“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 5: Putting it all Together!

You have reached the fifth and the final installment of the “Tween-y Bag” tutorial series.  All the hard work is over … all you have left are a few more minor details until you cross the finish line! Just take a look at the photo above; you’ve made all that already! YAY!  🙂

Here are the previous tutorials for a quick recap:

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 3: Making the Lining
Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings

Okay, time to get to work!  Now that you’ve done all the prep work, you’re ready to sew together two panels – the Front Panel and the Lining – to put the bag together.  Isn’t it great that everything is coming together?  surprised

First, turn the Front Panel you made on Part 2 tutorial over to the wrong side so that the batting side is showing. The Lining that you made on Part 3 Tutorial should be showing the right side, with the pocket side facing out.

Shove the Lining in to the Front Panel. Align the top edges so that two panels fit perfectly together. You might have to put your hand in the bag to straighten the lining inside, to make sure that you have the Lining in perfectly, wrinkle free.

Pin around the top edges to secure the Front Panel and the Lining. As mentioned before, use as many pins as possible. The more you secure the fabrics, easier it will be to sew around them.

Here’s the fun part. After you finish sewing around and removed all the pins, yank out the Lining from inside the Front Panel. Next, from the opening on the bottom of the Lining (remember you kept a small section opened when you made the Lining?), bring the Front Panel and the Adjustable Strap through.

Sew together the opening of the bottom of the Lining, either by hand or by machine. (Hand-stitching will look better, but I usually just machine-sew the straight line at the bottom. I figured no can really see the inside of the Lining. However, if you are making it reversible, make sure to take the time to hand-sew them together as it shows on the outside.)

Take the Lining and put it back into the inside of the Front Panel.

Iron the Front Panel and Lining.

Insert the Drawstrings

This is the final step! You’re almost there!  Now, you’re ready to cast the Drawstrings through the Slots!

Put a safety pin on the end of one of the drawstrings.

Cast the drawstring through both both Drawstring Slots, all the way around the entire bag.

Take two loose ends of the Drawstring and sew them together.  Shuffle the Drawstrings around so that the sewn part will be hidden in the Drawstring Slot.

Repeat for the second Drawstring. For the second one, make sure that you start the insert of the Drawstring from the other opening.

That’s it!  biggrin biggrin biggrin You’ve just sewn your Tween-y Bag!  Congratulations!  I hope you had as much fun making this bag, as I had with creating the tutorial.  One of my favorite parts of this bag is that you can carry it as a drawstring bag, or carry it as a small, shoulder bag.  Because the strap is adjustable, you can change the style up, based on your mood or wardrobe.  The possibility is endless.

If you make this Tween-y Bag using the tutorial, I would love to hear your feedback! Please leave me a comment with your thoughts. If you have a blog and if you happen to feature the bag on it, I would love it if you can send me the link so that I can re-feature it on this blog.

Thank you so much for reading this tutorial, and please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information! 🙂

“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings

Welcome to “Tween-y Bag” Tutorial Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings! Now that you’ve completed the Front Panel and the Lining of the bag, you’re ready to move on to making two different kinds of straps, also known as bias tapes.  As always, please read the introductory post, “Getting Started,” to find out important information before proceeding.

What’s good about making a bias tape is once you learn how to make one, you can make it in any size imaginable. So, let’s make the Bag Strap first.

Making the Bag Strap

For the Bag Strap, cut a fabric that measure 5 inches by 50 inches. I used the dark green fabric again for this.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a fabric long enough to add up to 50 inches. All you have to do is connect smaller pieces together to achieve the desired length.

This is how:

Align and sew two short edges of the same-size fabrics together. When done, flip the fabric with wrong side facing up and iron the seams to open them up. Turn the fabric over and iron the other side. Look, now you have a perfectly connected fabric! Repeat until you achieve 50 inches in length.

To make the Bag Strap (Bias Tape), first fold the fabric in half and iron, to create a visible crease. Next, bring each long end of the fabric to the center (you can use the iron crease to guide you) and iron.

Bring two sides together, meeting in the middle.  Iron the Strap down.  The more you iron, easier it’ll be when you sew both sides together.

Sew down both sides of the Strap. This makes the Strap a lot more durable than if you only had one side sewn together. YAY — you just created the Strap for the bag!

Making the Drawstrings

Now, you’re going to cut two pieces of fabric that measure 2 inches x 29 inches each, to make the Drawstrings.

Repeat the same process of creating Bag Straps to make a Drawstring.  Repeat the entire process again for the second Drawstring.

The Drawstring Slots

Okay, I need to admit that I don’t know the proper name for these pieces, but these are the fabric “tunnels” that you cast the drawstrings through.

Cut two pieces of fabric that measure 3 inches by 10 inches each. First, fold a tiny piece from the edge (about ¼ in) and fold again, tucking in the first folded piece. Sew both sides. This is very similar to the way you make the pocket in Part 3 when you made the pocket in the Lining.

