Intro: How to Sew a Small Gusseted Stroller Bag
I needed a small bag to attach to my jogging stroller that would hold my keys, cell phone, and sunglasses (for one adult and two kids). My stroller, a Bob Revolution, did come with such a bag, but I have to stop and reach waaaay down to access it. This is no good for a jogging stroller. "Well," I said, "I can make one! I'm the DIY queen with a new DIY blog and this will be easy!" And it was. Since I'm not a measurer, it didn't turn out exactly like I planned, but it's pretty darn close and it still functions beautifully.
Step 1: Materials and "pattern"
I wanted my bag to be sturdy, so I chose cotton duck (canvas). I bought 1/2 yard, but had lots leftover.
1 large rectangle(for the front/bottom/back/flap)--17" long x 12.25" wide
2 small rectangles (for the sides)--6" long x 2.5" wide
1 yard of 1" wide woven nylon trim
Dimensions of finished bag: 10" wide x 5.5" tall x 2" deep
(Please see note in the last step for potential measurement modification.)
Step 2: Hemming the Body
Hem the large rectangle of fabric on three sides, leaving one short side un-hemmed. (This will be your flap.) I double-stitched* the opposite short side for reinforcement, as that is where I would be touching the bag most frequently when inserting or removing objects. (Photo 1)
I used 1/4" hem. I also finger pressed my seams, but you can iron if needed.
(Sorry for the black thread on black fabric, but I wasn't up for making a second bag for purposes of demonstration.)
*By "double-stitched," I mean two rows of stitching. One row at the free/cut edge of the fabric and one row at the folded edge. The two rows of stitching are approx. 1/4" apart. (Photo 2)
Note: unless otherwise specified, every bout of stitching is backstitched at the beginning and end. I didn't want to take any chances of the seams coming apart!
Step 3: Creating a Decorative Flap
For my flap, I made envelope-style corners.
1) Find un-hemmed flap edge.
2) Fold front corner in to desired angle. Finger press or iron, if necessary.
3) Stitch down and trim. I double-stitched for stability. (Photos 1 and 2)
4) Repeat for opposite front corner.
5) Hem across front of flap, double-stitching (again) for reinforcement. (This is the previously un-hemmed edge.) (Photo 3)
6) Set aside.
Step 4: Preparing the Gussets
Double-stitch one short side on each of the small rectangles.
These will be the sides, or gussets, of the bag. The hem being made in this step will be the top of the side, thus is part of the opening of the bag and double-stitched for reinforcement.
Step 5: Attaching the Gussets
Attach the small rectangles to the large rectangle.
1) Align the hemmed seams of the small rectangles with the outer corners of the non-flap short side of the large rectangle (see photo). Right sides together, please. :)
2) Stitch the pieces together along the outside seam, as shown. Stop sewing 1/4" before the un-hemmed edge of the small rectangle. You will need this space for your bottom seam.
Step 6: Sewing the Gussets
1) Wrap the body of the bag around the bottom of the gusset. (This may take some adjustment, as you are forcing lots of stiff fabric to bend somewhat against its will. Take your time. It will help if you have a gusseted fabric bag you can look at for comparison.) (Photo 1)
2) Press the corner flat under the presser foot and gently pull the inside folded fabric out from under the presser foot, so you don't sew the bag to itself. (Photo 2)
3) Sew the edges together, stopping 1/4" from the corner. (Photo 3)
4) Repeat for the opposite gusset.
5) Now wrap the back of the bag around the last side of the gussets and sew one gusset, then the other, repeating steps 2-4. This time, you can sew all the way to the top (hemmed) seam of the gusset. (Photo 4)
Step 7: Turning the Bag
Turn the sewn bag right side out.
Step 8: Attaching the Strap
1) Find the center of the nylon strap.
2) Pin the center of the strap to the center of the bag. The location for this should be under the flap, at the point where the back of the bag folds over to become the flap. (Photo 1)
3) Sew the nylon strap to the fabric, running a seam around the edges of the strap. (Photo 2)
Step 9: Confirming Strap Length
At this point, you should wrap the strap around the handlebars of your stroller to double check the length needed to attach the velcro. (Photos 1 and 2)
For my bag, I added 1.5" to this length so I could double the end of the strap, for reinforcement, and to keep the end from fraying. The rest of the strap was trimmed.
Step 10: Hemming the Strap and Attaching Velcro
1) Fold over desired length at the end of the strap (1.5" for me).
2) Stitch along the fold and the cut edge of the strap.
3) I used a zig-zag stitch repeatedly over the cut end of the strap to minimize fraying. Fray-check or even hot glue/super glue should work as well.
4) Place desired length of velcro ("hook" side) at the end of the strap (1.25" for me). Be sure you attach the velcro to the correct side of the strap! It should be along the bottom of the strap, if the top is the side attached to the bag.
5) Sew around the perimeter of the velcro.
6) I also sewed an "X" through the velcro for reinforcement. (Photo 1)
7) Repeat for other end of strap. Make sure you use the "hook" side for this end, too.
Step 11: Attaching More Velcro
1) Lay "loop" velcro strip of desired length (equal to or longer than "hook" strip from previous step) on underside of strap. The location for this will depend on your stroller.
2) Sew around the perimeter of the velcro strip. (Photo 1)
3) Repeat for other side. Make sure you use the "loop" strip.
4) Apply to stroller to check for proper placement.
Step 12: Optional Velcro Closure
If desired, you can attach small tabs of velcro to keep the flap of your bag closed. The placement and size of these velcro tabs will depend on your needs and the dimensions of your bag.
If you have a "free-arm" sewing machine, removing the attachment will make sewing the velcro tabs to the body of the bag much easier. (Photo 1)
Remember to line up your velcro tabs (between the front of the bag and the inside of the flap).
Also remember to match hook and loop pairs.
Photo 2 shows the placement of my velcro closures.
Step 13: Finished!
The stroller bag is now complete! Attach to stroller and fill with necessities. Mine is big enough for my cell phone, keys, and three pairs of sunglasses, with room left over for a few small snacks.
Note: I intended for the flap to be longer. The finished length is due to poor measurement on my part. It still functions well, but if I were to do it again, I would make the flap longer. To do this, simply make your initial "large rectangle" longer. I would add 1-2" to the length of my original rectangle.
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