Introduction: Grommeted Tough Bag

About: As a maker I'm interested in function and economy of means. Smart and simple design that draws from necessity first. Primarily a visual artist, some of these ideas work their way into my sculpture as well.

It is so satisfying to make useful storage, and equally satisfying to make objects with versatile function. I designed this bag after a forklift bag, using visual cues from the industry standard. I use it for laundry, although I'm sure it can be used for all types of storage needs. It is made with 10m canvas, 4" webbing, 1/2 inner diameter grommets, and orange vinyl.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Cut to Size

The Machine:

A note about the machine I used. I used an industrial machine, a Juki, but it does not have a walking foot. It is a middle of the road industrial machine. Even though I am using heavy fabrics, it worked fine. If you have a walking foot machine, even better. If you don't have an industrial machine, and your city has a Tech Shop, get trained and use theirs!

For this bag, you will need:

Nylon thread

2 yards of #4, 24 oz canvas (a heavy canvas, so the bag will stand up on its own)

3 yards of 4" nylon webbing

1/2 inch Inner Diameter brass grommets, and grommet tools to match the size (punch and set)

1/4 yard of any bright vinyl

Clips, (binder clips or fabric clips)

Cut the canvas:

4 pieces at 16" x 22"

1 piece at 14" x 14"

Cut the webbing:

4 pieces at 28"

Cut the vinyl:

1 piece at 14"x 14"

Step 2: Bottom of the Bag: Grommets

With your punch, and grommet sets, you will grommet the 14" x 14" canvas to the 14" x 14" piece of colorful vinyl that will be the bottom of the bag.

Grommeting is not all that common, so I'll describe the steps:

First line up the fabrics. Then hammer the punch to make the hole, (using a punch that is the same size as the inner diameter of the grommet, very important). The front of the grommet goes in the vinyl side, when you look in the bag you'll be looking at the right side of the grommets. Put the front of the grommet in the hole.

Turn the fabrics over together, place the front of the grommet in the set dish. Add the back of the grommet, (the one with the teeth). Use the male set tool, place it through the back of the grommet, then to the front, and into the female set tool, and use a hammer to pound the grommet in place. Basically, you always grommet on the wrong side of the fabric.

Add as many grommets as you like depending on your purposes and aesthetics.

Step 3: The Sides: Top Seams, Bottom Seams

Fold the top seams over a half inch, sew.

Sew the bottom seams to the newly grommeted piece. Note: the seems will be on the outside of the bag. Sew two lines in order to add strength to the bag.

Note: There is a size discrepancy between the sides of the bag (16" base) and the bottom piece (14") base. This will be accounted for when you add the corner pieces. Split the difference between the sides, and leave a 1/2 gap at the beginning of the seams and the end of the seams.

Step 4: The Corners: Webbing Loops

Cut the webbing to size if you haven't already, 4 at 28" each.

Fold the webbing over on itself to create the loop handles, they should be 5". Sew the seams more than once for strength, I did two passes.

Now, I've used small clamps for this part because normal straight pins tend to bend, but if you want to use floral pins or binder clips work great also.

Fold the webbing in half over the corner where the sides of the bag will meet. Use clamps or pins to help you position them. Be sure the loop is at the top of the bag.

Leave a bit of the webbing at the bottom of the bag. Sew perpendicular seams at the bottom and the top of the webbing, and two parallel seams down the middle of the folded webbing.

Step 5: Voila!

If you want to burn the ends of the webbing or nylon thread, you can use a lighter. Be careful!

Now, stuff it with stuff and move it around!