Next, fold the wrong sides together in half, and iron.

Sew the top part (the closed edge) of the Drawstring Slot together. You can keep the bottom unsewn. Repeat the same process for the second piece.

Now, pin the Drawstring Slots on to each top edge of the bag, with right sides facing each other.

Make sure to sew as close to the top edge as possible. It’s pretty much like basting where the purpose is to temporarily sew two fabrics together to keep them in place. This will make it easier when it’s time to sew the Front Panel and Lining together.

The bag should look like this now.

Making the Adjustable Strap

You are now ready to put the Bag Strap into the Slider and Rectangle Ring set to make it adjustable.

First, cut 9 inches from the Bag Strap you made. This will be used to hold the rectangle ring on one side of the bag.

Trying to explain how to loop the strap to the ring is a little difficult; therefore, I’m going to rely on some helpful online tutorial for it. I recommend this online tutorial “Adjustable Strap Tutorial” by homespunthreds.  She keeps it simple and it’s really easy to follow.  If you enter in the keyword, “Adjustable Strap tutorial,”on YouTube, you will find many, other helpful videos.

Pin each end of the Strap to both sides of the bag. Put right sides together on both edges. Just like what you did basted the Drawstring Slots, this step allows you to detect any potential pitfalls, such as twisting the strap or sewing it on the right direction, before you sew the Front Panel and Lining together.

Baste the Strap, sewing as close to the edge as possible.

Look, the bag is coming along beautifully together!

We’re on a home stretch now!  You are now ready to put it all together in the fifth and final installment of the tutorial, “Tween-y Bag” Tutorial Part 5:  Putting it all Together See you there! 🙂

If you want to jump to other tutorial posts, here are the links:

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 3: Making the Lining
Part 5: Putting it all Together

“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 3: Making the Lining

Welcome to “Tween-y Bag” Tutorial Part 3: Making the Lining! biggrin Now that you’ve completed the Front Panel of the bag, you’re ready to move on to making the Lining. As always, please read the introductory post, “Getting Started,” to find out important information before proceeding.

Here is the material list for the Lining:

• Two 14 inches x 12 pieces
• One 6 inches x 5 inches piece (for pocket)
• One label, optional

For the Lining, let’s begin by cutting two identical pieces – 12 inches by 14 inches. I selected the same Kona Cotton Spruce, the dark green fabric that I used for the part of the Front Panel. This bag is really a reversal bag, so if you want to take the time to repeat the same process for the Front Panel, you certainly can. I personally love the darker liner, so I’m going to go with this lovely dark Starbucks-esque green fabric.

You will sew on a pocket on to the Lining 1, but first, let’s make the actual pocket by cutting out a fabric that measure 6 inches x 5 inches.  If you have a personalized tag or label, this is the time for you to sew it on the pocket.  I purchased a personalized woven clothing labels from a place called Namemaker that specializes in personalized tags, ribbons, etc.  They are great.  If you sew frequently or enjoy making handmade gifts, I recommend that you invest in your own label.  It just makes everything you make that much more special.

Simply place the tag on the pocket and sew around it.

Next, sew the top edge of the pocket.  What I did here is I folded a small piece, about ¼ inch and folded the piece again before I sew the crease together.  This way, you don’t have little loose threads sticking out from the top of the pocket.  It’s worth it to take the extra step to do this as the end result looks will look much more professional.

After that, simply pin all sides down to secure the pocket to Lining 1, and sew around it.

Now, put two Lining panels together, with right sides facing each other. At this point, the side with a pocket should be hidden.

Pin three sides (the top will remain open) and sew them together.  The seam allowance is ½ inch.

Make sure to leave a little opening at the very bottom.  You’ll need this opening when you “flip” the bag inside out. If that makes no sense, don’t worry. It’ll all come together a little later. lol

Also, clip the bottom corners. This will make the corners look sharp when you turn the Lining over.

Iron the seams open on all three sides. . Turn over the panel, and iron again, making sure to iron the open sides carefully. Guess what? You’re all done with the Lining! YAY!

Great job! You just completed the Lining! Now, you’re ready to proceed to Part 4 of the tutorial, Making Bag Strap and Drawstrings! Yipee! 🙂

If you want to jump to other tutorial posts, here are the links:

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings
Part 5: Putting it all Together

“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 1: Getting Started

I think I was most awkward during my “tween” years. Tween is an age between 9-12 when you’re not quite a teenager yet but you’re not a little kid anymore. I was too old for The Smurfs and Care Bears but a little too young for boys and those stone-washed Guess jeans that my older sister and her friends were fashionably sporting. I really hated that there was really nothing cute in the mall for girls in this in-between stage when I was growing up in the mid-80s.

When I was thinking about my next sewing project, I thought about those tween girls out there and started thinking about the kind of bag that they would enjoying carry around (or what I would have loved to have at that age) that allows them to celebrate their youth in style. Then, I came up with this pattern … and the “Tween-y Bag” was born.

