I'll try to do this without diagrams, just pictures and text...I have no decent drawing program on this computer, and I'm too lazy to throw my son off the other one, create something, and then send it here. If you'd like to try it but are struggling, let me know. Click on any photo for a larger view.
This is the third one I've made, each with different dimensions. This one is 8" wide by 12" tall, with about a 36" strap. These last two have been envisioned for a certain young miss who is turning 11 this week - she's not fond of fussy things, and I was trying for an earthy pouch to carry her cool stuff in, but I seem to keep coming up with lovely bags for adult women instead. She may be getting a gift certificate!
To make this one, you'll need 4 pieces of your outer fabric. I used a denim-weight decorator fabric from the 1960's, and anything that weight or lighter will do. Heavier and you'll be breaking needles left and right. The pieces are as follows:
21" x 13" (A)
9" x 13" (B)
67" x 3" (C)
67" x 3" (C)
You can seam together strips for the long, thin pieces. When you put them together (they will form the strap) make SURE the seams aren't on top of each other, or you'll be sewing through a zillion layers of fabric. Stagger them.
For the lining you'll need 2 pieces:
21" x 13" (A)
9" x 13"(B)
20" x 12" (A)
8" x 12"(B)
66" x 1.5" (don't piece this with a seam - if you need to piece two pieces of batting, use a zig zag/darning stitch with no overlap) (C)
1. Fuse, spray baste, safety pin or otherwise attach batting A to wrong side of outer fabric A, centering it.
2. Put right side of fabric A (with batting attached) to right side of lining A. Pin if necessary (it will depend on what fabrics you're using), and stitch with a half inch seam around the perimeter, leaving a hole big enough to turn piece inside out.
3. Clip corners, flip right side out, remove safety pins if used.
4. Using steam-a-seam or fusible hemming, close up the hole (you'll be stitching over it later, but you'll really want it held firm during that process, so I highly recommend you don't skip this step!)
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 with outer fabric B, batting B and lining B. You should have two spiffy little rectangle quilts.
6. Place batting C, centered, on the wrong side of one piece of outer fabric C. Using an accent thread in your bobbin (it's gonna show), stitch all the way down the center of the fabric and batting, to stabilize it.
7. To make the other side match, now stitch all the way down the center of the other outer fabric piece C.
8. Put both outer fabric pieces C right sides together and stitch around the perimeter, leaving a very large (18" or so) hole for turning along the middle of one long side. You will miss the batting by a long mile while stitching, which is correct. You don't want the batting to get in these seams at any point.
9. Flip the piece right side out, and close up using steam-a-seam as above.
10. Being careful not to twist the strap, butt the two ends together and stitch with a tight zigzag darning stitch, once forward, once backward. You'll now have a closed loop. Click on the photo at left to see an enlarged version of what I mean.
11. I highly recommend a denim needle, some eye protection and lots of patience from here on out. If you've done things correctly (not getting the batting involved in the seams) it should be OK, but be careful going over areas on the strap where you have a join! Center the zigzagged join at the bottom of fabric/lining piece A, on the lining side. Stitch with a quarter inch margin, being very careful (going very slowly or even hand-turning your machine) going over any extra seams.
12. Now stitch the strap up the sides of piece A (still on the lining side) 8". A small gap at the corners (you won't be able to fit the folded fabric under the presser foot) is fine. You're not trying to hold water, here.
13. Now attach the front in the same way, bottom first, then the sides.
14. Almost done! Now you need to finish edge stitching the flap and the rest of the straps. This makes it look more polished and will keep your batting from flopping all over if you decide to wash the bag.
And there it is! You can go for the hard-edged look, or flip it inside out for a more rustic thing.
This is a great way to use up scraps of left over dress fabric, and the whole thing goes together in about an hour and a half (if no broken needles!).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.