Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Bow Bag: A Tutorial.

Because of a promise I declared on MOM back on October 27, 2010 here I am today, on January 4th, 2011 giving you my first ever tutorial on how to make yourself a darn cute striped bow bag.

The first time I attempted this bag, I made it out of yellow and made it as a gift.    It was one of the hardest gifts I ever had to give away, because I really wanted to keep it.  Shortly after I made that first one, the holiday season was upon us, and there was no time for bow bag frivolities!  Now that we are onto a new year (and thanks to a sweet MOM reader who sent me a whole new stash of Ikea striped fabric over the Christmas break!  Thanks Flori!!), I was at liberty to make for myself a new bow bag.  And since I declared I would show you how I did it, the next time I did it, here we go:

*Please be forgiving, this is the first time I've attempted a tutorial.  Also, please forgive the lighting in these pictures.  I know it isn't ideal, but we MOMs tend to get the most sewing done late at night, when it's dark.  I'm sure you can relate.

  •   CUT OUT YOUR PIECES.  Here is a list of the pieces you'll need and their dimensions:

2 Main body piece cut out of the exterior fabric (in this case the striped):  14 inches wide by 15 inches long

2 Strap pieces cut out of the exterior fabric:  5" wide by 26" long

1 Anchor strap piece out of the exterior fabric:  16" wide by 9"long

1 Bow piece out of the exterior fabric:  10" wide by 11" long

1 Center knot piece:  5" by 5"

2 Main body pieces cut out of the lining fabric:  14" wide by 15" long

1 Pocket piece cut out of any fabric you like:  7.5" wide by 5" long


  • Once I have my pieces cut out, I like to construct the bow first.  Take your anchor strap piece and fold it in half lengthwise.  Iron a crease down the fold.  Sew along the long straight raw edge.  
  • After you sew your seam, iron it open.  I like to do this, because eventually this strap gets turned right side out, and then you push the seam to the middle on the underside.  If you iron the seam open, it helps it to lay flat.  Make sense?!  Like so:

  • Next turn it right side out, push the seam to the middle of the bag, and iron it all nice and flat.
  • Next you sew the bow piece.  Fold the piece in half, right sides together so that the dimensions are 10"wide by 5.5"tall.  Again, press a crease with your iron.  You will sew down the two short sides and the one long side.  But be sure to leave an opening for turning it right side out later.    


  • Before turning it right side out, clip the corners so that you can get nice crisp points on the outside.

  • Flip the bow ride side out.  Push out your tips with a pencil or other utensil, and then press it, lining up your opening so that you can close it when you top stitch around it.   

  • The next step is to top stitch around all four edges, making sure to close the opening you used for turning it right side out.  



 Here you see how things will eventually be laid out.  You have a main body piece, then your anchor strap (with the seam on the underside), and the bow piece laying on top.  Now you need to make your little bow knot to hold it all together.

  • The bow knot is made in the same fashion as the anchor strap.  Fold it in half right sides together.  Sew down the side with the raw edges.  Press the seam open, just like you did with the anchor strap. 

  • The seam will be turned to the back like so:


  • Finally, fold it in half, right sides together (the sides without the seam), and sew with a 1/2 seam allowance.  I serged my final seam just to reinforce it, but that is not necessary.  I didn't do it the firs time I made the bag.   But if you don't serge it, perhaps you should go over your seam at least twice.  You are going to be shoving the anchor strap and the bow right through that tiny little loop.  Things get tight, so make sure you have a good strong seam on this little loop.  Once you have reinforced your seam, flip this piece right-side out.  

 Okay, now things start to get exciting because you are only about three steps away from seeing your bow for the first time...

  • Start shoving everything through the loop!
1.


2.
 

3.


4.
Voila!  Are you excited yet?!



And just so you know, now that you know how to make this cute little bow, the sky is the limit! 

Okay, back to the bag...
  • Place your bow where you like it on your bag, and pin it in place.
  •  Stitch it in place.
  •  Cut off your overhang with pinking sheers.  It will make it easier when you sew your bag together and want to line up your seams. 

  • Before moving on to the straps, I like to secure that anchor strap to the body of the bag.  This Ikea fabric is a home decore weight fabric, so the bow can get heavy.  Without a little hidden stitch, I worry that the bow would flop around.

  • Do a little securing stitch on both sides of the knot, like so: 

  • Time to make your straps. Fold the strap in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press on the fold. 
  •  Unfold it, and fold both raw edges into the creased center, and press.
  •  Fold it in half again, this time enveloping all your raw edges into the center.  And give the strap a good final press before taking it over to the machine. 
  •  Top stitch down both long sides.  No need to finish off the ends, they get sewn into the center of the bag in-between the exterior fabric and the lining fabric. 

