I originally posted this project in August and have been meaning to make it again to do a tutorial ever since. This bag combines elements from a number of different tutorials and projects out there, I basically mixed and matched elements to come up with what I wanted.
It has squared off bottom corners which give it a good amount of inside volume and a nice shape. It can stand up (and would stand up even more if made with home dec weight fabric or using interfacing). It would be great as a small makeup or jewelry bag, to hold knitting or sewing notions, or for whatever you want! Also, this is clearly not a grocery bag, but in the spirit of the Green Grocery Bag Challenge, you could make these to use as "wrapping" for small holiday gifts. See below for the tutorial and for a sneak preview of another project (and tutorial) coming soon! If you make a pouch with this tutorial I would love to see how it turned out - you can share a photo in the Needle and Spatula Flickr group.
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What you will need:
- Two 2"x7" rectangles of fabric for top band on outside of bag
- Two 5"x9" rectangles of fabric for bottom of outside of bag
- Two pieces of fabric ~7"x9" for inside of bag
- 9" or longer zipper in coordinating color
- Mid- or light-weight fusible interfacing (if a stiffer bag is desired - I did not use)
- Thread in a color that looks nice with your fabrics
First, on the bottom outside pieces, mark lightly at the top (long) edge of the rectangle at 3.5", 4.5"(middle), and 5.5" from the edge. Mark just at the very top of the edge so that the markings will be hidden in the seam (I like to do this as extra insurance even if I use dissappearing ink).
Fold the two outer markings so each comes in to the center point and pin in place as shown below. You will note that the sides are now flaring up slightly. To get rid of this flare, lay a ruler on top of this piece at the same level as the center point (which is the lowest point on the top edge). Mark a straight horizontal line across the top edge as shown below, and then cut off the two resulting triangles (which should be the same size). Repeat for the other side.
Pin the front bottom pieces to the top pieces and sew together (sorry these next two pics didn't turn out great - I was trying not to use my flash but they are kind of blurry, I think you can still tell what to do).
Iron open and topstitch along the bottom edge of the top piece, if desired.
Place your outside piece face down on the lining fabric and use it as a template to cut out the lining pieces.
Now you should have two finished outer pieces and two lining pieces.
I do my zippers a bit differently from most other folks... I like to use an extra long zipper (mine is longer than necessary in this pic, this is just the size I had on hand), and then sew with the zipper pull off to the side - this way you don't have to worry about sewing around the zipper pull or accidentally sewing on the metal stop bits. If you want a neater look for your zipper ends, you could also use tabs like on Noodlehead's gathered clutch although then you would need to put the zipper pull in the middle from the start.
So, with the zipper facing up, sandwich the top edge of the zipper in between the outside and lining pieces for one side of the bag. The outer fabric should be on top and the lining fabric should be on the bottom, and they should have right sides facing eachother. Pin in place and sew to the zipper in about the middle of the zipper tape (1/8" to 3/16" from the edge).
Press both the outer and lining pieces to the opposite side.
Now repeat for the other side, making sure that the pieces are lined up centered above the other side.
Iron to the opposite side and unzip the zipper to the mid-point of bag. (Very important!)
Now, fold the outer sides and lining sides of the bag together, right sides facing. Pin all the way around the bag but leave a 2-3" gap where you will not sew at the center of the bottom of the lining piece. Fold the zipper pieces to one side or the other (with the top of the zipper facing the lining or facing the outside of the bag) and pin securely at the zippers, particularly the unzipped side.
Sew all the way around, leaving the gap at the bottom. Be careful in going over the zippers, you are going through a lot of layers so your sewing maching may have issues (you may want to use a larger needle size for this step to make sure it is sturdy enough). I usually sew back and forth over the zipper ends an extra time to secure them but this may not be necessary. You can cut off the excess ends of the zippers now or at any point before you turn the bag inside out.
Iron the corners open so that the two seams lay on top of eachother and the corner forms a triangle. Mark a line perpendicular to the seams that is 1" down from the point (should be 2" across) - as shown below.
Sew just below the marked line (closer to the main bag body) for each corner, then cut off the ends leaving 1/4" or slightly more seam allowance. Once you cut them off you will see that the ends open up to be little squares.
Turn the bag inside out through the opening left in the bottom, then tuck the open edges inside the bag and press the edge to make it neat. Pin across the open edge and stitch as close to the edge as you can to close the opening (or you can stitch by hand).
Congrats, you're done! Enjoy your bag!
Here is a sneak preview of another project that I will post a tutorial for in the next few days - a card purse with a fabric covered button. I just have to make it again and take photos this time! But it is a quick project.