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Swag Bag – Free Tutorial

 This is a bag that is as roomy as it is simple to make. You could easily use it as an over-night bag or even a weekender.

 No doubt you’ve seen big bags like weekenders that are beautiful but either complicated or just
plain hard to make.  Well this project is different.  A roomy bag, perfect for a couple days of clothing and essentials but easy peasy.  It’s not quite as rigid as some, but it still maintains it ’s shape, and it’s pretty and practical.  Let’s get started!

Half a metre (0.5m) of cotton for outside  (Referred to as main fabric)
(Allow for more fabric if you are making your own handle.)
Half a metre of cotton for lining
30cm of toning cotton for corners
Half a metre of medium iron on interfacing
Half a metre of Thermolam fleece (or low loft quilter’s fleece)
Half a metre of extra firm iron-on interfacing (Vilene collar and cuffs) 36cm zip
2 D rings
Purchased shoulder strap with swivel clip (or you can make your own)

All measurements are in metric.  (Cms = centimetres)  If you are in Imperial (feet and inches) use a measuring tape with centimetres on one side and inches on the other.  Seam allowance is 1cm throughout unless stated otherwise in the pattern.  

Cutting Instructions:
Cut two each rectangles of 47cm x 44.5cm in main fabric, lining, Thermolam, iron-on interfacing
Cut four rectangles of 23 x 17cm for corners in toning fabric and medium iron on interfacing
Cut one rectangle of 56 x 19cm for pocket in lining fabric and medium ion on interfacing 
Cut one rectangles 5.5 x 8.5cm in toning fabric for zip end
Cut two rectangles 10cm x 22cm for side tabs for strap 

1. Iron the medium interfacing onto the wrong side of the corner pieces and the pocket piece.  
Iron the extra firm interfacing onto the main fabric pieces.   Using 505 spray fabric glue (or similar) apply the Thermolam fleece to the back of the main fabric pieces on top of the previous interfacing.

 2. Fold the pocket piece in half, right sides together.  Stitch around the rectangle leaving a gap for turning.  Turn the pocket out to the right side and press.  Measure 13cm from the top of one of the lining pieces and mark.  Place the top of the pocket at this mark centrally on the lining.  Sew the pocket into place reinforcing the corners.  If you want two pockets, sew a line down the middle of the pocket.

3. Fold one end of the tabs over by 0.5cm.  Press. Fold the sides of the tabs to the centre.  Then fold again to encase the raw edges inside.   Press.  Stitch down both sides and across the turned under end.  Thread the D rings onto the tabs.  Fold the tabs over with the
stitched end on top.  The raw end should be 1.5cm shorter than the other end.  Stitch
across the raw end.

4. Make the corners by turning under the top by 1cm and press.  Then fold 1cm under down 2  left  sides and 2 right sides.  Press again and then stitch around the folded edges.   Match  the sides and bottoms of the corners to the main body pieces with the hemmed sides towards the centre of the bag.  Stitch into place. (No need to stitch across the bottom or down the outer sides.  

5. Fold the main bag pieces sides towards the centre.  The fold should measure 11cm.  

 Measure 2.5cm from the fold and mark.  Then measure down from the mark for 6 cm.  The  line hould go from the 2.5cm mark to the fold on an angle (see picture).

Stitch along the angled marks on both body pieces.   Repeat for the lining.  Clip down the  centre of each dart and open flat. Press.

6. If you’ve ever made a zipped pouch you’ll recognise this zip process.  Just follow the steps and look at the pictures!  First make a zip end by folding the sides of the fabric towards the centre and press.  Then encase the zip end (the end that opens) in the fold.  Pin into place and then stitch. 

Clip the zip end sides so it is the same width as the zip.  Now you are going to layer your fabric and zip.  Place your zip right side up on your table.  Next lay one main body piece face down on top of the zip.  Pin the zip to the body making sure that the darts lie flat on the zip.

Move the zip pull so it is half way down the zip.  Stitch the fabric and zip together until you reach the zip pull.  Leave your needle down and gently move the zip pull back up the zip then carry on sewing.  When you’ve finished, remove from the machine and lay on the table so that the wrong side is next to the table and the right side with zip is uppermost.
Take the lining and lie it on top  of the zip on the side you have just sewn.  Pin into place and then stitch.  Try to sew over the previous stitches.
(If you are familiar with this method you may like to stitch the main body, zip and lining all in one go).

Turn the fabrics over so that they are the right side around.  The zip should be free and the main body and lining should be wrong sides together.   

A press will help at this stage.   Then sew the other side to match.  Lay the main body face down on the zip, pin and sew.  Then turn it over and pin the lining to the other side.  Sew. 

You should now have something like this. 

The zip end should look something like this. 

7. Open the zip to half way.  If the zip isn’t open you won’t be able to finish your bag!  Place both pieces one on top of the other right sides together, with the lining on top of lining and main on top of main.  Pin around the edges.

8. Stitch around the edges leaving a gap in the bottom of the lining for turning out.  Clip the corners and turn out to the right side through the gap.

9. Put your hand through the gap into the main body.  Put your finger into one corner  and  from the outside push the corner flat.  The bottom seam and the side seam should be on  top of each other.  Look through the gap and make sure that they match up properly. 

Measure 10cm from the corner along the seam and mark.   Draw a line 20cm long on this  mark from side to side.  Repeat for the other main body corner and both the lining corners. 

Stitch along the 20cm lines for all four corners.  Trim the seams and push the corners into  shape.

10. Place one of the handle tabs onto the side of the bag.  It needs to sit on the side seam   approximately 12cm from the top.  Stitch into place and repeat for the other tab. 

11. Topstitch the gap in the lining and then push the lining into the bag body.  Stitch  along  both sides of the zip but not too close to the teeth.  Check that the zip can open and close  smoothly.   Attach handle.


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