I realised something the other day, I have become a very lazy sewer. I studied (for longer than I care to admit to :-)) the art of sewing after I left school. I can draft patterns from scratch, grade them and make any alterations with ease. I know all the tricks for working with difficult fabric and how to get the best result. So when do you think the last time I made a pattern for something was? Truthfully, I can’t really remember.
A couple of nights ago, I was trawling through Pinterest and saw this great picture of a vintage hippy bag from the 70’s. I absolutely fell in love with the shape of the bag, so spent the next 2 hours trawling the web to try and find a pattern that was similar. And that’s when it hit me ‘why have I just wasted 2 hours searching for a pattern that I could have made myself in 30 minutes?’ The answer is simple, laziness. It’s quite a hard thing to admit to, but as they say, the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging that there is one in the first place. Next morning I got straight to work and not only did I finish the bag pattern, but the bag itself as well, all in less than 3 hours. I was so happy with the result I thought I would share it with you all (and yes, that includes the pattern!).
Tri Leather Bag
1 x piece of Leather of Vinyl that measures 45cm x 70cm
(Optional: A piece of Iron on Interfacing the same size if your leather/vinyl stretches. Fused to the back before cutting out)
20cm Lining fabric
2 x Small D Rings
2 x Small Swivel Hooks (to match D ring size)
1 x Small Magnetic Clasp
1 x Bernina Teflon Foot (either foot number 52, 53 or 56)
Download and print the Tri Leather Bag pattern (see below). Cut out your leather/vinyl and lining as per the instructions on the sheet, ensuring that you transfer the markings. For the strap, cut 4 strips of you leather/vinyl 70cm long and approximately 2cm wide (the width needs to be wider than your D rings and allow you some extra to trim off to neaten. You may need to change the width depending on the size D rings you have ).
Place the BERNINA Teflon Foot on your machine. Join the short ends of your strap pieces so you are left with two long straps with a join in the centre. Place the two straps wrong sides together. To help keep the two layers in place, use small strips of double sided tape in between the layers.
Topstitch down both sides of the strap, keeping around 5mm away from the edge. If your cutting or sewing wasn’t that straight and the edges look a little dodgy, trim them back with scissors. You can leave the handles like that if you wish, or you can add a decorative stitch over the edge. I selected a nice simple stitch, reduced the width and moved the needle position over to the right. This way it was nice and easy to catch the edge evenly. Put the handles aside.
Take your main bag piece and embellish it how you like. I used decorative stitches, but I think free-motion would work just as well. You just need to make sure you do at least a row of straight stitching along the 4 lines that will be the sides of the bag. This will help the bag keep its shape.
Stitch the base to the bottom front of the bag (1cm seam allowance), ensuring that it’s lined up with the notches, and you leave 1cm either side. Stitch the two sides in the same way.
Stitch up the centre back seam using a 1cm seam allowance. Then stitch the last side of the base. This will be a little tricky, so just take in slowly. Turn the bag through and push out the corners.
Take your two flap panels and decide which way you would like the flap the go (it is asymmetrical so the choice is yours). Take the piece that will be the inside of the flap and attach one side of the magnetic clasp to the bottom corner. Just make sure you leave enough space so you can stitch around it.
Place the two wrong sides of the flap together and use some double-sided tape to help hold them in place. Topstitch around the edges, with decorative stitch if you wish. Attach the flap to the back of bag using a 1cm seam allowance, making sure you line the notch up with centre back seam. Have the flap sitting how you would like it, and mark the position of the magnetic clasp on the right side of the bag. Attach the other side of the clasp to the bag.
Cut 6cm off either side of your strap. Place the small strip into the D ring, fold in half and stitch down. Get your long strap and attach the swivel hooks to either end.
Place the D ring straps onto the right side of the bag, lining them up with the notches. Make sure the D rings point down. Stitch the D rings down. Stitch the centre back seam of the lining together leaving a 10cm gap. Stitch the bottom of the lining together (I have cheated here, rather than putting the square bottom in, I just stitch up the bottom. Nobody will ever know!). Turn the lining inside out. Place the bag inside the lining. Stitch around the top opening. You can’t really use pins to keep it in place, but the clips I used work just great.
Turn the bag through the gap in the centre back of the lining. Topstitch the gap closed. Tuck the lining into the bag and topstitch the opening to hold it all in place. Clip the straps to the D rings and you are all done!
You can download and print the bag on A3 from here: Tri Bag Pattern
I’d love to see photos of your finished bags. Please share them at: