Sewing Tools You Need
Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC5100)
Janome Clear View Quilting Foot (optional)
Walking Foot (optional)
Fabric and Other Supplies
½ yard of 44-45″ or wider fabric for the the bag exterior; we used Rhino Canvas in Silver from Fabric.com, which is 60″ wide
½ yard of 44-45″ or wider fabric for the the bag interior; we used Moorish in Ash form the Impressions Collection by Ty Pennington for Free Spirit Fabrics
All purpose thread in colors to match exterior fabric: we used Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP in #450 Nu Grey
2½ yards of 1″ natural cotton webbing
Two 1″ plastic D-rings
Two 1″ plastic swivel hook clips
One magnetic clasp; we used a Dritz 3/4″ Round Snap in Nickel
Iron and ironing board
Rotary cutter and mat
From the fabric for the bag exterior (Rhino Canvas in Silver in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 26″ wide x 11″ high rectangle
TWO 8″ x 8″ squares
One 19″ x 2½” strip
From the fabric for the bag interior (Moorish fleece in our sample), cut ONE 23″ wide x 11″ high rectangle
Cut the webbing into TWO 14″ lengths and ONE 53″ length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Exterior pockets and straps
Find your 8″ x 8″ squares. Hem the top and bottom (it’s a square, so unless you are using a directional print, simply hem two opposite sides), using a ¼” double turn hem. To do this, fold under and press ¼”, then fold under another ¼” and press again. If using a canvas, use a pressing cloth.
NOTE: If you selected the Rhino Canvas as we did, you’ll find it easy to fold and finger press. I did this first, and then used my iron, on a low heat, and a pressing cloth to set the hems.
Set your machine to a longer stitch length, I used 3.5, and stitch close to the fold on both hems on both pockets. Press.
Fold your main 26″ x 11″ exterior panel in half (13″ x 11″) and finger press a middle crease.
Unfold and lay right side up on your work surface so you can clearly see the crease.
We will do the front side of the bag first. Place one of the hemmed pockets so the bottom hemmed edge is 1½” from the middle crease and the left raw edge of the pocket is aligned with the top raw edge of the exterior panel. Lightly pin in place.
Find one of the 14″ lengths of cotton webbing. Fold under 1″ on end and press. Fold the other end under ½”, loop it through one of the D-rings, then fold it back on itself 2″. Pin in place to secure the D-ring.
Make sure you fold back both ends to the same side of the webbing.
Make sure you fold back both ends to the same side of the webbing.
Slip the strap over the right side of the pocket so the bottom end wraps under the hem. The raw edge of the pocket should be centered under the strap. Pin in place.
Take the extra time to make sure the strap is straight and parallel with both raw edges of the panel.
NOTE: You could also use a seam adhesive tape, like a Steam-A-Seam or similar, or even a little fabric glue to hold the strap in place if you struggle with the pins .
Secure the bottom of the pocket by stitching one seam directly on top of the existing hem line. Stitch from the raw edge all the way across the pocket, including across the strap.
Stitch a second seam 1/8″ below the first seam. I used my Janome Clear View Quilting Foot, which has really handy and clear markings for narrow seams.
To secure the strap, reposition the piece under your foot and stitch two vertical seams, each 1/8″ from the strap’s edge. Finally stitch a reinforcing box with an X to secure the folded back top of the strap. I stitched up one side, got as close as possible to the D-ring, pivoted, stitched across, pivoted again, and stitched down the opposite side. I then went back to complete the bottom of my box and the X.
Draw two vertical lines for the pocket divisions. You can place these wherever you’d like based on the items you want to carry in your pockets. I wanted at least one pocket to be large enough for an iPhone, one tiny one for a pen, and one for business cards. I made my lines 2″ in from the raw edge and 2″ in from the inside edge of the strap
Stitch one seam from the bottom hem to the top hem along each drawn line. If possible use a lock stitch rather than back-tacking or leave your thread tails long and tie a hand knot.
Stitch a second parallel seam 1/8″ from first, each one towards the inside of the pocket. In other words, to the right of the leftmost seam and to the left of the rightmost seam (how’s that description for mind boggling?!). Here’s a picture… maybe that will help. We added our Sew4Home label next to the strap.
Now do all those same steps but on the back and lining up the pocket along the opposite edge so the strap will cross over the body.
Fleece lining and French seams
Flip over the finished exterior panel so it is facing wrong side up on your work surface.
Center the 23″ x 11″ fleece panel on top of it, so the fleece is facing right side up (the wrong sides of both fabrics are together).
Fold the bag in half WRONG sides together and pin along both sides. Be sure all the raw edges are aligned and the front and back are flat and smooth as they lay against one another.
Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both side seams. You are stitching through four substantial layers that could have a tendency to slip and slide against one another. I used my Janome Walking Foot with its dual feed action to keep everything in line.
Trim the seam allowance to approximately 1/8″.
Turn the bag inside out, pushing out the corners and rolling your side seams flat.
Again using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides, encasing your first seam in this new seam.
Turn the bag right side out again, and you now have a finished French seam inside.
Find the 2½” x 19″ strip. Bring the two ends right sides together and stitch a short ½” seam.
Fold up one raw edge all the way around ½” and press.
Slip the facing loop over the top raw edge of the bag so the two pieces are right sides together and the raw edge of the facing is aligned with the top raw edge of the bag. Line up the facing’s seam with one of the bag’s side seam. Pin in place.
Stitch the facing to the bag, using a ½” seam allowance. If you have a free arm on your machine, now is the time to use it.
Open the facing and insert the magnetic clasp, following the manufacturer’s directions (it’s really easy… you just poke the prongs through the fabric, slide the locking disk in place and bend the prongs over it). Center the clasp side to side and top to bottom between the facing’s seam and hem. Make sure you insert the clasp from front to back.
Insert one side of the clasp, then attach the other half to best mark its position on the opposite side. Poke the prongs through the fabric. If they won’t poke through, just poke them against the fabric, then make tiny snips with your scissors where you see the prongs trying to come through to help things along. Slide your fingernail or the end of a seam ripper in between the magnets to release the bond, and secure the opposite clasp in place.
Fold the facing back into place against the inside of the bag. Your clasps should be facing out.
Whip stitch the facing in place.
Using a zipper foot in order to stay close to the top seam and avoid the clasps, top stitch all around approximately ¼” from the top seam. You’ll have to futz with the exact distance in order to be able to sew past the clasps.
Find your remaining 53″ length of webbing. This length gives you a 4′ finished strap, which was a good length for our 6′ 3″ model. Adjust the length accordingly to fit someone shorter or taller.
Fold each end under ½”, loop each end through one of the swivel hooks, then fold it back on itself 2″. Pin in place to secure. Make sure you fold back both ends to the same side of the webbing.
Using the Zipper foot again, which will allow you to both stitch close to the edge of the webbing and get as close as possible to the swivel hook, stitch along both sides of the entire strap and make a box with a X at each end to secure the fold-back. Similar to what you did with the straps you stitched directly to the bag.
Clip the strap to the bag.
The bag can also be used without the strap