Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Piping & Stripe(ing) Shoulder Bag. Free Sewing Tutorial and Pattern.
I have written another tutorial about sewing with piping on bags which accompanies this tutorial.  You might want to check it out first.

I think one of the things that we love about bags is that they are a great way to add interest to your outfit.  I just love the way that you can brighten up plain jeans and a top with a colourful bag, and shoes (which is great because shopping for clothes gives me indigestion, but I never have this problem with choosing a bag to make, or buying shoes), the same can be said for livening up a suit!  With this in mind, on my latest bag I've gone to town with some fabulous summery in-your-face colours and I've played around with mixing patterns.  I think you just might like the results...

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Yum! I don't whether to put my stuff in it, or eat it!  See how the piping really finishes the top edges of  the bag and the pocket off nicely, I think without the piping the bag wouldn't have the same impact...  I also like the way the big rings echo the round bottom of the bag...  

I also think the chevrons look really punchy on this bag, and chevrons are really trendy now...apparently, I'm not one for fashion mags (nothing fits anyway because I'm a short arse!)  The bag use this luscious flower fabric, and this juicy stripe fabric.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

In this project you will pick up/apply these skills:

    - Sew with piping - to trim a pocket and the top edge of your bag.
    - Sew a continuous line of piping
    - Turn your striped fabric into cool looking Chevrons - 'chevrons' a fancy word for v-shaped stripes, which makes stripes even more pretty.
    - Sew a padded bag handle with rings - handles cutting into shoulders is not a good look.

Here's How I Put It Together

Shopping list:

    1/2 yard of exterior fabric for the front pocket, bag back, and straps and matching thread  (50cm).
    1/2 yard of stripy fabric for the bag front and matching thread (50cm).
    1/2 yard of woven Iron-on interfacing
    1/2 yard of Heavy sew-in interlining
    1 1/2 yard of cotton piping cord 1/4" (5mm) and the same of bias binding tape.
    1/2 yard cotton lining fabric and matching thread (50cm).
    1 x 3 x 29" strip of fusible fleece (8cm x 74cm)
    4 x Silver Flat O-rings 1.5" (4cm)
    2 x 18mm magnetic snap

NB all seam allowances are 1cm (3/8") unless otherwise stated.

Pattern includes 1cm seam allowance.

1.  Make up your pattern 1 - This is pattern piece 1. which is the bag exterior back and the bag lining.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

From pattern piece 1, pattern cut; 1x piece pink flower fabric, 1 x firm iron-on interfacing, 2 x heavy sew-in interlining, and 2 x pieces lining fabric.

 2.  Make up your pattern 2. - This is pattern piece 2. which is the front pocket.  The pattern piece shown is halved, be sure to fold your fabric and place this pattern piece on the fold as instructed.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

From pattern piece 2. cut:  1x pink flower fabric, 1x firm iron-on piece, 1 heavy sew-in piece, and 1x lining piece.

3.   Make up your pattern 3 - This is pattern piece . which is the bag chevron striped front.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

From pattern piece 3. cut: 2 x firm iron-on pieces and then set pattern piece aside for the next step.

4.   Cut chevrons from your stripy fabric - After giving your stripy fabric a good iron (like I haven't!) lay pattern piece 3. onto your stripy fabric at  whatever angle you fancy and cut out the 1st half of the chevron stripes as shown in the photo below.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

I liked this angle, and I liked the way the bold pink stripe is pointing to the top corner.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

To make up the other half of the chevron stripe position the 1st chevron fabric half (that you have just cut out) onto your stripy fabric and move the 1st chevron half around until you find an angle that you like and the stripes match up with each other (just like in the photo above).

Then position pattern piece 3 right up to the right hand side edge  as shown by the pink arrows in the photo above.  Pin pattern in place and cut out the other half of the chevron stripe.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Ta dah! We have juicy looking chevron stripes!  Now iron the woven iron-on pieces to the wrong sides of the chevron halves.

5.  Make up the chevron bag front - Stitch the 2 chevron halves together and apply one half of a magnetic snap.

Bring the chevron halves right sides together and pin at the centre line edge.  Hold the chevron halves up to the light as you pin them together to make sure that the stripes all match perfectly, if they don't match up your chevron stripes are going to look rubbish!  Stitch the halves together at the centre  line only.

Apply the magnetic half (or in other words, the female part) of a magnetic snap to the chevron 11cm down from the centre top edge.  

6.  Make up the front pocket - Iron the woven iron interfacing from pattern piece 2. on the wrong side of the pink flower fabric also from pattern piece 2. and lay the pink interfaced fabric piece onto the heavy sew-in interlining from again from pattern piece 2. and treat as one layer.  Now follow all of the steps in this tutorial (Heh I'm so glad that I made this tute earlier!)  Make up 37cm (14.5") of piping for the pocket (which is too much but best to be safe than sorry!).

Now peel back the lining fabric and apply non magnetic half of a snap (or in other words the male part) to the lining of the pocket 1.5cm down from the top center edge.  Match the this snap position with the  snap on the chevron stripe front just to make sure.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Back of snap  on the wrong side of pocket lining.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Lay the finished pocket onto the chevron striped front and treat as one layer...ohh I think it's beginning to look yummy!

