Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tutorial: The Day Bag. Pattern making

As promised - the tutorial for the day bag you saw here. 

This is Part 1. In the part I'm going to show you, how to make a pattern. I've talked about pattern making here , but I know it might still sound confusing. Don't worry - I'll show you all the steps :)

Step 1. Draw the detailed bag sketch, try to be as accurate as possible: try to keep all the proportions the way you want to see them on the bag, draw the hardware if you are going to use it. Draw the front and the side. If you're making a different back of the bag, draw it too (the back on my bag is simply all-leather, without any details, so I didn't draw the back).

Step 2. Mark the measurements on your bag sketch. It's the decision time - you must decide the size of all the details, so take your time to think of what you going use the bag for, how many things you want to carry (if you like to carry a lot of things - make a big bag, if you like to carry the bag on your shoulder - make long straps). I wrote my measurements (yours might be different), the strap length is 45 cm.

Step 3. "Disassemble" the bag in your head. The trickiest step, I think. Think of how the details should look and make a drawing.

Step 4. The final detail drawing.

STRAPS: you will need 2 straps. Draw a square: the length is the length of the strap you want (mine is 45cm) and the width is 3 times wider than the strap you want (because you will fold the strap 3 times. My strap is 2,5 cm width, so I drew it 7,5 cm width). No seam allowance is necessary.

BODICE: I find it best to explain it with the picture, so see the picture below.

Light brown - leather, light blue - other fabric.
A details are the bodice front side details. Height should be as high as the blue detail (mine was 18 cm). The sum of the width of 2 A details and width of the blue detail should be the width of the bag. Since the width of my bag is 32 cm, I made side details 2,5 cm each and the blue detail is 27 cm width. So, now you have 2 A details (2,5x18 cm) and a blue detail (27x18 cm). On the blue detail mark the magnetic button place (I marked mine at 13,5 cm from the side of the blue detail and 7 cm from the top of the blue detail). Mark the spots where the straps will be attached.

B detail is the bodice front top detail. The width of the detail ir the width of the bag (mine is 32 cm), the height is 3 cm. If your bag height is 24 cm (like mine), then the height of details B+A+C(until the gray line - gray line marks the bottom) should be equal 24 cm. This means, that C until the gray line  should be equal 3 cm (24 - 3 - 18 = 3 cm).

C detail is 3cm + bottom height + bag height, so, if your bottom is 9 cm and the bag height is 24, this make C detail 3+9+24= 36 cm. The width of the detail is the width of the bag.

D detail is the bottom part. It will be sewn onto the bag bodice, to make the bottom stronger. The measurements, as mentioned, are 9x32 cm.

E details are side details. The red line shows that these lines should match up. So, if your bottom is 9 cm, the side width should also be 9cm, and if your bag height is 24, the side detail height should be equal.

The Flap. The hardest part to explain, but let me give it a try.

AB - width of the bag (32cm in my case).
AC - desirable height of the flap plus 1 cm. (mine was 11 +1 =12 cm).
The other measurements depend on where you marked your straps. DE should be 0,5 cm wider than your strap (since my strap is 2,5 cm, DE equals 3), DF is 1,5 cm heigth (don't make it bigger). i should be 0,5 cm width. Since I marked my straps at 7 cm from the bag side, the J line is 6,75 cm width (7 - 0,5/2 (because DE is 0,5 cm wider than the strap). H is then equal 12,5 cm. DF should match with the top stitch of the handle attachment (oh this is so difficult to explain!), then the G height depends on where you finish you handle attachment (G length on my bag is 7cm).

Now, when you finish drawing parts, cut them all (for the lining, cut the  square sized as the  main bodice and 2 side pieces), DON'T  cut the flap just yet, but cut 2 squares for the flap (I'll show you in the tutorial part 2 why :) .

Let's move on to the tutorial part 2!


  1. Thank you for this- I found your bag on craftster, and really want to make it!

  2. Linda - thank you for a nice comment! If you make it please show me photos, I'd love to see it!

  3. You are very creative and your projects are all nice. I've one bag also which I called "My Masterpiece"...I'd like to show it to you so please tell how and where to post it. Thank you.

    1. Anonymous - do you have the photos of the project online? If so, you can leave a link here. If you don't, you can leave your email here and I will contact you :) I'd really like to see your creation!

  4. Very helpful, thank you. I am trying to develop some bag patterns of my own, and this has helped to clarify my ideas!

    1. Hello J Pereira! I'm glad it was helpful :)