I am thinking it is a whole lot harder to express how I do something than it is to just do it!! But I am going to try.
The first thing is to decide the fabric to use than to select either a quilting back fabric which can also act a the lining or an additional lining fabric in addition to the quilt backer. You will also need cotton batting in sheet form and thread as well as material for handles. I like gross grain ribbon sewn in a double thickness.
I like to use all cotton for these bags and start by washing everything but the cotton batting and the ribbon in the washing machine and dry in the dryer. This acts to preshrink the fabrics and remove any finishing chemicals there my be on the cloth.
Next I press everything using a steam iron.
It is important to try to cut everything straight and with the grain of the fabric. Generally the woven edge is straight, also called the salvage edge. I will try to line up everything straight with this edge and use it as the side of my fabric, saving me a cut.
For this bag I cut 4 pieces 25" wide by 44" long. The finished bag will fold in the center of the long side making the bag 25" wide by 22" long before sewing. The first fabric is the outer bag, next the cotton batting, then the quilt back, and last the lining. I used 350" of gross grain ribbon.
To start place the right sides of the outer bag and the quilt back together then pin them exactly. Now add the cotton batting, pinning it exactly also. Sew across the top and backstich, then sew the bottom the same way. You now can turn the fabric right side and you will have one long piece with the batting sewn inside the outside and the backing.
|Stitching Quilt Channels.|
This piece is channel quilted which means I just sewed straight lines of quilting top to bottom and in this instance they are sewn 2" apart. So that is the next step. Ignore the two unsewn sides and start top to bottom sewing all three pieces, repeating every 2 "
Now I attach the straps. First I cut 2 lengths of ribbon about 133 " each and sew them together at about 1/8" from both edges.
|Sewing Down the Straps.|
Now pin the straps on the outside of the bag. I start by folding under the raw edge of the end of the double thick ribbon. Measure in 7 1/2" from either outside edge and mark with a straight pin on both sides. There should be 10" between the two pins. This is where the straps are to be sewn.
Start by pinning them down. When you get to the top of the bag measure 24", this is the handle. ON THE SAME SIDE you are pinning attach the 24th inch and start pinning down the strap 10" over. Look at the finished bag. The straps do NOT cross the bag. They go back down the bag. Then they go under the center of what will be the bottom of the bag when it is folded. The strap goes down and back up the other side then repeats.
Now start 2" BELOW the top edge of the bag and sew down the straps on both sides of the ribbon. Stop 2" below to top on the other side too. Repeat for the other strap.
Fold the bag in half with the right sides together, matching the top of the bag exactly and sew the seam to close. All my seams are 5/8".
Turn the bag. You can stop here or continue depending on what you want as an end product.
OPTIONAL: To form a square bottom turn the bag inside out again and pinch a triangle shaped fold going short ways across the bottom of the bag. Sew the triangle across about 3" from the point.
Turn the bag right side and you can stop here.
|Stitching under the raw edges for the pockets.|
OPTIONAL: This bag has an added lining because I wanted to apply inside pockets. Cut 2 pockets any size you would like. I made one large enough to hold a magazine and two smaller for glasses or a hair brush and wallet.
Press 1/4" under on all sides of the pockets then at the top fold down again 1" and press. Top stitch all of the way around. Pin the 2 finished pockets on the right side of the lining. Sew the sides and bottom of the pockets to the lining. With the right sides together sew the side seams closed. Turn the lining right side IN. So when you are looking down inside the bag you see the pockets. Fold the top raw edge to the outside 1/4" and top stitch all of the way around.
Go back to the bag now and pin down the straps toward the bottom of the bag and away from the top edge. This will help you not sew them up into the bag as you sew in the lining.
If you made square corners at the bottom of the bag you need to repeat this again for the lining.
|Inside view of finished bag.|
Place the finished lining down into the bag as pictured. Pin in place at the top edge of the bag and top stitch all the way around to attach. Being sure you back stitch and trim all strings as you go.
Stitch exactly 1/4" from the top edge of the bag folding the ends under to finish. This gives a nice finished edge.
|View of top finished edge of bag.|
To complete this bag go back to the straps and unpin them. Stitch all 4 of them on both sides and across the top edge of the bag reinforcing them with back stitching. I also stitch an "X" in the end of the strap at the top to reinforce for strength. NOTE: I also added a loop of the ribbon at the top and at one of the straps in the inside of the bag as an attachment to hook keys to.
The End, hope you had fun with this. I made the first one almost 20 years ago for my sister Linda and she still carries it. I have no idea how many I have made now for pregnant nieces and gifts. They are all made and given with my love.