Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Make It With Me - Drawstring Handbag Part 2

Welcome back! Today we're going to work on the lining of the bag. I know, a bit of the reverse, but if zippers scare you it's best to get it out of the way, yes? Yes. So get your lining pieces, your pieces for your slip pocket, and your piece for your zipper pocket. Oh, and the zipper :) We'll do that first, so take a few deep breaths if you're feeling nervous. But I promise--though it doesn't look it this is one of the easier zippers to install.

Make the Inside Zipper Pocket
1. Center your pocket piece on the lining piece, right sides together. Place the top edge of the pocket piece three inches down from the top center of the lining. Make sure it's centered and straight.

2. Draw a line across the top of the pocket piece 3/4 inch from the top edge, and starting/ending one inch from each side edge. Draw a parallel line 3/8 inch down from this first line. Draw some edges so you have a long skinny rectangle. Draw one more line cutting this rectangle in half longways. Draw the little lines you see in the second picture below from each corner towards the middle line (they make the little triangles you see) - I make mine about 3/4 inch long.

3. Pin in place around the rectangle, then sew around the outside of the rectangle.

4. Now carefully cut along the center line from triangle point to triangle point. Use a seam ripper to get started, then switch to scissors. When you get to the triangle tips, go out to the corners, getting as close as you can to the stitches without cutting them.

5. Pull the pocket piece (all of it) through the slit you just made. It will now be on the wrong side of the lining, and look quite messy. This is where you press it into submission so that you get some nice neat corners and a delightful rectangular slit. 

6. OK, get your zipper - don't get nervous now, you already did the hard part :) Lay it down right side up and center the slit over it. If your zipper is going to need trimming later you need to make sure your pull is within the slit so you don't sew off access to it. Put a few pins in to hold it in place - you want it to be centered between the top and bottom so that you're sure to grab the entire zipper tape.

 Note: I was using the end of a zipper from another project, and a pull from another zipper, hence the mismatch.

7. Now stitch about 1/8 an inch from the edge. I don't use my zipper foot - I just put the zipper towards the left of my foot and sew, using the coils of the zipper itself as a seam guide. Pivot at the corners and keep going all the way around. You may need to move your zipper pull out of the way at some point. I only pin the top edge to get started - when I turn to come back along the bottom I keep everything positioned with my fingers because that works better than pins (for me) for this part at keeping things straight. Do what feels comfortable for you. If you like a zipper foot use it. If you like lots of pins, pin away. 

Check the back to make sure you caught all of the zipper tape. If you missed anything restitch.

8. Fold the bottom edge of the pocket up to meet the top edge. Pin and stitch (1/4 inch seam). Make sure you have the lining tucked out of the way of the needle and that you're just stitching the pocket. Then pin and stitch the sides. Be careful of any metal zipper bits that might break a needle. Trim any excess zipper if you need to. Give it a final press (and then peek inside at your lovely new zipper pocket).

Make the Slip Pocket
1. Take your two pieces and slap them together right sides facing. Sew around the perimeter with a quarter inch seam, leaving a gap for turning along the bottom. Trim the corners diagonally to cut down on the bulk.

2. Turn it right side out through the gap. Poke out the corners. Tuck in your raw edges and press the whole thing. 

3. Center your pocket on your remaining lining piece three inches down from the top edge. Make sure the gap you left open is towards the bottom. Pin it in place. 

4. We're going to sew close to the edge of the pocket around the three sides that aren't the top (obviously, or we couldn't put things in it). BUT we're going to sew about three stitches at each top edge near the corner. And then we're going to reverse, go forward, reverse, etc. a few times--this keeps the pocket edge nice and secure, and keeps it form pulling away from the lining. Then, pivot, go down the side, across the bottom (closing the gap at the same time), up the other side, and at the top edge do the same three-stitch maneuver again.

5. Draw a line up the center of the pocket. Starting from the bottom, stitch towards the top. When you get to the top, pivot and then go forward and back a few times to secure that part of the pocket.

Ok, I think that's good for today. Especially if any of you are still skipping around the room because your zipper looks smashing :) So now we've got our two lining pieces with pockets in each--one slip, one zip. Next time, we'll insert a nice secure magnetic snap and put the lining together. 


  1. Thanks Bethany. I'm amazed at how quick this bag is coming together.

  2. I am ready to sew today. Thanks Bethany for this tutorial. I am eager to see all of those who make this bag and the fabrics they used.



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