The Lesa Bag By Jill Shepherd
I would recommend using upholstery fabric for this bag to help it hold its shape. If you wanted to use thinner more lightweight fabric you can, it will just make the bag much softer. You could add interfacing to lightweight fabric to make it stiffer. The inner fabric can be any kind you choose.
Materials needed: Main outer fabric: 1 x Main back: 30 x 29cm (11.75 x 11.5”) 1 x Front: 30 x 19cm (11.75 x 7.5”) 1 x Front: 30 x 11cm (11.75 x 4.25”) 2 x Sides: 26 x 6cm (10.25 x 2.5”) 1x Base: 30 x 6cm (11.75 x 2.5”) 1 x Strap: 103 x 10cm (40.5 x 4”) 2 x Strap loops: 14 x10cm (5.5 x 4”) (OR FOR NON-ADJUSTABLE STRAP 1 x Strap: 110 x 10cm (43.25 x 4”) 2 x Front Pockets: 12 x 12cm (4.75 x 4.75”) 2 x Front Pocket flaps: 12 x 8cm (4.75 x 3.25”) 2 x Front Pocket sides: 34 x 4cm (13.5 x 4.5”) Inner Fabric: 2 x Main bag: 30 x 29cm (11.75 x 11.5”) 1 x Front: 30 x 19cm (11.75 x 7.5”) 1 x Front: 30 x 22cm (11.75 x 8.5”) 2 x Sides: 26 x 6cm (10.25 x 2.5”) 1x Base: 30 x 6cm (11.75 x 2.5”) 2 x Front Pockets: 12 x 12cm (4.75 x 4.75”) 2 x Front Pocket flaps: 12 x 8cm (4.75 x 3.25”) 2 x Front Pocket sides: 34 x 4cm (13.5 x 4.5”) 2 x Inside Pocket: 24 x 16cm (9.5 x 6.25”) 2 x D rings for adjustable strap 3 x zips: 1 X 20cm (8”) or longer, for inside pocket. 2 X 30cm (11.75”) or longer, for outer zips 2 (or 3) matching buttons www.jembellish.blogspot.com
All seams are 3/8” unless otherwise specified.
First you are going to make the front pockets. Take the square pocket pieces and pin the side pieces around three sides, right sides together. Repeat this for all 4 pocket pieces – 2 inside and 2 outside fabric. Note: the side strips will hang over the third edge of the square a little – don’t worry, you trim this off afterwards.
Then stitch around those three edges, stitching in a curve at the corners:
Trim the excess fabric to straighten the top edges of the pockets:
Now pin together one outer fabric and one inner fabric pocket right sides together. Pin all around, but leave a gap at the top to turn it right sides out afterwards.
Stitch around the edges.
Then turn out, and top stitch around all the edges – including stitching the gap closed.
Now to the top flaps of the pockets. Take the flap pieces and fold in half lengthways. Measure 3cm (1.25”) down from one open end (not the fold). Then cut diagonally across to the fold from here like this:
Repeat this for all 4 flap pieces (2 inner and 2 outer fabric). You can use the one you have cut as a guide rather than measuring each time:
Now pin the cut flaps together. One inner and one outer piece, right sides together. Once again leave a gap at the top to turn the pieces out when finished.
Stitch around the edges, then trim the corners before turning right sides out.
Turn each flap out and topstitch all the way around.
Now you need to put a buttonhole in each pocket flap at the centre point. Use the button hole setting and foot on your machine and a seam ripper to open the hole afterwards. Make sure you make the hole the right size for your chosen buttons!
Now place the pocket flap centrally over the top of a pocket piece to find where the button needs to go. Then stitch a button on the front of each pocket.
So now you’re ready to attach your pockets to the front of your bag.
Fold the larger of the front pieces of the bag (30 x 19cm (11.75 x 7.5”) in half to find the centre and mark with a pin. Then place the two pockets on either side of the centre and pin around the sides and bottom.
Make sure you pin the edges so the pockets sit up from the bag and not flat. And check the pockets look straight and even before you stitch!
Top stitch both pockets into place around the sides and bottom. At the top edges, run your stitching over the edges backwards and forwards a few times for extra strength.
Next, place the flaps over the tops of the pockets and pin then stitch into place securely.
Again run your stitches over the edges of the flaps a few times for added strength.
Now your front pockets are finished!
Now to piece together the front of the bag. Lay one of your outer zips face down along the top of the front pocket piece, then the inner fabric front piece the same size on top.
Pin, then stitch using the zipper foot on your machine.
Then turn both pieces of fabric back on either side of the zip, and topstitch. This will keep the fabric out of the teeth of the zip when you open and close it.
