So last weekend I realised it was Becksies birthday soon. I wanted to give her something but wanted it to be special and thoughtful not just something random which she might not use or like. After a bit of a think and realising Becksie and I share the enjoyment of sewing I dug out one of my favourite sewing books to see what I could hand make her. I’m a massive fan of Cath Kidston so the book I turned to for inspiration was ‘Sew!’ There were a few choices of what to make and my husband suggested a few things too but as Team Pugh are shopping in markets now they don’t acquire the plastic supermarket bags anymore. So…….I decided to make her a large tote shopping bag!! It has a large front pocket with button fastening and really useful inside pocket!
Next step was to dig my fabric box out and see what I had in there…I found this super fun navy spotty fabric which is perfect!
My ‘Sew!’ book comes with all the templates you need for the projects inside the book, so I traced and cut out the bits I needed ready to start cutting up the fabric.
If you want to make the bag the measurements are as follows:
Spotty fabric and lining are the same size 40cm x 50cm
Front large pocket is 40cm x 30cm
Inside pocket (cut on the fold) is 25cm x 25cm
Handles (cut on the fold) x 2 is 30cm x 7cm!
The inside pocket and handles need to be cut on the fold which means fold the fabric over so you have double the fabric and the fold of the fabric at one end of your template. This is because the pocked and handles need to be bigger and are easier/more efficient to cut like this.
Right…fabric all cut out to size now the pinning and sewing can begin! Get your large pocket piece of material and along one of the longer edges do a double hem (fold over 1cm then 1cm again and pin) sew along the top and bottom of this hem so it looks like this:
Inbetween the two sewing lines on the hem you need to do a button hole in the centre of this (you can use other methods of fastenings if you wish) I have a sewing machine which allows me to do button holes so after quickly reminding myself what to do I roughly found the centre of the hem and did a button hole. I cut out the middle and it was done!
Find one of your spotty pieces of fabric for the outside of your bag and pin the large pocket to the spotty fabric. Sew this to the fabric using a 1cm hem allowance. Next get the back of your bag and place the front and back of your bag together with the right sides facing-pin and sew!
At the opening of the bag (the top end) fold down 1cm and press, then fold down 5cm and press. Put to one side.
Get your 2 lining pieces of fabric place together with right sides facing, pin and see. Use a 1cm seam allowance and trim off any excess material after you’ve sewn your seam. Then cut off 4cm of the top end of your lining (the opening). I did this but ended up trimming more off when it came to putting the bag all together.
Next get your inside pocket piece, find one of the edges and do a narrow double hem (like before for the large pocket). Once you’ve double hemmed this edge fold the pocket in half with the newly hemmed edge 5cm below the un-hemmed edge (hope that makes sense)! Pin and sew along the edges of the pocket.
The handles had me struggling for a while so I searched the Internet for more detailed tutorials on what to do and managed to get my head round it…I just hope I can explain it and make sense.
So…fold your handle fabric in half length ways and press. Open out the fabric and fold the fabric of each half into the centre:
Then fold the fabric in half, (to neaten off the ends I folded triangles in and pressed them) pin and sew down each edge of the handle.
So everything is sewn now just need to pin the bag together and do the last few seams!
Taking your lining (sewn together and trimmed) find the centre of the top edge of the bag. Do the same with your inside pocket. Match these up making sure the pocket sits inside the lining with the pocket facing out into the bag then pin in place.
Pop the lining into the outer spotty material bag with the inner pocket on the back of your bag and tuck the lining under the material you turned down and pressed earlier, hiding the raw edges and top part of the inside pocket. Line up the two seam edges of the sides of the outer spotty fabric and lining and pin. Take the handles you’ve made and on the back of the bag where the pocket is line up the edge of the handle with the edge of the inner pocket and pin. Once you have the handle secured on the back of the bag repeat the same on the front using the handles on the back as a guide.
Along the top edge of the bag mouth sew a 6mm seam and then a second seam 3cm down from that. To ensure the handles are very secure do a reinforced square:
Last of all sew a button onto the front of the bag behind the buttonhole made earlier…now enjoy!!!
With my own small person to look after this took several evenings to make but I am very proud of the outcome and hope it will come in useful for Team Pugh on their shopping days!