So let's get started.
3/4 yard of outer fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
1/2 yard of canvas or 1.25 yards of fusible interfacing
Thread that coordinates with your outer fabric
Magnetic snap (optional)
Pattern piece (Just match up the pages so the triangles on either side form a diamond. One page will overlap the other.)
First, we're going to cut our pattern piece, and then our fabric. You'll need:
From outer fabric:
two body pieces
5 2.5x45 inch strips of fabric (these are just 2.5 inches selvedge to selvedge) NOTE:If you are not using a serger to finish the strips for the front of the bag, cut 2 2.5 inch strips (handle), and 3 3.5 inch strips for the front embellishments.
From lining fabric:
two body pieces
If you want pockets inside, cut those too
2-4 body pieces of fusible or sew-in interfacing (If using fusible, I would use two layers of a medium weight fusible. I'm using canvas that I sew in, so I'm only using 1 layer)
Ok, now that we have all our materials together, let's get started. First, let's get the strap out of the way. Place two strips of your outer fabric right sides together, and stitch down both long sides. Turn the strap right-side out (use a safety pin as a bodkin to help) and press. Topstitch along both sides of your strap about 1/8 inch from the edge. Set aside.
Next, let's work on the body of the bag. Start by attaching your interfacing to your OUTER bag pieces, either by fusing according to manufacturer directions, or sewing it in.
Now for the fun part! Pleats and ruffles! First, you need to finish the edges of the remaining fabric strips. How you finish them is up to you entirely. On my original bag, I used my serger and a basic 3-thread overlock stitch. On this bag, I'm using my rolled hem function on my serger to finish the edges on the strips.
Don't have a serger? THAT IS TOTALLY OK. I remember reading tutorials before I had mine, and when I would get to the part where they would tell me to serge, I would be all bitter and "blah blah blah, look at you with your fancy machine". So, my point is, no need to be bitter like me. You can finish the edges by pressing the edges under 1/4 inch twice and topstitching, so the raw edge is encased. The edges of your pleats will be bulkier to sew through, but I think it is probably still manageable.
Once you've finished the edges of your strips, we'll attach them to the bag.
You want to take one of your strips and pin it about 5/8 of an inch from the top center of your bag.
See what I did here? It's wrong. Dont do it. Pin the strip down with the RIGHT side facing the right side of your bag, not the wrong side like I did here. This was easily remedied by just turning that edge under and pinning.
Fold the strip back on itself and being your pleats.
Continue pleating and pinning until you've completed your curve and your strip is again perpendicular to the top of your bag.
Now, we are going to flip our pleat UP and away from our bag, and pin the end of the pleated strip to the bag RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
Ok, you're almost done with the top pleat! We just need to stitch it down. First, stitch across the top underside of the pleat.
When you flip it down, it should look something like this:
Ok, now cut your excess strip off a few inches from your stitching line. We're going to tuck the extra strip under the pleats as a little bit of padding and texture.
Now top stitch the pleat down along the edge where you finished the strip.
YAY! Phew, are you still with me?
Ok, now grab the rest of the strip that you just used for the top pleat. Crank the stitch length and tension on your machine all the way up to the maximum setting, and sew right down the middle of your strip, being sure to leave long thread tails on the ends.
You'll end up with one long glorious ruffle. We're going to pin it to the bag, starting at the top left edge and working around to the right. You want the edge to get caught in the seam when you sew the lining in, so start pinning right at the top.
There are pins in there, I promise.
Once you're done pinning, sew right along your gathering stitch, and then trim off your extra ruffle. It should look like this:
YAY! The hardest part is done.
Looking for Part 2 of the tutorial? Click here!