Now lay flat the inner fabric front piece you have remaining: 30 x 22cm (11.75 x 8.5”) Then lay your front pocket piece face up on top, and finally your remaining front outer fabric piece face down on top of that.
Pin and stitch across the top again using your zipper foot. Then once again pull the fabric back from the zip – this time the inner fabric down – as this is the backing of the front pocket, and the outer fabric up. Then top stitch.
The front section of your bag is now complete!
Now to the inside pocket of the bag. Take one of your large inner pieces of fabric, and lay one of your inner pocket pieces on top, where you want the pocket to be. Pin in place.
Now using a pencil and ruler draw where the zip opening will be, using the zip itself as a guide:
Then stitch around this rectangle you have just drawn.
Then using your scissors – cut a line down the centre, and clip the corners:
Now push the pocket through the hole you just cut, then press flat.
Now pin your zip behind this pocket.
And again using your zipper foot, stitch into place, around all edges.
Next, flip over this piece and pin your other inside pocket piece to the back of the pocket. You may need to trim the edge a little to size. Pin all the way around, then stitch.
Now your inner pocket piece is finished!
Now to the strap. Take your long strap strip. Fold the top end over a little, then each side inwards. Then fold the whole thing over to hide all the raw edges.
Then pin and stitch along both long edges and across the end you folded and pinned too.
Now for the strap loop. Place the two pieces right sides together and stitch along both sides.
Turn this right sides out and top stitch along both sides. Now you have your strap and loop ready with the D rings for your adjustable strap. If you do not want an adjustable strap – then you just need to make the long strip and don’t worry about the loop. In this case you just need one strip 110cm long (43.25”) Now take a scrap of fabric approx. 12 x 5cm (4.75 x 2”) and fold it in on itself towards the centre lengthways, then in half to hide the raw edges. Stitch both sides lengthways.
Now wrap this strip around your strap loop like so:
Slide off and stitch together:
Then slip this loop and the two D rings onto your strap loop; fold it in half and stitch the edges together:
Now you are ready to assemble your whole bag. Place the front section of your bag face up. Then lay your final outer zip face down at the top, and finally on top of this one of your main inner pieces. If your zip is wider than the fabric – just let it hang over either end as shown in this picture– you will secure and trim the ends later.
Pin across the top, then stitch all 3 layers together using your zipper foot.
As you did with the front zip. Pull the inner and outer fabrics back from the zip and top stitch to prevent them catching in the teeth of the zip when opening. www.jembellish.blogspot.com
Now place your inner piece with pocket face up, then lay the front pieces of the bag face up on top of that with the zip facing upwards. Finally lay your outer back piece face down on the top.
Pin and stitch again using your zipper foot.
Once again pull the fabric back from the zip and topstitch.
Now open your bag out so you have the zip in the centre and the front and back laid flat:
Now first make sure your main zip is open a little, then take your strap and strap loop and pin then stitch on either side of the main zip with the raw edges lined up with the raw edges of the bag:
Note here that if you are not making an adjustable strap, you simply attach either end of the strap to the sides of the bag – making sure the strap isn’t twisted before you stitch! www.jembellish.blogspot.com
Stitch both sides securely, running 2 or 3 rows of stitching along each side.
Then if need be, trim the edges of the zip off both sides.
Now take the side pieces of the bag and pin the short edges face down, across the sides of the zip where you just attached the strap pieces. Pin the outer and inner fabrics on either side of the main bag, so you will have several layers together, so pin and stitch with care!
Now open the bag so that you have the outer fabric on one side of the zip, and the inner fabric on the other side. Pin the front and back panels to the side pieces.
Then stitch using a 5/8” seam to ensure you catch in all the seams and zips.
Before you continue – check that the main zip of the bag is OPEN!!! This is very important! Finally, attach your two base pieces to the inner and outer parts of the bag. Pin and stitch all the way around the base of the outer bag, but leave a gap of around 20cm (8”) in one seam of the inner bag – to allow turning the bag right sides out!
Now turn your bag right sides out through the gap in the inner base.
Then pin the gap closed.
And stitch. I machine stitched, as this will be at the bottom of the inside of the bag and so not visible. But if you like, you can hand slipstitch this to make the seam even neater!
Your bag is now finished! If you have made an adjustable strap – thread the strap through both D-rings, then tuck the end back through one and slip through the small loop holder you made.
And your bag is ready to fill and use!
Note about adjustable strap. I made a few of these bags using denim and upholstery fabric with no problems with the strap. However, one bag I made used quite slippery fabric, which did have a tendency to slip through the D-rings. To avoid any ‘slipping’ you could add a button to the strap loop and several button holes to the end of the strap for an adjustable length.
If you have any questions of comments regarding this tutorial. Please do not hesitate to contact me at: jil[email protected]
Happy Sewing! www.jembellish.blogspot.com