7.  Assemble the bag exterior -  iron the firm iron-on interfacing from pattern piece 1. onto the wrong side of the pink flower fabric also from pattern piece 1.  now make a sandwich with the two heavy sew-in interlining pieces (from pattern 1) on the outside, and the chevron stripe bag front (with it's pocket), and the pink flower bag back (right sides together) in the middle of the sandwich.

You may find at this stage that there is a little bit of jiggling around, and possibly a bit of nifty trimming needed with your trusty scissors to make sure all of the raw edges match up nicely, but that's OK.  I find that no matter how precise you are something always goes awry, it's like putting 5 pairs of socks in the washing machine and ending up with all pink clothes, or is that missing socks...?  Pin and stitch all around the sides and the bottom of the bag exterior.  Now clip the curves

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Clip them curves close (but not too close) to the seam line prevent lumps and bumps when we turn the bag right side out.  Turn the bag right side out and press.

8.  Make up and apply piping to the top edge of the exterior bag - did you have a look at my tutorial on Sewing with Piping on yet?  If not, you might want to go have a look and then come back to this.  Yet again I am being a lunatic and using ribbon for my piping binding which (like last time) is way too narrow and therefore, really fiddly to use if you haven't sewn with piping before.  Be nicer to yourself and use wider binding than I have.

To make up piping for the top edge of the exterior bag measure the circumference (all around the opening) of the top edge of your exterior bag, and another 8cm (3") to that measurement for luck.  The circumference of my bag was 69cm (27") after adding on another 8cm (for luck) it came to 76cm (30").  Therefore, I needed 76cm of piping for the top edge of my bag.   Now follow steps 1-2 of this tutorial to make up the piping to the desired length EXCEPT you have to make up the ends of the piping as shown in the photo below.

Notice how one end of my pink piping is sealed, and the other end I have left open by a few cms?  Do the same as I have because it's important for later on...

Now pin and baste your piping onto the top edge of your bag as in step 3 of this tutorial, EXCEPT we have to leave a gap of approx 5cm (2") (preferably on the back of the bag as in the photo below).

The open ended part of my piping is on the left.  This gap in the piping is going to help us seal the ends of the piping so we will end up with a smooth continuous line of piping all around the top of the bag...

Lay the open ended part of the piping flat onto the bag, and then lay the sealed part of  your piping  on top of the open end as in the photo.  Make a chalk mark where the sealed end of the piping falls onto the open end (as shown by the blue line in the photo).

Now trim the piping cord inside the open end of your piping to the mark that you just made (in the photo above).  You might need your trusty stitch ripper to get in there!

I have placed a piece on interfacing behind the piping just for the photo, so you can see things a bit clearer.  Trim if necessary and fold over the raw edge of the open end of the piping, and place the sealed end of the piping into the open end of the piping so that the piping cord in both ends 'butt up' with each other (heh! sounds rude).

Close up the ends of the open ended piping (with the sealed end tucked inside), pin and baste starting and stopping at your original basting stitches.

Ta dah! one sealed and continuous line of piping.

9.   Make up and baste handle loops onto bag exterior - now for those yummy shiny rings...  make up handle loops by cutting a 16cm x 40 cm (6.5" x 16") strip of the pink flower fabric and a 8cm x 40cm strip of firm iron-on interfacing.  Iron the interfacing onto the centre (and wrong side) of the pink flower fabric as shown in the photo below.

Fold in half and press.

Fold long edges into the centre line, fold in half again at the centre line and top stitch the whole thing down both of the long edges.

Ta dah! finished handle loop.  Divide this strip into 4 equal lengths and thread each of the 4 shiny metal rings through each of the handle loops.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Position the handle loop in the middle of one half of the chevron stripe.  In my case I placed the handle loop 7cm (2 6/8") in from the side edge.  It's all beginning to take shape, don't the colours all look scrummy together?

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

With the shiny ring still attached fold handle loop in half so that the raw edges meet and the baste the handle loop in place.  Repeat with the other 3 handle loops.  See what a tight fit that was because of my narrow binding...a few choice swear words issued forth, I can tell you!

10.   Make up lining bag - apply the magnetic snap to both of the lining pieces (from pattern piece 1.) 3cm down from the top centre edge.  Bring the two lining pieces right sides together and stitch all around leaving a 13cm (5") gap in the bottom.

11.  Pin and stitch the exterior bag to the lining - Insert the exterior bag (right side out) in the lining bag (wrong side out). The right sides of the exterior and the lining bag should now be touching each other.  Pin the exterior bag to the lining bag at the top edge.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Pin and stitch all around the top edge of the bag.  See here, step 5 for tips onto how to get a neat finish for the piping edge.  Take your time and sew as far to the left as possible without actaully sewing into the piping.  'Feel with your fingers Luke; the force is with you...'

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Now pull the exterior bag thru the hole in the lining.  Stitch the hole in the lining shut by putting the raw edges in the hole and top stitching for a neat finish.  Pop the lining into the exterior bag and give everything a good iron.

12.  Almost there!  Make up comfy shoulder handles - follow step 3 (to the letter) on this Tutorial Bag, and attach the handles to the shiny metal rings.

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Pin thread a handle end and fold the end up to 3cm (just over 1") and stitch the end down in a a small box shape for strength.  Repeat with the other 3 handle ends.

Oh my!  Bag is finished; time to go out and show it off!

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Shoulder Bag Tutorial & Pattern

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