We all need a shoulder bag to carry random things around in. For me, as we were going camping, I needed one to take my shower stuff to the shower block and at home I can use it to take my lunch to work in. As I take the bus to work, a bag that will go across my body makes it much easier to carry. These two uses also informed my choice of fabric. I wanted it to be really durable and waterproof so I went for waterproof rip stop nylon.
What you need:
Approx 0.75m of fabric
I decided that the best size for me for the body of the bag was 45cm wide and 50cm tall (including seam allowances and the creation of the flat bottom which I will show you how to do) and as I wanted to be able to wear the bag across my body the handles/straps needed to be 125cm long.
First cut out the body of the bag in one piece measuring 45cm wide by 100cm long.
Cut 2 straps 125cm long by 10cm wide
Fold the body of the bag in half (short sides together and right sides together) and run a straight stitch up both sides (using a 1-1.5cm seam allowance). You could use an overlocker of triple zigzag stitch to neaten the seam edges here but as I used a fabric that would not fray I have not bothered, I thought that I would just use the pinking shears to make it look a little prettier.
Now to construct the flat bottom of the bag. You need to keep the bag inside out and pinch the bottom trying to line up the centre bottom with the side seam to create a triangle. Stitch this across (as shown) about 7cm from the corner, I used the edge of the guide plate on the machine as a guide, alternatively you could draw a line with tailors’ chalk or pen and stitch along that. Do this on both sides of the bottom. You can then trim the corder off leaving a 1-1.5cm seam allowance. Finish edge as before.
You should now have something that looks like the above, which can stand by itself.
Now you need to create a sturdy top edge, so fold over the top edge by 2.5cm all the way around and then fold it over again, towards the inside of the bag and stitch around the bag using a straight stitch along both edges of the fold.
To make the straps fold the fabric in half (short sides and right sides together), I use string to turn my tubes through so get a ball of string, tie a sturdy know at the end and place this inside the strap. Secure at the top with a few short lines of stitching but not all the way to the edges. Then sew long line of straight stitch all the way down the long side of the strap. Then turn through by pulling on the string that you attached. You need to encourage the fabric to turn with your fingers, especially to start it off. Trim off the end with the string attached.
Put the seam in the middle of the strap and iron flat. Top stitch along both long edges, close to the edge.
Decide where you would like your straps to be, I positioned mine about 12cm from the side seam. Fold about 2.5cm over and place on the inside of the bag so that the raw edge of the strap does not show and top stitch in a square and then a cross through the square (as shown). Repeat for both ends of both straps.
Hey presto, you have yourself a nifty little bag! Let me know what you think. Have you made your own version?
See you again next time…