side of the fabric, pinned it all in place, ironed it and then used a bright color thread to sew it together.

Here is a view of the finished edge.  Much better!  Below are my finished looks at a simple and quick bag that you can take with you or fold it up for later.  All you need is about a yard of some nifty fabric and an afternoon's time.  Hope that helps any new sewers, good luck!

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