Moving right along...next I like to make my lining piece.  First decide if you want a pocket.  I basically believe the answer should be yes.  Any little thing to help yourself not lose your cellphone!

  • Make and attach your pocket piece to one of the lining pieces.  To make my pocket, I simply serged around the edges.  I folded three sides under, and sewed around those three edges to attach it to the lining.  I decided I liked the look of the top serged edge, so I left it. 

  • After you've attached your pocket, lay your two body piece together, right sides together.
  • On this bag, I like the boxed corners on the bottom of the bag.  So here is how you go about making those boxed corner:
  • First press your seams open.  Then open out a corner like so:
  • Then lay it flat on your rotary cutting board.
  • With your ruler lined up on the very tip of the corner, measure down, however big you want you corner to be.  In this case, I measured down from the tip by 1.5 inches:
  • Trace your sewing line and pin.  Take it to your machine and sew across that line, being sure to back-stitch at the start and end of your line. 
  • Trim off the corner.  Repeat with the other corner.  Making sure to do the same measurement to keep the bag even. 


  • Now repeat all of the above steps with your exterior bag pieces:


  •  After you've attached your straps, you need to line your bags up one inside of the other.  Keeping in mind you need right sides together, put your exterior bag with right side out, INSIDE of your interior bag, right side in.  Like so:
  •  Line up your side seams, pin, and then sew around the top being careful as you go over and reinforce each handle strap.  I usually sew this seam at 1/2" down from the top of the bag.  
  •  Don't forget to leave an opening about two inch wide between one of the sets of handle straps in order to flip the whole bag right side out at the end.  



  • Once you've flipped your bag right-side out, push your lining back inside of the bag.  Just take your time, and iron it all nice and flat, tucking in your two-inch opening as you iron, lining it up even with the rest of the top.  


  • The final step after you iron all around the top of the bag, is to go back and top-stitch it closed.  I like to top-stitch along the right side of the exterior bag, about a 1/4" inch down from the edge. 

That's the end!  At this point you should be in possession of your very own Bow Bag!!  Enjoy.  Should you have any questions, or need any further clarification please ask, and I'll do my best to answer.  

    14 comments:

    Valerie said...

    I'm linking to you on my blog! This is very cute. I don't think I have the sewing skills for it, but you never know.....maybe I'll get brave and try it!

    NicoleD said...

    I was hoping you wouldn't forget to post a tutorial to this! It is so stinking cute and will make really cute birthday presents for all my sisters this year! Thanks for taking the time to create the tutorial...I know how time consuming they can be!

    Cher said...

    I NEED this bag:)

    Liz said...

    If I didn't feel like I was going to fall asleep standing up, I'd be making this bag TONIGHT!! I even bought the yellow Ikea fabric because I loved the first one you made so much.

    Thank you so much, Sew Sister, for making this tutorial!!!!

    A Bow Bag is coming my way very soon!

    Rachel F. said...

    Wow, this is amazing. SO thorough! I wonder if I'm patient enough to attempt this... You should post a link in the comments of cjane's post where she gave away one of these bags.

    Sarah M. said...

    I want to make one of these.!! Thanks so much for the tutorial. Can't wait to try it.

    flori said...

    yay, yay, YAY!!! I put myself under a strict no-sew moratorium for a few weeks, but I think I need to break it NOW to make this. I love the lining you chose too. I'm already matching colors in my head...THANK YOU!!

    flori said...

    Okay, I have a user comment now. You might want to make a note of which way to position your stripes in the bow. Mine are all facing the same way (I just didn't realize how it all went together). I noticed your red and yellow bags are opposite in how you did the stripes. Which do you like better? I like the bag with vertical/bow horizontal.

    Tracy said...

    PLEASE open an etsy store and sell this bag so I can have one, because while I appreciate the tutorial, making it is just not going to happen! But if I could buy one = happiness!

    Nailaa said...

    I love it!! and I need it!! I hope to have a time to do it :) If I made it I will tell you, promise :) Pozdrowienia z Polski!! :)

    Kinglake said...

    I love this bag and made one in red stripe but a green lining and red stripe pocket inside it came out really well as i followed your tutorial .Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.

    Cait said...

    This bag is adorable! I love the bow and the simplicity of the instructions. I can't wait to get the nerve to try sewing it soon.

    Caitlin
    Ruby Alice Designs
    RubyAliceDesigns.com

    Emily Breclaw said...

    Hi! I'm working on a couple of these adorable bags, and was wondering- after you say to put the bag lining pieces right sides together, do you sew around three sides, or do those seams separately? (i.e.- sides first, then bottom). The steps listed go from lining up those fabrics to the boxed corners,and I'm just not visualizing the steps in between well. Thanks for your help, and for such a cute idea!

    Karla said...

    Could you tell me how many yards of each fabric you need?

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