Sunday, April 7, 2013

Let's Get Ready to Sew Along

When I make promises to have a tutorial/sew-along for you guys, let's assume a lengthy lead time will be involved. I thought I'd have this done for you a while ago, but time flies and life happens and here we are in April already. But I made the bag and took the photos today, so now I just have to write up the instructions and we'll be all set to make one of these:

The version we're making is the above, but if you want to make yours patchworky--

--I'll tell you how big to cut your squares so the measurements work out the same.

In this sew-along (which I'll break into manageable parts, posted every other day) you'll learn:
  • how to insert a magnetic snap securely
  • how to insert grommets
  • how to use rings for your purse straps
  • how to insert a bag bottom to give your bag some support, and
  • how to insert an internal zipper pocket
The best part is that this bag is indeed quite simple and will give you some skills you can incorporate into other creations. Also--no pattern pieces. We're working with all rectangles and squares. So that I have time to write everything up and you have time to get things together I'm going to give you the supply list now so we'll be all ready to go (but of course everything will be available to you if you can't join us right now but still want to sew the bag--all the info will be on the sew-along page).

You're going to need:
  •  1/2 yard of focus fabric for the outside panel and the inside pockets (because contrast is fun). If you're making it patchworky, you will need a total of 42 pieces that are 3 inches square, plus some larger pieces to use for the inside pockets. I'm using quilt-weight cotton.
  • 1 yard of contrast fabric for the lining, straps, drawstring, and the contrast pieces on the top and bottom of the outside of the bag. Again, I'm using quilt-weight cotton.
  • 2/3 yard of 45 inch wide fusible fleece (I use Thermolam Fusible, but use what you can get your mitts on)
  • 1 yard of 20 inch wide woven fusible interfacing. If you can only get the craft weight of interfacing that will work OK too--just don't get one that's too heavy. Also--if you're using a heavier weight fabric you can omit this.
  • a nine inch zipper to match the lining (or to contrast with it, because that's nifty looking)
  • four rings that will hold a 1 1/4 inch strap 
  • one magnetic snap
  • #8 3/8" inch grommets and tools to insert them. I am using a pair of grommet pliers, but the grommet tool that you whack with a hammer works just as well. I don't have that so I won't be able to show you but everything else will apply, and the directions are usually on the package.
  • a gridded bag bottom (I use a piece of plastic canvas--you can get a couple bottoms from one piece).
  • basic sewing stuff: coordinating thread, scissors, pins, hand sewing needle, something to mark with, seam ripper, ruler 
UPDATE: I bought everything at Joann's, so if you've got that or a Hobby Lobby near you, you should be able to find what you need.

UPDATE #2: What, you want finished measurements too? :) It finishes up at about 12 inches wide, about 10 inches high, and 5 inches deep.
I have two simple rules before we start. First--don't laugh at the sad state of my pressing surface. You'd never believe it was sparkling clean a few weeks ago, but it's all discolored now. Second, you have to accept my apology for the sorry state of my nails. I didn't realize how badly they need tending to until I was looking at the photos. Also, the pictures aren't as grand as I thought they'd be in my head. My sewing area does not have good lighting (even when the sun is shining, which is the lighting I was waiting for to take these photos), so while the pics may not be pretty they're totally functional and show everything you need to know.

Now, get going! The first set of directions will be up Monday, April 15th. Please join in the fun, and spread the word. See you then! Thought I won't complain if you come back and visit before then :)


  1. I'm with you entirely in sympathy on writing up those instructions o.O

  2. I love your bag, thank you for doing a sew along. I promise not to look at your pressing surface, I promise to enjoy your tutorial! Thanks for the tutorial you are going to providing for all of us! It is appreciated!
    Have a nice day!
    Marisa from

  3. Yayyyyyyy!!!!!! I can't wait. I love his style of bag. I've got most of the things I'll be needing so now I'm off to choose my fabrics. Thanks so much for doing this sew along. I promise not to laugh at your ironing surface as I not long ago changed the cover on mine and it now looks disgraceful, as for my nails they're even worse than my ironing surface. LOLL

  4. I can't wait for this, yay!!! Thanks for giving us the supply list ahead of time. I am hoping that I can purchase most of the things I need at Joann or Hobby Lobby???

  5. Thanks Bethany! Looking forward to this. Can't decide if I want to make patchwork or not. I'll post about this too.

  6. Hi Bethany,

    I shouldn't commit to anything else but I'm in! Also, just a quick note. I nominated you for The One Lovely Blog Award/Very Inspiring Blogger Award. My apologies if you've received it before, but yours is one of my very favourite blogs and I wanted to reflect that on my list. Happy Sunday. Jacq x

  7. Lovely bag, I'm in for this one :) Thanks for the opportunity!

  8. Love the patchwork version! Very tempting... :)

  9. This bag looks great--I'll be starting this late because will be in Florida on vacation. I've looked but haven't found what the measurements of the bag are--thank you Joyce

  10. I won't have time to sew along but going to post a link to you on my sidebar and will be reading along! I'm sure there will be lovely bags at the end..

  11. Beautiful bag...currently making another wavy top, but will be ready to go on the 15th! Really appreciate the time and effort it takes to do the tutorials. Thanks! P.s. I am a retired educator.

  12. Oooo....I'm in! That looks adorable! Thanks!

  13. Why not ? Hope I can follow in english.
    But I will start late as I first need to finish a blackwork I want to insert ..
    Thanks for this SAL

  14. Love the bag. I'm going to have to come back and make this bag

  15. Hi Bethany - hope this is not a duplicate post. The other one disappeared. Thanks so much for this pattern and your wonderful instructions. I first found it on Pinterest falling in love with the indigo bag. Will make one of those after my indigo quilt is done. In the meantime i made another from pink batik and a black/pink print. I loved your method of doing the magnets as well Great great instructions. I don't think i can share a picture here but will post on G+

  16. Uma lindissima bolsa parabens pelo trabalho beijo

  17. I'm confused It looks as if the main piece is cut 9x18. The directions say 8x18. An inch may make a big difference?

    1. Hi Jerri--The written instructions are correct. I realized after the photos and as I was going along that I had cut my piece a little too large, so eight inches is correct.

    2. I love this bag but where is the pattern??

    3. I love this bag but where is the pattern??

    4. Hi Pat-- Look to the top of the page and you'll see a tab called 'Sew Alongs.' Click that, and scroll down a bit until you see this bag--all instructions and links you'll need are there. Have fun!

  18. Thank you for the tutorial! Spent the past two days working on it. Here's a picture of how it turned out. absolutely Love it!!

  19. Hi is this tutorial still available to follow, I'd love to make this bag



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