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As my tutorials often do, this one started out because I needed something. I have a tablet that I like to take with me when we travel, and sometimes when I just want to go to a coffee shop and watch a Craftsy class. I have a laptop bag, but it's way too big, and I don't like how the pockets are arranged. I want to be able to take a few things with me, without everything coming out with the tablet when I pull it out. Problem solved, and I'll get right to it, because this is a long one!
To make this bag you'll need:
- this pattern, printed and taped together
- Fabric for the outside of the bag (something medium weight - I used canvas)
- Fabric to line the bag and make the card pocket (I used a very lightweight denim)
- Fusible interfacing
- Two 1 1/2" d-rings (preferably welded ends so they don't pull apart in use)
- Two 1 1/2" snap hooks
- One 1 1/2" flat strap slider
- 7" zipper (minimum - I like to go a couple of inches longer and cut off the excess)
- 3 inches 3/4" wide Velcro
Using the pattern, cut out two for the outside of the bag, two for the lining, two for the top flap, and four from the interfacing. I cut the front outer piece from the lining fabric since much of it is covered by the pockets and I wanted the print for that with contrast between the two.
After you've done that, cut off the top of the pattern at the horizontal line. Keep that top part but set it aside - you'll need it later.
Fold the fabric in half, line up the top edge of the pattern with the fold, and cut out the front pocket.
You'll also need to cut the following pieces:
- 7 1/2 x 12" for the inside of the zipper pocket
- 4 1/2 x 19 1/4" for the card pocket (something fairly lightweight - my lining fabric worked well)
- 1 1/4 x 24" for the binding for the card pocket
- 3" x 48" for the strap (piece two pieces together as needed to get length)
- 3 x 3 1/2" for the d-ring ends
- 2 x 3" for the key carabiner loop
Because there are several pieces to this and I didn't want to get them confused, I wrote each on a scrap of paper and pinned it on the piece.
Apply the fusible interfacing to both outer bag pieces and both flap pieces. Fold the front pocket in half with wrong sides together and press. Set aside.
We'll start the assembly by installing the zippered pocket on the outer front of the bag. Grab that top bit of the pattern you cut off earlier. Cut out the section marked "Zipper." Flip the front outer piece over. Flip the pattern piece over as well and pin it in place with the upper edges matched up. Trace inside the rectangle with a pen or pencil. Remove the pattern.
Poke a pin into each corner. Flip the piece over. Using the pins as a guide, place the inside pocket piece face down with the upper edge and both sides 1/2" outside of the rectangle.
Pin in place. Flip over and pin at the rectangle on the back. Remove all pins from the front. Stitch along the drawn line.
Using sharp scissors, carefully snip through both layers in the center of the rectangle. Continue cutting to 3/8" from the end. From that point, snip to each corner, creating a Y shape. Cut as close to the corner as you can without clipping any stitches. Repeat on the other end of the rectangle.
Flip over and push the entire pocket through the opening.
Pull all the edges through until the pocket lies flat against the back. Press well.
Place the zipper face up behind the opening. Pin well. Stitch around close to the edge using a zipper foot.
Fold the pocket up with right sides together so the edges are even. Pin on the side facing the bag. Stitch around the edge, still using the zipper foot, from the side that faces the bag. Fold the bag back out of the way as you go. If the zipper pull gets in the way as you approach it, stop with your needle down, lift the presser foot, unzip the zipper a few inches, lower the presser foot and continue.
Clip off the excess zipper. Pin the pocket up near the zipper so it doesn't get sewn into any of the following steps.
Pin the lower pocket to the outer front with the lower edges even. Stitch along the vertical lines shown on the pattern.
Fold up the pockets. You may want to pin down the center. Fold the card pocket binding in half, right sides together, and press. Fold both edges into the middle and press again. Open out one edge and line it up with the edge of the card pocket, starting at the bottom left and continuing around to the bottom right. Stitch, using this trick for the corners. Trim off the excess.
Wrap the binding over the edge to the back. Press. Stitch across the top only, near the seam. Pin over the top of the large pocket on the left of the bag. The stitching on the right should go over the top of the existing stitching, so place the pocket accordingly. Make sure the bottom edges are even, and trim off the curve to match. Stitch down both sides.
I originally planned to have this bag close with a magnetic snap, but realized that might not be the best for my electronics, so I went with Velcro instead.
Find the center of the front. Cut the hook side of the Velcro down to 2". Pin it vertically at the center of the front with the bottom 1 1/2" from the bottom of the bag. Stitch in place. Do the same with the 3" hoop side on the inner flap piece. The varying sizes of the two Velcro sides gives it a little wiggly room so it will still close when full.
Unpin the zipper pocket on the back. Lay the outer back piece right side down over the front. Stitch the sides and bottom. Do the same with the two flap pieces. Sew the lining pieces in the same manor, but leave 5" open in the middle of the bottom.
Turn the flap right side out. Press. Topstitch near the seam. Turn the lining right side out.
Fold the d-ring ends the long way, right sides together. Stitch down the side. Turn and press with the seam in the center. Topstitch down both sides.
Fold the key loop wrong sides together. Press. Turn the edges into the center and press again. Stitch down both sides.
Fold the flap up over so it covers the Velcro and pin. A safety pin would be best here.
Slide the flap into the bag with with back and outer flap together. Pin in place with the edges at the seams. Make sure the pin heads are to the outside because we're adding more layers to this and want to be able to remove the pins as we sew. You can baste each layer instead, but personally I hate having to remove all that stitching later.
Slide the d-ring onto the d-ring end and fold in half with the seam inside. Stitch across near the ring. Unpin the flap near the seam and center the d-ring over the seam. Put the flap back on top and pin.
Turn the lining right side out. Slide it into the bag and pin, matching the seams. Fold the key carabiner loop in half and pin it with the ends side-by-side between the bag and lining, 2" from the left seam on the front.
Stitch around the top edge through all the layers. Because there's a lot riding on that seam, I zigzagged the seam allowance. At the very least, I'd consider stitching it a second time.
Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Remove the pin from the flap.
Stitch the opening in the lining closed. I just stitched over it with my machine, but you could do it by hand if you prefer a cleaner look. Push the lining into the bag. Press the seam. Stitch around the edge and across the back close to that seam, pressing the key loop down toward the bag as you go over it. Stitch across that loop again 1/4" from the seam. Clip on the carabiner.
We're almost there! To make the strap, fold both short ends under 1/4" and press. Fold the strap right sides together, matching the long edge, and stitch. Turn the tube right side out and press with the seam at the center. Stitch near both long edges.
Slide one end (closer to the seam where you pieced your fabric together) over the end of the snap hook and fold over 1 1/4". Stitch across near the hook end, near the strap end, and a third time right between the two.
Slide the strap slider over the other end, with the bar under the strap, and up a few inches. Slip the remaining hook onto the strap. Push the strap end under the slider bar from the side furthest from the hook.
Pull until the strap overlaps 1 1/4". Stitch across near the strap end, near the slider and midway in between.
Your strap is finished, and once you attach it, so is your bag!
Everything on the list of what I wanted this bag to hold has a spot.
And none of it will come spilling out when I pull out my tablet. Did you notice the matching key fob wristlet clipped to the carabiner over there?
I also love that the strap can adjust from a shoulder bag to cross-body.
Once again, my thanks to Sewing Studio for sponsoring this post!