This is a pic of the one I am making today!
I used a pattern by Nancy Ota who is a wonderful seamstress and quilter. I don't want to take away from her, this is just a few tips I have learned from making this bag a few times! The size I made in 2011 is the medium, I am using the small size for this. Here is the material list:
Pet screen fabric
1/4 fabric for outside pocket
1/4 fabric for lining of outside pocket
1/3 yard fabric for inside pocket
1/8 yard fabric for bottom support cover
14" separating zipper
cardboard bottom support
You are using pet screen fabric as the base for the bag. I found mine at Lowes, here is a pic.
For this bag you need a piece 14 x 23". I use my cutting board to lay out the fabric and use the markings to cut it. You will also need to cut a piece 2 1/2 x 26" for each strap. I usually cut one piece 5 x 26" then use my rotary cutter to cut it in half!
Once you have your screen fabric cut it is on to the purse fabric. I decided I was going to use recycled jeans for this project. I save them when my kids outgrow or just decided they don't like that style! For the price of jeans, it is nice to give them a second life!
For the small bag you need 2 pieces 7 x 15". I wanted to incorporate a seam in there as well. When you are sewing with denim, make sure your machine will go through the thickness and that you have a denim or leather needle. Here are my pieces cut out.
For the lining of this piece and the inside pockets I picket out a fun colorful cotton fabric.
This is the seam before I pressed it open.
This is after pressing and with the top stitch.
When you are done with the inside pockets set them aside, we can begin work on the outside! Here is where you can have some fun. We need to add piping to the front pieces. I like to pull a color from the lining to give it interest. Here I decided on the pink!
This is now the outside of your bag!
I lay my fabric over my cutting board so I can see the markings underneath. You will need to mark nine inches down from the top. This is where you will attach the bottom of the inside pocket. Just take a small 1/4 " seam.
When you are all basted and secured, measure the center of the bag, should be 7 inches from the sides. This will be your seam to make a pocket on the inside and outside! Make sure the inside pocket is pinned and caught up when you sew! I marked with chalk and then used pins to guide me.
Now we need to work on the straps. If you cut just the one piece 5 x 26" you will need to fold that in half and cut at 2 1/2" so you have to pieces for the straps. Take one piece and fold from each side to the center legnthwise.
Hard to see, but that is the strap pinned to the bag. Right side to right side. Take a small 1/8" seam, I usually go over it a few times for strength. Then turn the strap up towards the top of the bag and pin. You then will be sewing the strap to the bag making a box about 1" then an X through the box.
Now we need to attach the zipper. I am going to refer to the directions for this, cause I always have to reread them when I am doing this! You need a 14" separating zipper for this size.
Once you have done all that, re zip the zipper about 1/3 of the way closed. You are now going to sew the side seams! Pin your sides together right side to right side with the straps inside, taking the time to make sure the piping and fabric all match. You should sew from the bottom up, so turn and pin the other side so you can do that. The pins will be on opposite sides. You are going to sew a 1/2" seam. Take your time as you sew through all the layers. On the side with the end of the zipper, sew as far up as you can. On the side with the zipper opened, once you get up to the edge fold over the ends of the zipper so it is wrong side to wrong side. This will finish it off.
Here is one side pinned and ready to go!
Now that your sides are done you need to finish them off. The pattern calls for double fold bias tape, but I found a nice lightweight ribbon that works great. I just fold over the ends and zig zag up the seam to the top. Nice and finished.
This is the ribbon I found at JoAnns. Hopefully they still carry it, I need more!
Almost done! We need to box in the corners. This is just pulling the corners taught to a triangle and sewing along the edge.
You need to measure your bottom of your bag to get the right measurements. Once you do that cut the cardboard and fit it in. Sometimes you need to adjust a little to get it to fit right. Once you have the right fit, you can make your 'pillowcase' for the cardboard. That is really what it is! Leave enough along one edge so you can fold the edges inside. Here is a pic from another one I did using cardboard from a Bath and Body Works Box! i didn't cover it cause I liked the gingham!
Hope you enjoy this bag. There are other sizes you can make as well, the one I originally did was the medium size. If you want the measurements just let me know, the sewing is the same.
I always add a fun zipper fob! You can find cute doo dads at Joann's, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Walmart...