February 26, 2010

Road Trip Satchel Tutorial

I asked my kids who wanted to model the Road Trip Satchel, and Davis happily volunteered.
This tutorial is to give you the basics on how to sew this bag.  There are lots of ways to change it up and make it just what you want.  This bag can be scaled bigger or smaller.  I chose this size because it's perfect for coloring books.  You can add more pockets or do no pockets at all.  I have also used this basic pattern to make a bag with no flap.

1 14 inch zipper
22 x 14 inch piece of fabric for outside of bag
22 x 14 inch piece of fabric for inside of bag
12 x 14 inch piece of fabric for zipper flap
  7 x 21 inch piece of fabric for inside pocket  
5 x 36 inch piece of fabric for the strap (you could substitute belting or anything you like for the strap)
Once all you pieces are cut it's time to get started.
This is only the second time I have sewn a zipper.  If you have any tips or tricks please let me know.  The first time I made this bag I made the flap with out a zipper.  You can do it either way.
1.  Line up the outside edge of your zipper (right sides together/see first picture)  with the long side of you fabric for the flap.  Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to get as close the the zipper teeth as possible.  I unzipped the zipper a little to get closer, and then zipped it back as I was making my way down the length of the zipper.  Once the first half of the zipper is done, repeat with the other half.

2.  When your zipper is sewn in place it's time to close up the pocket.  I set the zipper two inches from the edge instead of in the center.  This way you have more pocket when the bag is flipped open.  Sew up the two short sides of the zipper pocket.  I used a 3/8" seam.  Unzip the zipper a little so you can flip it right sides out when you are done.  You could serge the ends to make it cleaner, or just use pinking shears.  Set aside.

3.  Take your long strap piece and fold it over in half length wise.  Sew down to make a long tube.  Use a loop turner or safety pin to flip it right sides out.  Center your seam and press it with a hot iron.  I like to add some contrast stitching down the length of the strap.  You may want to cut the length of the strap down.  36" is more of a grown up strap length.  My straps on my kid's bags are about 21-21" in length.  When this is done set it aside.

4.  I like my pockets to look good inside and out.  Take your 7 x 21 inch piece of fabric and fold it over in half, right sides together.  Sew along the two short sides and one long side.  Leave one long side open.

5.  Flip the pocket right side out.  Fold your open side in about 1/2 inch and press with a hot iron.  Sew a top stitch 5/8" down from the long side that was already sewn closed.  

6.  Pin your inside pocket to your inside/lining fabric.  I place my pocket 2 1/4" from the side and 2 1/2" from the top edge.  Start sewing on the right short side.  I back stitch several times over the edge for strength.  Pivot your stitch at the corner, continue on the long side.  This stitch should be closing up the open part of your pocket where your flipped it out.  Pivot at the next corner and finish sewing the last short side.  Remember to do a few back stitches here.  You can sew a seam down the middle of the pocket to turn it into two smaller pockets.  On this bag I made one side smaller than the other.  You can kind of see the stitches in the last photo.  When your pocket is finished, sew up the short sides of your inside bag.  

7.  I like to miter to corners of this bag.  It gives it a nice bottom.  Take your inside bag and center the side seam to make a triangle.  Sew down about an inch from the tip of the triangle.  Cut off the triangle above your stitching.  
8.  Now is the time to decorate the outside of you bag.  I appliqued a little umbrella on the bottom right corner of the bag.  If you are interested in how I did this, leave me a note in the comments and I will do another post on it.  When you are down decorating the outside of the bag, fold it right sides together and sew the two short sides.  Follow step 7 to miter the corners.
9.  Let's stack this puppy together.  Keep our outside bag inside out.  Turn your inside bag right sides out.  Set you inside bag into the outer bag.  

10.  Time to pin the pieces in place.  You have a few options with your strap placement.  You can sew it into the seam of the bag, or on the outside.  If you choose to sew it to the outside, finish the ends off nicely and sew it on at the very end.  To sew it into the sew follow the pictures.  I place the nice side of the strap to the right side of the bag.  Center the seams.  Next I place the zipper flap in.  Set it with the zipper closest to the top, and the zipper side facing you.  Now take the inside bag and line the seam up with the other seams.  Pin in place.  

Take your strap and make sure it isn't twisted.  Repeat step 10 on the other side of the bag.  

11.  Pin the layered area in a few places (only on the side with the flap pocket).  Sew the layers together starting a little before where you pinned the sides together.  Sew all the way across the bag and a little past the other side seam.  You should have a hole you can fit your hand into.

12.  Flip the bag right sides out and tuck the inside bag down.  Press your opening seam flat and top stitch across the front of the bag from seam to seam.  This is to close your turning hole.
Your Road Trip Satchel is ready to go.  If you have any questions, or if I didn't make sense at a certain part please let me know.  This bag is fun and easy to make and I want others to enjoy it too.
Check back tomorrow to see what happens behind the scenes when I sew. ;)