Friday, 8 February 2013

Sew Grateful Tutorial - A Simple Carry-all

Yesterday we took the baby things over to young Wilhelm.  I had been looking for a gift bag to put them in when I remembered this hockey fabric I'd seen when I was rummaging around for the giveaway goodies.

Many people in this town are obsessed with hockey so I figured Wilhelm should have something, like this bag, to provoke questions. It is better to learn about the seedier side in life at home, from your parents, than in the street.

This is Sew Grateful week and this is my tutorial for a very simple bag or carry-all. I expect most people know how to make one, but it doesn't hurt to have a different perspective. I have been making these for years,  long before the internet became a daily part of everyday life. I expect I saw the idea in a magazine or newspaper article. So, in my typical quick-and-dirty fashion, here we go. Please ask me questions if there are parts of this that do not make sense.

1. Decide how big it should be. Using a measuring tape is a grand idea, but I prefer to hold it next to what I plan to carry in it.

Measure for size
2. Cut or tear your fabric to the correct size for the body and handles. If you want a bag approximately 40 cm across the front and  20 cm on the side and 20 cm deep your piece would have to be 60 cm long and 30 cm deep. Note: The sides and bottom get 10 cm from the 'front' piece and 10 cm from the 'back' piece. Add a seam allowance if want it exactly 20 cm.

Prepare bag body and handle.
3. Make sure to note which way is up.

Decide which way the pattern will run.

4. Serge or sew the side and bottom seams. If your fabric does not have a nap or destinct pattern just fold the fabric in half, match at the top, and close the side seams.
Sew or serge the side and the bottom seams.
5. Fold the handles in half along the long edge. If you are not sergeing the raw edge, place the right sides together, sew along the long edge and turn right side out.

Serge or sew the handles.

6. Cut the long piece in half to make two handles.

Cut the handle piece in two.
7. Pull the bag apart and spread it open so the bottom seam is lined up with the side seam to form a point. In the pictures below my thumb is on the side seam and my fingers are on the bottom seam. Do the same for the other end.

Match up side (under thumb) and bottom seam.
Matching seams, different angle, with side seam  under my thumb and the bottom seam directly underneath.
8. Mark the point for the corner seam. The further you come in from the point, the wider the bag will be. If you are aiming for 20 cm, sew across at the point where it is 20 cm wide.
Mark the second side.
Mark where to serge or sew across the corner.
9. Sew or serge across both corners.

One corner finished.

Both corners finished.

Bag standing inside out.

10. Turn the top of the bag down to finish the edge; turn it once if you have serged the raw edges, twice if you are sewing. Stitch around the entire top edge

(I don't know what blogger is doing, but it has linked the next two pictures together and I cannot move them apart. Grrr)

Attach the handles at the appropriate distances.
11. Pin the handles in place and sew.
I found the center side to be 10 inches so I attached the handles equally away from the center. (The metric system was introduced in Canada when I was in Grade 5. My poor teachers did not have a clue about this new way of doing things, and since I hadn't even mastered the Imperial system yet, I don't really know either system. As in this tutorial, I use Imperial and metric interchangably. I measure distance in kilometers, then have to convert to miles to know how long that will take to travel. I know my height in inches and weight in pounds, but I buy my food in grams and my fabric in meters. But I digress.)

12. Turn the bag right side out and use as you see fit.

Action shot.
Many Canadian kids have a hockey bag but I doubt many of them got their first one when they were 10 days old.


  1. Thanks for that! I particularly liked the detail on the bottom corners - very useful.

  2. This turned out very nice. I wish I had a serger to do this.

    1. I'm lucky. I have 'custody' of my mom's serger.