Sunday, 7 June 2015

Alex Bag Tutorial

One of my ladies in class has got this rather groovy bag in which she keeps all her Liberty fabric stash. It gets a lot of attention and plenty of us have wanted to make one. Despite our searches we haven't been able to find a pattern for it so I set to work to see if I could come up with a version of my own.

It is a square based bag with a drawstring tie and I can see that my house is going to fill up with them as they are super handy!

It seems a shame to keep it all to myself so here is the pattern & instructions if you want a quick afternoon project to get stuck into.

You will need:
Feature fabric A 12" x 18"
Feature fabric B 12" x 18"
Iron on interfacing for feature fabrics
Lining fabric 24" x 18"
Fabric for loops 5" x 24"
cotton cord 2/5m

From two feature fabrics cut two strips of each at 6" wide x 18" high. Using the 45 degree line on your ruler trim away the top corner from each strip. It is very important that you cut all the fabric with the front face facing upward so the angles are the same on every piece.


Repeat the process with the lining fabric so that you have four pieces of lining fabric.

NOTE: I Ironed an interfacing onto the back of my feature fabrics to give them more body. I used a product called shapewell.

Place one piece of feature fabric A (yellow) face down onto Feature fabric B (blue) as shown. Line up the side and bottom edges. Pin in place & mark 1/4" in from the top. Sew 1/4" along the edge making sure you lock stitch at the start mark & sew all the way to the end.

Now pull up the edge of Yellow A to meet the edge of Blue A and pin together, there should be a slight overhang at the top. Ease the corner join slightly. Pin in place and machine sew making sure you lock or back stitch. Repeat with the remaining two feature pieces.

To join the two assembled feature blocks place right sides together nesting the seams neatly & pin in place. Make sure you start & stop sewing 1/4" in from the end.

Join the remaining edges as before to complete the external face of the bag.


Repeat steps 1 - 4 to make the bag lining. IMPORTANT: In one seam of the lining leave a 3" gap to pull the bag through.

To make the loops for the string cut one strip of fabric 5" wide x 24" long.
Press the entire strip in half wrong sides together along the longest length. Open out the fold & press the outer edges into the centre fold. do this to both edges. Refold the entire strip back along the original centre fold. Press firmly. machine stitch along both edges about 1/8" in. Cut the strip into 8 3" lengths. (note: I photographed only one 3" piece to make it easier to see!)

Turn the external side of the bag so that the feature fabric is on the outside. Fold each of the fabric loops in half & pin to the front face of the bag. I pinned a loop at each seam then half way between each seam. Make sure the loop is positioned with the raw edges lined up with the top edge of the bag. Machine sew each loop in place using a 1/8" seam allowance to hold them in place.

Keeping the lining with the right side facing inward, place the bag inside the lining making sure right sides are together. Push the bottom corners of the bag into the corners of the lining and pin to keep them from moving. Now pin the two bags together all the way around the top being careful not to over pull them as you will be working with bias edges. Use lots of pins! NOTE: the seams of the bag and lining are not meant to line up.
Machine sew the two together all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn the bag through the gap in the lining so that the right sides are facing outward & stuff the lining down into the bag.
Roll the top seam between your fingers to make sure you get the seam nicely pulled to the top & pin in place. Top stitch around the top of the bag using 1/8" seam allowance - this will help to anchor the fabric loops.

Cut two lengths of cotton rope about 1.2m / 47". Thread one length through all 8 loops and then tie the two ends together. Thread the other length of rope through the loops starting at the opposite side.

To finish your Alex bag all that is left to do is hand sew the gap closed in the lining.


x Claire

TIP: If you want to make the bag smaller or bigger the formula is quite simple: the length of each strip is three times the width!

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