Tutorial: Loop Bag

>> Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Loop Bag Tutorial

I was so pleased to hear how many of you are looking forward to this tutorial! It took me a little over an hour to make this while taking pictures and writing down steps, so it should be a quick bag for you to make. I've included detailed instructions and lots of pictures below in order to make this tutorial accessible for beginning sewers. More advanced sewers should be able to read through the steps quickly and probably won't need the pictures as a guide. I've provided the instructions for the basic bag, but there are innumerable ways to modify it -- different materials, contrast handles, embellishments such as trims or ric-rac, decorative stitching, etc. Have fun!

**This tutorial is for personal use ONLY.** 

The bag measures ~ 10.5"x7"x3".

Fabric Requirements:
1/3 yard quilting weight cotton (you'll have a bit left over)
11.5"x12.5" lightweight denim
lightweight interfacing (~20": wait to cut until step 5)
coordinating thread

*Note: I use a 1/4" inch seam except where noted otherwise.*

Cut your fabric
Take your 1/3 yard of fabric, trim the selvages, and cut it into the following pieces: 
(1) 12" x 18.5" (lining)
(2) 11.5" x 3.5" (exterior)
(1) 8"x 5" (short handle)
(1) 17" x 5" (long handle)
To maximize your fabric, first cut the 12" x 18.5" piece and set it aside. Cut the rest of the pieces out of the remaining fabric as follows:
Cut the 3.5" strip on the left first and then cut it in half. If it's not exactly 11.5", it's fine. You'll trim everything in a few steps. Then cut the 5" x 8" rectangle from the top, and then the 5" x 17" rectangle from the middle. These will become your handles.

Sew the bag exterior.
Sew the 11.5" x 3.5" fabric strips to both 11.5" sides of the denim panel.

Press the seams open.

Trim up your rectangle and measure it. 

It should be about 11.5" x 18.5". If it's a little bigger or smaller, that's fine. I suggest waiting to cut the interfacing so that you can make it the correct size for your rectangle.

Interface your bag exterior and handles.
Cut 3 pieces of interfacing: (1) 4.5" x 7.5"; (1) 4.5" x 16.5"; (1) 11" x 18" (or 1/2" less than the dimensions of your big rectangle).
Iron your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.

Make the handles. 
First fold the handle rectangles in half lengthwise and iron a crease.

Fold each edge toward the center and iron.

Fold both edges to the center and iron the strip -- it should be about 1.25" wide.

Finally, sew 1/8" from each side to hold the 1.25" strip in place.

Your handles, 1 short and 1 long, should look like this. Set them aside.

Sew the bag exterior and exteriors. 
Fold the exterior rectangle (denim + fabric) and lining rectangle in half with the short sides matching. 

Make sure to match the seams of the exterior rectangle.

Sew the sides of both the exterior and lining. Leave the top open.

Box the bottoms of the bag exterior and lining. 
There are many ways to do this, so feel free to use our preferred method. I make 1.75" boxes by marking 1.75" in from each side, drawing a line, and then sewing along that line. (The pictures show you the triangle from the perspective of the side seam; because there is no bottom seam, I like to sew with the side seam visible. However, box your corners in whatever way you prefer.)

I sew along the line twice to make it sturdier. Once you've sewn along the line, trim the outer triangles off (cut about 1/4" from the sewn line).
You should now have a boxed exterior and a boxed lining.

Put the bag together.
Take the exterior bag, and mark the center and 1" away from the center on each side. These marks will help you place the handles. (Ignore the numbers below: measure your bag and mark its center.)

Turn the lining right side out. Place the lining right side out into the exterior (which should stll be wrong side out). In other words, place the lining in the exterior right sides together. Match the side seams and pin them.

Place your handles in the bag (between the exterior and lining). Make a "U" with the handle to ensure it won't be twisted.
 Use the marks you've made on the exterior as a guide. Put the inside edge of respective left and right side of the handle at the marks 1" offset from the center. Pin the handles in place and pin the rest of the bag exterior to the lining.
Sew the exterior, lining, and handles together using a 1/2" seam allowance. You'll need to leave a gap through which to turn the bag. I usually start right before a handle and end just beyond the seam, leaving a 2" or so gap (the picture may illustrate this better).

Pull the lining, exterior, and handles through the gap.

You should now have a bag (make sure to place the lining inside the exterior). You're almost done. I like to press the top edge of the bag before top-stitching the bag closed.

Top stitch the top edge with a 1/8" seam allowance (on my sewing machine, I use the opening in my regular 1/4" foot as a guide).

Trim the thread and you've got yourself a lovely loop bag!


~Michelle~ December 15, 2010 at 6:52 PM  

Cuteness! And easy peasy to boot :)

Barbara December 15, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

you are an absolute angel - thank you so much for taking the time to write such an explicit tut - it is very much appreciated

~thank you~

Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts December 15, 2010 at 11:25 PM  

This is lovely. . thank you for posting this

quilthexle December 16, 2010 at 5:25 AM  

Thanks for this tutorial! Will have to try my hands on this, for sure ;-))

Abby and Stephanie December 16, 2010 at 6:47 AM  

Clever bag and a well done tutorial!

Elsa December 16, 2010 at 10:39 AM  

that's so strange ... I was thinking of making a bag with one shorter handle, just about like this one and here is the pattern! thanks so much for making my thinking come true! love the pattern!

Denise December 17, 2010 at 12:57 AM  

Awesome tutorial! Thanks for sharing:)

Lindsay Conner December 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM  

Great tute! 2 Hippos... Would you be interested in swapping links? I added you to my Blog sidebar http://www.lindsaysews.com. Let me know! lindsay.conner(at)gmail(dot)com

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