Make a New Bag!

Malcolm and I made this bag a few years ago but its a great, simple, easy-to-sew bag. Enjoy!

Malcolm was invited to a very good friend’s birthday party. Instead of buying a plastic toy Malcolm and I decided that we wanted to make something for Nolan. After a bit of discussion and thought we settled on a tote bag. These boys like to carry toys to each others houses so it could be well used. I went through my stash and found Star Wars fabric that would be perfect! Here is how to make your own. (I call myself a “seat of the pants” sewer since sometimes I design as I go. That led to doing things out of order on this bag. We should have done the pocket first so plan accordingly.)

Begin with 2 rectangles approximately 12.5″ x 14″. I cut these out of denim for strength. It is for a very active 8 year old boy and I wanted a strong fabric. The measurements are my own. If you want a bigger or smaller bag then simply make adjustments to the rectangles. Put right sides together and stitch around three sides of the fabric like a pillow case.

The next step is to make the box corners. This is hard to explain in words. Open the corner so that it is not laying flat. Match the seams from the side and the bottom so that there is a triangle created. Stitch across the corner then trim the excess fabric off the corners. Press your seams open.

Do the same thing for the lining fabric. Same measurements and steps apply.

Yes, Malcolm really did stitch this bag. I was a guide and helped him keep things straight but except for topstitching, he sewed the whole thing. I was so proud of him for sticking with it!

Here are the corners for the lining.

Now the pocket that should have been the first step (!). Stitch an accent fabric to a solid fabric, rights sides together, but leave a small opening to turn inside out. Press flat.

This is one of the places that I stitched for Malcolm. Topstitch the pocket to the bag. You can hand-stitch this too. Placement is completely up to you.

Straps are next. I use woven straps for most of my bags because of their strength. These straps were about 26 inches long and I think were a bit too long but I wanted plenty of room for Nolan to fill it and put it on his shoulder. I pinned them in place on the outside of the bag about 3 inches from the side seam. You can baste them in place if you want to but I just pinned them.

Slip the outside bag into the inside bag, right sides together, and pin the tops of the bags together matching side seams. It is very important that these are pinned flat so that you don;t get puckering around the top edge.

Stitch all the way around leaving an opening large enough to turn the bags inside out. About 3-4 inches wide. Turn the bags inside out.

Push the lining down inside the outer bag and press the top seam flat making sure that you get the open edge even. Topstitch around the whole top edge and your bag is complete. This bag is actually a reversible bag so be creative with your choice of lining too. Have fun making your own!

And now for Malcolm’s finished product… Taa Daa!! We filled the bag with homemade (vegan) chocolate chip cookies and Malcolm made a card to go in the pocket. He was very proud of his finished product.

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