Monday, February 27, 2012

Skillz: Bag Construction (Part 1)

Admittedly, I've been terrible about following through on my first goal of the new year:  to "blog more regularly."  On the other hand, I've managed to challenge myself by learning a new skill (which is goal number four!).  More than one new skill, really. I both furthered my pattern making skills and learned a whole lot about bag construction (including the effects of different types of interfacing, how to sew in a neat and tidy zipper [stay tuned for installment part 2], and more).  My first project was to create a pattern for (and then construct) a messenger bag for a child.

The idea came from a sketch I drew over a year ago, and then found while looking back through my sketchbook.  I started by looking at all the messenger bags in our house, as well as at patterns of bags in my ever-growing sewing book collection (I clearly have an addiction!).  Then I made two muslins:  one with only a front and back panel and a gusseted bottom; the other with a separate bottom/side panel to connect the front and back.  I much preferred the second construction.  I also used the same muslin technique to try out different ways of constructing a pocket that would best hold a water bottle (see the final result below).

Next, I researched different types of interfacings (or stabilizer) and then tested several types on fabric scraps before settling on a woven interfacing for the main denim fabric of the bag and a light-weight non-woven for the cotton lining.  Before this project, standing in front of the bolts of interfacings at a fabric store made my head spin, and I certainly had no idea there was such a thing as woven interfacing.  Now, it's still a bit overwhelming, but not quite as much of a mystery.

So, as you may by now have gathered, the bag features a large appliqued letter which just happens (hee-hee) to be the first initial of my son's name.  Here he is showing off his new bag!  Coming later this week:  more bags, this time with zippers!


  1. Thanks, Anna. Thinking about selling custom versions of these in my shop. Not sure...

  2. Love the bag, and that's a super-cute pic of Mr. H!

    If you decide to sell the bags in your shop, I bet a lot of adults would want them for themselves too.

  3. Thanks, Julie. Maybe once the kids are both in elementary school this fall, I'll have time to manufacture these. In the meantime, I'm focusing on some more simply constructed bags. See my next post!