I first posted about these versatile bags last week, and I loved the pattern that I came up with that I wanted to share it with you.  So, who wants to make a simple, drawstring bag that your tween daughter (or a granddaughter, or a cousin, or a friend’s daughter, etc.) would love to carry around as she plays outside in the summertime? Or wants to sew a simple project that you can finish in one weekend afternoon?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, this tutorial for the Tween-y Bag is for you!  And the great thing about this bag is that, depending on the fabric designs you select, you can make it appropriate for any age (in fact, I use one myself and I’m thirty-@#%%^$@#)!

How This Tutorial Works:


I’ve decided to divide the tutorial into five parts: 1. Getting Started (this post); 2. Making the Front Panel; 3, Making the Lining; 4. Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings; and 5. Putting Everything Together.

Difficulty Level:

I would classify this project as “Intermediate Beginner” (which is how I would characterize my own sewing skills). If you have basic skills, like cutting fabric, operate a sewing machine, and understand the basic sewing terminologies, you’ll have no problem with it.

A Thing to Note:

Please note that I’m completely self-taught and am still pretty novice at sewing. You might see some instruction that may be incorrect. This is how I made the bag so please use other (and perhaps better) techniques to make your version of the bag work better (and please share the knowledge with me)! 🙂

Okay, let’s get started.

Materials: These are the materials that you will need for the bag.

Basic Tools:
• Two fabrics (more information to follow)
• Sewing machine (I only use one stitch so the cheaper machine works perfectly … my machine was about $50 at Target)
• Threads
• Iron and ironing board
• Rotary cutter and rotary mat
• Erasable fabric pen / marker
• Fabric scissors
• Pins and pin cushion
• Large ruler (mine is called Omnigrip)
I selected the Liberty of London fabric called Plum Mirabelle 6011C from the Tana Lawn Classics; and Kona Cotton Spruce. Both fabrics are wonderful and very easy to work with. And the Plum Mirabelle feels like pure silk!

For the Front Panel:
• Two 12 inches x 10 inches pieces (the Liberty of London fabric)
• One 12 inches x 9 inches piece (the Kona fabric)
• One 12 inches x 27 inches piece cotton batting

Lining:
• Two 14 inches x 12 pieces
• One 6 inches x 5 inches piece (for pocket)
• One label, optional (I had mine made at Name Maker … they are great)

Adjustable Strap:
• One 50 inches x 5 inches piece
• One Slider and Rectangle Ring set (I purchased mine from Jennalou06 on Etsy.)

Drawstrings:
• Two 29 inches x 2 inches pieces
• Two 10 inches x 3 inches pieces (for Drawstring Slots)

Next up is Part 2 of the “Tweeny-y Bag” Tutorial: Making the Front Panel!

If you want to jump to other tutorial posts, here are the links:

Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 3: Making the Lining
Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings
Part 5: Putting it all Together

Liberty of London Drawsting Bag

A couple weeks ago, I did something that I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the courage to. I finally canceled my cable service!  YAY! 😛 Not only did I get rid of the premier channels that I once had, I canceled even my basic service.  This means that I’m now living a completely TV-free life, and I can’t be happier.  (Just a disclaimer here:  I still do watch television shows sometimes but only online.  In fact, I just spent the last few hours catching myself up on my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance!)

Now that I don’t have TV on all the time, my days are much longer and I’ve been more productive.  I’ve read more books in the last week than I did all last month, and I’m back to doing some crafty things.  I seriously cannot be happier with the decision.

I spent last Saturday afternoon sewing up a handmade gift for my colleague friend who just celebrated her birthday last week (while listening to The Splendid Table and A Prairie House Companion on the radio … I look forward to these shows every weekend).  She and I are obsessed about the Royal Couple and even after more than a month since the wedding of the century, we still talk about how gorgeous Princess Catherine looked and how Prince Harry is actually pretty hot.  Since we both adore things British, I decided to use my favorite Liberty of London fabric Betsy D Tania Lawn that I hauled from London when I was there last November for the bag.

I created a drawstring bag with an adjustable strap. This is my own design.  I’ve always loved drawstring bags for the simplicity and ease of use (no need to look for buttons or zippers) so I’m really happy with how it turned out.  This was the first time that I made an adjustable strap.  I used the slider and rectangle ring set that I had purchased from an Etsy shop Jennalou06 about a year ago and relied on this online tutorial to figure out how everything worked!  I’m glad I took the time to make the adjustable strap since it gives a different look and feel, depending on how you wear the strap.  The bag even doubles as a small shoulder bag!

I actually made the pink version of the bag first but decided to make another one because this one with Mirabelle E fabric looked a little “tweeny.”  I’m thinking about making a line of bags dedicated to younger tweens or teenage girls.  This would have been something that I wish I had when I was 10.

This bag is actually very easy to make. I’m thinking about creating a picture tutorial on how to make this bag in the near future so stay tuned!