Sew cool!

My first project on my new sewing machine!

My first project on my new sewing machine!

My mom used to sew quite a bit.  She would always make me and my sister matching dresses for Easter and Christmas.  I’ve always been a bit of the creative type, so I dabbled in sewing pretty early.  The first project that I remember was a red and navy skirt from some scrap fabric.  I had the idea, but I didn’t know how to work the machine yet.  My mom ended up sewing it for me.  Basically it was just a tube that I pulled on for “play.”

I have since learned how to actually use a sewing machine.  Most of the things I have sewed were just ideas that I thought I’d try out.  What this means is I did a lot of pinning, and quite a bit of seam-ripping.

I saw a bag a few weeks ago that I thought was pretty cute, and looked fairly simple.  Plus I just got my own sewing machine this past Christmas and haven’t had chance to use it yet!  I was pretty excited to try it out.  I tried to take a few pictures while I was sewing, but I was a little too excited and I kept forgetting!

I got some fabric from a local store.  The solid is a canvas type fabric.  Its pretty stiff and sturdy.  I wanted the bag to be able to have a little bit of shape.  The print is also a more stiff type, but maybe not quiet as much as the yellow canvas.  I cut 2 rectangles from each fabric.  I used 18” x 20”.  I also cut two 4” x 43” strips from the yellow for the handles.

Fun bright fabrics!

Fun bright fabrics!

I started with the handles.  I folded the fabric in half and sewed the LONG way down one side.   (Generally I’d say fold good-side to good-side, but my canvas didn’t really seem to have a wrong or a right side).


Then you need to turn the whole long tube/handle inside out, so that the seam is hidden inside.  This turned out to be a bit of work with the stiff canvas fabric!  Thankfully my husband helped me work on this while he watched some basketball on TV J  I found it was easiest sticking my thumb inside, pinching the fabric on the outside, then rolling my pointer finger down the fabric so that my thumb is exposed again.


Basically I rolled the fabric between my thumb and forefinger.  It takes some pulling and pushing.

Then put your 2 outside rectangles together, right sides together.  Sew down the two opposite sides. This step will create a circle of fabric.  Fold the fabric so that your two seams are laying on top of each other in the middle.  Sew across the bottom to make the bag.


Then we will do a box corner.  This is where I should have taken more pictures, but I was getting excited that it was actually turning into something recognizable!

Push the corners of the bag into a triangle shape, with the seam running down the middle of the triangle.  Then you’ll sew about two inches from the corner across to actually make a triangle shape.  (Google a box corner if this isn’t making sense.  Someone out there has to have a good example!)  Do this with the other corner.  Then repeat the whole bag sequence with your lining fabric.

Now we’ll add the handles to the outside fabric.  I pinned them down where I thought they looked good.  I brought the ends all the way to where the “bottom” of the bag was.


I tucked the very end of the straps inside itself so that there is a better looking hem.  Sew from the top of the bag down the strap, across the bottom, then back up again.  I only did three sides, being sure not to sew the back ALL the way to the top of the bag.  You’ll need some room for a seam.  Do this for both handles.

See how I tucked the raw ends inside? It looks much cleaner this way.

See how I tucked the raw ends inside? It looks much cleaner this way.

Now stuff the “outside” fabric (mine is colored) INSIDE the “inside” fabric (mine is solid).  Put the fabric good-side to good-side.  Sew around the top attaching the outside to the lining.  DO NOT SEW ALL THE WAY AROUND!  You need to leave yourself an opening a few inches wide to flip the whole bag inside out.  Pull the whole bag through this hole so that you see both “right” sides, like it should be!  This also takes a little work as there is a lot of fabric and its fairly stiff!

After I sewed the lining to the outside.  I gave myself a pretty big seam allowance.

After I sewed the lining to the outside. I gave myself a pretty big seam allowance.


After flipping the bag inside out, I sewed around the top of the bag again, very close to the edge.  This time I went ALL the way around.  To help the seams hold (and because I think it looks nice) I sewed around the bag a THIRD time.  This time about a half inch from the edge.  So if you look closely at the pictures of the finished bag you’ll be able to see two lines going around the top.  This will help the lining stay on the inside and the outside stay on the outside.

After I nearly had the bag complete, I finished the square I started sewing to attach the handles.  I did one more stitch on each handle to complete the square.  This also attaches the lining to the outside.  This will help the lining stay put a little better when you’re putting things in the bag and taking them back out.

To finish it off I took out a needle and hid all the strings I had hanging everywhere from sewing.  My “starting” and “ending” strings were still hanging out because I hadn’t cut them off.  What I did was thread the needle with the string I had sticking out.  Then I put the needle into the fabric near where it was sticking out, then pushed the needle out an inch or so away.  Here is where I cut the string.  This way there is about an inch length’s worth of “tail” hidden inside the bag.


Ta Da!  This bag is pretty fun and really not too hard (though as I’m typing it out it sounds very confusing!)  I already have an idea for my next one… stay tuned!

~ T ~


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