I took a class today at a new sewing shop in Old Town Alexandria. I took pictures along the way to help me remember for next time! Now that I’ve done this once, I think I’ll go rogue next time- maybe add a pocket, a zipper pull… the sky’s the limit!
What you need:
- Exterior Fabric
- Interior Fabric
- Thin Interfacing
- Fusible Fleece (the thicker the fleece, the more stiff the bag- be careful if you want this to be a fold over clutch)
- Zipper (note: I’ll use a shiny gold zipper in the future, my colored zipper looked cheap)
For a final product ~12x wide by ~11 inches tall, 1/2 yard of all the fabric/interfacing/fleece is all you’ll need.
Here’s what to do:
- Wash and dry the fabric on hot to ensure no shrinkage later.
- Iron fabric
- Cut fabric and interfacing to size. You’ll need two of everything (2 exterior goes with 2 fusible fleece; 2 interior goes with 2 interfacing)
- With remaining, cut 2x strips which will eventually extend the zipper length. You can use these to make a nice edge- without this, the zipper will go to the end of the bag and it may look a little less sophisticated). For a 12×11 with a 9 inch zipper, these strips should be 1.5″x6″ each
- Iron fusible fleece to exterior fabric (tacky/sticky side to wrong size of fabric- be sure to iron the fabric side, not the fleece side!)
- Iron interfacing to the interior fabric in the same manner
- If you are extending the zipper with strips, pin right side to right side (left pic below), sew a straight line as close to the last bit of metal on the zipper as possible (middle pic), and repeat on the other size of the zipper with the other strip. Be careful of zipper pull placement so as not to ruin your needle! Then trim the tails of the zipper (both ends) leaving about 1/4″ tail. Finally, carefully trim the extra fabric off the widths- don’t make it too skinny!
- Next, put a strip of wonder tape at the very edge of the zipper/fabric as below:
- Carefully adhere the zipper to one of the exterior pieces and sew with a zipper foot to attach the two. Make sure to pause part way through to move your zipper pull out of the way, and ensure that the zipper is fully functional before moving on to the next step. If not functional, seam rip and fix.
- Repeat on the other side of the zipper. When finished, you should have both exterior pieces with a zipper in the center.
- Now it’s time to do virtually the same thing with the interior pieces. Be careful if you have directional fabric (e.g. like mine above, where the kids need to be facing up!) to ensure that you are attaching appropriately. Use wonder tape to make this process easier. In the photo below, I’m aligning the red interior piece with the two blue exterior pieces sewed together facing each other.
- Arrange the pieces with the exterior fabric up and sew a straight line about a 1/4 inch away from the zipper all the way across. The purpose is two-fold. One, it looks nice (esp. if it’s a fun coordinating color!). Two, and importantly, it ensures the interior fabric will not get caught in the zipper later!
- Arrange your odd looking product with the two exterior pieces facing each other, and the two interior facing each other. Critical: ensure the zipper is ALL THE WAY OPEN before you do this.
- Pin carefully, ensuring that the area around the zipper is pinned down the same way on the top and bottom (e.g. seam allowance facing the same way).
- Sew around everything except for a 4″ piece at the bottom middle of the interior portion.
- Trim the corners and any extraneous on the sides.
- Iron the remaining unsewn portion in a manner to help you sew it shut once you …
- Turn right side out.
- Sew interior closed. You can sew by hand or by machine.
- Use boning or similar tool to push out all the corners.
At this point, you can add a zipper pull!