- I chose to use three different fabrics: a basic black fabric for a liner, a thicker (almost suede) material that will be used for the handles and bottom, and a decorative fabric that catches the eye.
- I also am using a clear nylon thread that can be used with almost any fabric: I did not have to change the thread or bobbin once during the complete process. But like any time you start or end a new stitch, DON'T FORGET TO LOCK YOUR THREAD!
Step 1: Making the Bottom
For example, I decided that I would like to have two inches of the thicker fabric on the bottom of my bag for decoration, so I cut a rectangle 11" x 5", so that when folded lengthwise I would still have 1/2 inch on each side for a hem.
Once the fabric is cut out you can start with the hems. I folded and pinned two 1/2 inch hems lengthwise down the fabric to be sewn.
Step 2: Sewing Hems
When you are finished stitching, your piece of fabric should look like my second photo when turned right-side up.
Step 3: Making a Canoe
You will now repeat that same process to the other side, resulting in a piece of fabric kind of resembling a canoe.
Step 4: Closing the Sides
Now the bottom portion of your bag is complete.
Step 5: Making the Cut
For example, my bag will be 12" tall x 10" wide when finished so I cut out two 13"x11" pieces from both the decorative and lining fabric, leaving that extra inch on each side since I am pretty new to sewing.
Step 6: Putting Up Walls
Step 7: Attatching the Bottom
Slip the fabric of the walls into the "canoe" and pin it in place. I choose to pin the decorative fabric all way towards the fold of the thicker fabric, just to aid in the ease of sewing when I stitch them together. Then just hold and sew both fabrics together around the perimeter of your "canoe" along the stitch you made side hems.
Now you have a bottom on your bag!
Step 8: Sewing the Liner
Now sew along the perimeter of the wrong-side. Leave one of the four sides open for where the seam at the top of the bag will be. I used a 3/8 inch seam allowance for this stitch.
Step 9: Adding the Liner
You will need to fold and pin a part of the open portion of the decorative fabric for a hem/seam towards the inside of your bag (towards your extra fabric for seam allowance). Do the same for the open portion of your liner, but fold and pin towards the outside (remember that the liner wrong-side out at this point).
Now slip the liner into the outer fabric. Pin the two fabrics together at the folds you just made.
Step 10: Making Handles
To begin, you must choose the length and width of your handles, double it, and remember to add for seam allowance. For example, I wanted two handles 1 inch wide and 20 inches long. I cut my fabric (remember this is the same fabric you used for the bottom) 5 inches wide because I will cut it in half to use for each handle as well as seem allowance. I cut the fabric 22 inches long because each side of the handle will be sewn into the bag one inch for stability. Then cut it in half lengthwise. I then I had two pieces of fabric 2 1/2 inches by 22 inches.
Now we're going close the handles. You want to fold and pin each of the pieces of fabric in half lengthwise, wrong-side out. Then make one long stitch along the edge to close the handles (leave the two sides unsewn). Your handles should now somewhat resemble a straw. Now turn your handles right-side out. This may take a while. I use a metal coathanger to aid in keeping the fabric straight.
Once the handles are turned right-side out, we are just going to add one more stitch to them before sewing them to the bag. Center the stitch down the middle of the handle and pin it in that position. We are going to sew another stitch in the same place of the other, but this stitch will go through the whole handle for stability and will make the handle flat rather than straw shaped.
Step 11: Adding Handles
You are now going to sew around the perimeter of the opening of the bag to stitch the lining and handles into place. I sewed from the inside on the lining using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.