Summertime is finally upon us! And after having snow on Mother’s Day here in Denver, we’re ready for it! In honor of summer (and vacations!), read on to learn how to make quick and simple lightweight bags in various sizes. Whether you’re headed to an out of town wedding (like me) or going on a weekend getaway, these bags will organize all your travel essentials.
What You Need
- 1 yard of 60” -wide lightweight woven fabric. Note: One yard is enough to make all six bags. You can use less if you’re only making one or a few bags.
- Matching all-purpose thread
- 4 1/2 yards of 1/8” diameter cording
- Two 18” zippers (for cosmetics and jewelry bags)
Optional (for embroidery)
- Contrasting machine embroidery thread
- Machine embroidery bobbin thread
- Tear-away stabilizer
Cut fabric for each bag using the following dimensions. Make all or just one, it’s up to you.
Laundry Bag: 16”x 44”
Shoes: 11”x 30”
Cosmetics: 8 1/2”x 21”
Jewelry: 7 1/2”x 14”
Pharmacy: 7 1/2”x 14”
Fabric Money: 5 1/2”x 9”
All seam allowances 1/2” unless otherwise noted.
If you don’t plan on embroidering your bag, skip ahead to the Corded Bag Construction step.
- Decide on placement for each bag label
- Program lettering for each label (keep the size in proportion to the bag for a more uniform look)
- Thread the machine with embroidery thread
- Hoop and stabilize each fabric piece
- Embroider each bag front with the appropriate word (or your initials, or whatever you want!). Make sure the label faces the proper direction.
- Remove excess stabilizer and trim thread ends.
Corded Bag Construction
- Measure down 3/4” from the finished edge and stitch a 1/2” buttonhole close to each sideseam. Avoid catching the seam allowances in the buttonhole (2).
Tip: If your fabric is very lightweight, apply stabilizer before stitching the buttonhole.
- Fold the upper edge of the bag to the wrong side, creating a 5/8” casing for the cord. Stitch close to the casing lower edge.
- Thread a cording piece at each buttonhole all the way through the bag casing and knot the cord ends (3).
Tip: Attach a safety pin to the end of your cording for easier threading through the casing.
- To close the bag, gently pull the cords.
Zippered Bag Construction
- Serge or clean-finish both long edges.
- Cut the lower stop off the zipper, unzip, remove the pull and set aside.
Note: You’ll only use one side of the zipper.
- Place one side of the zipper right side down along the clean finished edge and sew 1/8” from the zipper teeth (4).
- Fold and bring the zipper teeth together and carefully work the pull back onto the zipper. Slide the pull to the opposite end and close the bag. Trim the zipper end if necessary.
- Fold the bag right sides together with the zipper open. Stitch the side and lower bag (with 1/2″ seams).
- Fold the lower bag seam (or side fold) directly on top of the bag side seam to box the bag corners. Stitch across the seam 1” from the triangle point (5).
- To finish the zipper open end, fold the bag side seam on top of the zipper teeth and stitch across the seam 1/4” from the end (6).
That’s it! These are so simple to make, you can stitch up one (or more) in time for the long weekend.
Want more bag patterns? Download this cute summer satchel ePattern from the latest issue of Sew News here.
What projects are you making this summer? Tell us below!