Ah, the allure of a custom-made bag! The right bag not only carries our essentials but also flaunts our style and personality. But store-bought options sometimes fall short, either in design, function, or both.
Have you ever envisioned crafting your own perfect tote, with the ideal dimensions for your needs and a design that’s unmistakably you? If you have, you’re in the right place.
In this guide, we’ll unravel the steps to create a bag with structured sides and a sturdy bottom. Whether you’re a sewing novice or a seasoned pro looking for a refreshing project, grab your materials and let’s embark on this stitching journey together!
7 Easy Steps to Sew a Bag with Sides and Bottom
Making a bag with sides and bottom can be carried out by hand or sewing machine. Firstly, you need to choose the fabric and then cut it to size. Furthermore, you attach the face to the side of the bag and stitch the lining. Then sew the straps and the lining to the bottom.
For this sewing project, you need a sewing machine, a matching polyester thread, a lining material, a pair of scissors, a pen, and your fabric for sewing.
Let’s get started
Step 1: Choose your fabric
Select the material of your choice. Bag making is not fabric-specific; most fabrics can be used in making bags. However, light fabrics need to be doubled to ensure firmness. If you have thick materials (like canvas, denim, or corduroy), a single sheet is firm enough to be used.
The ideal texture is a medium-thin fabric (like sateen, taffeta, and velvet). These materials are strong enough to be embroidered and light enough to be sewn quickly. Embroidery gives your bag a sharper look.
Step 2: Cut your fabric
The question is, what size do you want your bag to be. Smaller materials would yield a smaller shopping bag and vice versa.
Fabric tends to reduce in size when you wash them, so before you use your material, it is advisable to wash your fabric. Take your measurement and use these figures to cut your fabric to shape.
This is to ensure that it doesn’t shrink the first time you wash the bag. You are going to cut the fabric intended for the faces, sides, and straps.
It is usually a rectangular sheet for the face, two smaller rectangular sheets for the sides, and two pieces of webbings for the straps. Cut out the lining materials equal to the sides of the fabric.
Fold the sheets in half and use your pen to mark the center of your fabric.
Step 3: Sew the faces to the sides
Before you begin to stitch, be sure to leave space for the seam allowance. Seam allowance is the area between the fabric edge and the stitching line on two sewn pieces. A seam allowance of 3/8″ is recommended when sewing your face and sides together.
Attach one of the faces to one side.. Ensure that the center markings on both fabric lines up to each other. Then, you can begin to sew, use a backstitch at the beginning to make your stitches firm.
If you do not backstitch at the beginning of a seam, and in the end, there is a high chance that your hem would fall apart. But be careful not to backstitch too much, it can become messy and unprofessional.
Sew the two fabrics together, pivot it at the bottom corner, and sew across the bottom, make a bend and sew up to the top of the bag. Repeat on the other sides of the bag.
Step 4: Sew the lining together
Repeat the same process for the lining material, but using 1/2″ seam allowance. A lining is an inner layer of fabric, fur, or other materials inserted into clothes and bags to provide a neat inside finish. It is used to hide interfacing, padding, the raw edges of seams, and other construction details. It is common practice to use materials like silk, acetate, rayon, or acetate.
Step 5: Sew the straps
Turn the right side material (for the strap) towards each other and sew it together to make a tube. The next step is to turn the tube inside out, so the right side of the material is revealed.
To do this, you would need something slender and sturdy that can be put inside the tube. Push and pull till you get the tube right side out.
It is time to attach the straps to the face of the fabric. Measure 3″ from the seam line of the material. Place the strap there and leave an inch of the webbing extending above the top of the bag.
Sew across the webbing on the fabric at a distance of 1/4″ from the material’s edge. Doing this helps you to hold down the strap, thus keeping it secure. You may want to backstitch to make your stitches tight. Do this for the opposite side too.
Step 6: Sew the lining to the fabric
Turn the outer bag to the opposite side and the lining material to the right side. Place the lining material inside the bag and pin it across the edges. Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew the outer bag and lining fabric together. Leave a 5″ opening on one side.
Afterward, finish the top seam around the bag. Don’t sew the opening because the opening would turn the bag’s right side inside out.
Set the lining into the bag and press the top seam, folding the seam allowances of the opening inside, even with the sewn edge. Apply top-stitches around the top of the bag 1/8″ from the seam, closing the gap, and again 5/8″ from the seam.
If you fancy a bag with a flat bottom. Take a bottom corner and measure 1.5 inches or more. Use your pen to make a line at that point. Then stitch along at line at the corner
Also, take the other end and do the same. The resulting outcome would be a flat bottomed bag.
Tips for Sewing a Bag with Sides and Bottom
There is a wrong misconception that bag making isn’t easy and requires a great deal of training and skill. Don’t get carried away by the sophisticated look of the multiple stitched layers and beautiful hardware. It is easy to learn.
Just follow the steps I have shared in this article. Even if you have no experience with the kind of sewing, I can assure you that after a careful reading of this article, you would have a clear idea of how to sew bags.
You can sew several designs, such as handbags, hobo bags, tote bags, pouches, and bean bags, to mention a few.
That is all the knowledge you need to know how to make a bag with sides and bottom. The exciting part about this project is that it can be addicting. Once you have perfected making bags, you would probably want to make one in every fabric and design.