Sunday, June 19, 2011

Make It With Me - Wavy Top Tote: Finishing

Well, here we are. We're almost finished. And the rest is a breeze. So let's get going!

Sewing the Lining Together
1. Place your lining pieces right sides together. Sew across the bottom (1/4 inch seam allowance), leaving an 8 inch gap in the middle (this is for turning the bag later). Press.

2. Pin and stitch the sides of the lining (1/4 inch allowance). Tuck the zipper out of the way because it might want to involve itself in your sewing and we just can't have that. Press as best as you can.

3. Box the corners of the bag just as you did for the exterior.

Putting it All Together
1. Turn the exterior part of the bag right side out, and the lining inside out. Open the zipper all the way. Place the exterior part of the bag inside the lining (right sides should be facing).

2. Line up the top edges (the wavy parts and the side seams) and pin generously. You may need to tuck the zipper tabs down out of the way a bit.

3. Stitch all the way around, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Take your time around those curves!

4. Reach in through the gap we left in the lining, and pull everything right side out. Be gentle with it.

5. Push the lining down into the bag. Press the top edge nice and neat. I use pins here to keep everything just so. Topstitch 1/4 inch from the top edge, all the way around. The side seams are a little bulky and may try to sass you, but take your time and shove it through if you have to :)

6. Sew the gap in the lining closed (I use my machine but you can do this by hand to make it less noticeable). Then tuck everything down in the bag nice and neat.

Sew on the Shoulder Straps
1. Take one of your shoulder straps and feed it through your ring (just like we did for the loop straps that we sewed to the bag). Fold it down about 2 inches and pin. Note in the picture the direction it's folded.

2. Use the three lines of topstitching on the folded over part of the strap as a guide to sew the strap to itself. Sew towards the ring until you're about 3/4 inch away, then pivot and come across the strap, creating a box with your stitching for strength.

3. Press, press, and press. The whole thing. This makes a huge difference.

Put it over your shoulder and strut around. Get the neighbors and show them your new bag. Scream out the kitchen window "I made a wavy top bag!!" Or maybe have some tea and feel content with yourself, because we're done :)

We've made ourselves an inside zipper pocket...

...and created a suspension bridge zipper closure with pull tabs...

...inserted some purse feet and a nifty gridded bottom...

...and sewed ourselves one delightfully curvy bag :)

So that's it! I'd love to know what you think - the good and the not so good. It was a lot of work, but I actually really enjoyed doing this. Depending on what you think I'd like to do something similar in the future (but not the near future--between last week's giveaways and this week's technical writing, I need to get back to "look at this pretty fabric" posting for a bit :)  I've put a Flickr group together for this sew-along - I would LOVE it if you'd pop a picture or two of your bag in it.

UPDATE: Totally forgot to mention this part. I am more than happy for you to sell bags made from this pattern in your Etsy/Artfire/Folksy/etc. shop or at craft fairs, but you may not sell the pattern itself (I know - that's fairly obvious, but there are some who need that spelled out). Also - please play nice and give a mention where you got the pattern.

Thanks for sewing along!


  1. Thanks again Bethany! Finished. And no I wasn't neglectful to my hubby on dad's day, he was content watching golf on TV.

    Am I allowed to sell it in my Etsy shop? Feel free to email my at nikkiraes at yahoo dot com.

    Thanks again,


  2. Just found your sew-along and have to say your tutorial is awesome! And the tote/purse is beautiful!

  3. My first attempt at a handbag like this. I made one for a gift and am so pleased with the finished product! I think I will make another one, this time for ME!

  4. Maravillosa explicación, gracias por compartirlo!

  5. Bethany, I just found your site and have downloaded the wavy bag directions. Not long ago I paid dearly for a class making a similar pattern and was so disappointed with the instruction and scanty directions. You have more than made up for it. I teach a class at a local dealer using many of these techniques and thought my instruction was thorough until I saw your colorful tutorials. I'll be adding more photos from now on. Thank you so much for a wonderful lesson! Bernice

  6. Bethany, Can I still get the pattern for the side pockets?
    Thanks, Sandra

  7. Bethany, May I please have the pattern for the side pockets?
    Thanks, Sandra

  8. Thanks so much for the very detailed instructions. I just finished my first bag and love it!

  9. Hi Bethany, I want you to know that I made a wavy bag "again" I added photos to your Flickr group and I left on my post a link to your blog. Hopefully you get a chance to visit me. Here is the link to my blog: Thanks again for the tutorial !!!!!!
    Have a happy and creative 2014!!!!!!

  10. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I can't wait to make some for my daughters, but first one for myself!! I'll be sure to send you some pictures when they're finished.

  11. Hi Bethany! I just finished making my Wavy Top Tote and I absolutly LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful tutorial. This is the best tutorial that I have followed online for bag making. You rock! I'd love to share a photo but I do not have a flicker account (and really don't want one, at this time). Any chance that I could email a photo to you?

    Thanks again!

  12. Bethany, Thank you for the awesome pattern!!! I LOVE IT! I would have gladly paid for this pattern, it is better than many that I have paid for! By the way, I wanted to make the side pockets but could not find anything about them in the pattern, could you help me out on that? Thank you so much! I posted pictures to your flicker group! Nancy

    1. I just found this pattern several years after the first post! I love this bag and am going to get busy making one. But I would like to know if there are any instructions somewhere for making the side pockets. Thanks you!

    2. Just found the side pocket addendum! Just had to take a look around your site. Thank you!

  13. Looks great! Where can I find the entire project?



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