Just Window Shopping, I Swear
I’ve been known to go to the Michael Levine Loft “just to look” and somehow leave with 15-20 lbs of fabric. In my defense, at $2.50/lb that’s the equivalent of 4 itty little yards from other fabric stores. 9 times out of 10, I didn’t bring my nice canvas reuseable bags that are in my trunk. As I said I was there “just to look”. The bag the store gives you is a huge version of a grocery bag. The bag is so thin or the haul so big, the handles cut into your shoulder and could give at any moment. Walking the few blocks back to the car is dangerous business.
If the Bag Fits
In comes my lightweight-takes-up-little-space-water-resistant-durable-stylish reuseable bag. The bag is a sizeable 15” x 22” x 6” (WxHxD) opened and folds up into 4” x 7” x ½” and only weights 1.6 oz or 45 grams. It fits perfectly into my purse so I’m never without a bag.
• 1 yd Ripstop 60” width.
• 2-4” length of 1” sew in zelcro
• Basic drafting supplies: paper, pencil, ruler
• Permanent Sharpie marker for decorating (optional)
Drafting the Pattern
Pattern piece #1: body of the bag
1. Draw large rectangle 12” wide, 19” tall. This will be the body of the bag.
2. Draw a skinny rectangle 3” wide and 17” tall, centered on top of the large rectangle. This will be the handle of the bag. The 2 rectangles should be 36” end to end.
3. Using a cup or small dish, curve the corner where the skinny rectangle meets the large rectangle. Your pattern should resemble an upright bowling pin but with straighter edges.
4. Mark the right edge of the body rectangle to cut on the fold.
5. Label with “cut 2 on fold” arrows
Pattern piece #2: pocket flap
1. Draw a rectangle 7 ½” wide and 3 ½” tall.
2. Use a cup or can to curve the bottom flap corners.
3. Label with “cut 2”
Selecting the Fabric
I’m using Ripstop because it’s really strong and light weight. My JoAnns carries every color of the rainbow. If you want to put a design onto the bag you need to pick a color that the ink will show up. I picked bright yellow for spring and also because I can find it in the deepest, darkest depths of my purse.
Decorating the Bag (optional but highly recommended)
If you want to decorate the bag, do it before cutting. That way if you screw up, you can start over. You’ll waste fabric but not fabric AND time. Plus, it’s easier to center the design for cutting. The areas that I decorated on the Kid Rock reuseable bag are:
- the front body of the bag: pic of Kid Rock
- the top back which is the back when its folded up: Kid Rock lettering
- the flap: its suppose to be a guitar pick
I use a permanent Sharpie because it’s permanent, comes in a lot of colors and a variety of tips. Draw a picture free hand with a Sharpie like I did. Or print a design and place under Ripstop and trace.
- Body: cut 2 on the fold
- Flap: cut 2
Sew the Body of the Bag
- Sew the side seams of the bag using an enclosed seam for tidiness and strength. Like in these pillow cases.
- Sew the bottom seam using an enclosed seam.
- Fold the corner up 3”. Tack into place using a wide width zig zag stitch with zero stitch length.
Sew the Handles
- Sew handles of front bag together, right sides together.
- Finger press seam allowances to one side. 2 rows of topstitch.
- Repeat for back bag handles.
- Sew a ¼” seam allowance all around the edges of the handle.
- Fold over the fabric along the stitch line twice and topstitch.
Sew the Flap
- Sew along bottom curve of the flap at 3/8”
- Trim to ¼”
- Turn, finger press, 2 rows of topstitching
- Sew onto body of bag.
- Decide on the shape of your Velcro pieces. I decided to use hearts on my Waffle bag. And a guitar pick shape on the Kid Rock bag.
- Cut out 1 of the shape on the soft half of the Velcro. This is the loop side. Sew this piece to the bottom inside of the flap.
- Cut out 2 of the shape on the rough half of the Velcro. This is the hook side. If you look closely you’ll see there are tiny little hooks. Sew one of the pieces to the top front of the bag. Fold up the bag using this diagram. Sew the remaining piece of Velcro to hold the bag closed.
Folding the Bag
- Fold down the handle
- Fold in the left side
- Fold in the right side
- Fold from the bottom up
- Secure the flap with the Velcro closure
Congrats you’re saving the environment and looking stylish. I’ve been struggling to find time, at the right time of day, to take pics of me with the bag. So here’s the next best thing to show the scale.
Happy sewing and shopping,