Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Long & Short Handle Bag

Sometimes you want a shoulder bag and sometimes you want a hand held shopper. Well this bag can be both - yay! 
Adjustable long and short handles bag tutorial and pattern
Today I'm sharing a reasonably simple bag pattern which I made for a friend recently. It's an adaptation of the Velvet Topped Print Bag from the fabulous book 'The perfect Handmade Bag' by Claire Youngs. I LOVE this book, if you like making bags I cannot recommend it highly enough. I've added some links to buy it on Amazon at the bottom of this post. 
This project started when I saw a fabric pack at a reduced price at my local Hobbycraft store.
 
The pack had 12 10.5" squares of fleecy fabric in it, in 5  different designs. For this bag I used most of 10 of them. I have a few scraps left. You will also need something plain to line it, I used an old sheet. 

This bag is patchwork but that was because of the size of these squares. You could do any type of patchwork or simply use bigger pieces of fabric. 

The finished bag measures approx 14.5" x 17.5" or 37cm x 44cm

Because I used 10.5" squares and you may not, it makes more sense to list the sizes of the pieces you need to end up with, once any patchworking is done. 
Just join your pieces however you fancy with whatever fabric you have. Just make sure you end up with: 
2 outer pieces of fabric 15"x18" (38cm x 46cm)
2 pieces of lining fabric 15"x18" (38cm x 46cm)
4 pieces of pattern fabric 3"x4" (8cm x 10cm) for handle loops
2 pieces of patterned fabric 2.5" x 32" (7cm x 81cm) for the handles

Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout.
Press any patchwork seams open before you start joining the bag up.

Join the outer pieces on 3 sides:
Join the 2 lining pieces in the same way as the outer pieces but LEAVE A 4" GAP in the bottom middle. THIS IS IMPORTANT!
Now box the corners:
Starting with the outer bag, press the seams open, then fold the bottom corner sideways so the side and bottom seam line up. Measure a line straight across 2" from the point and stitch across, making sure you reserve a few stitches at each end to make the stitching secure. Repeat for the other corner of the outer bag and both the lining corners.
This is what they look like from the outside.
 
Next make the handles by pressing a 1/4" hem on each long edge, then folding the handles in half lengthways. Pin and top stitch to close them but leave a good 2" open at each end.
Next you need to make the handle loops. Take the 3"x 4" pieces and fold then sew each one in exactly the same way as the handles - just much shorter!
Once your handle loops are made, fold them in half and position them, raw edges together, on the top edge of the bag outer, 2.5" from the seam edge.
I left them just pinned but you could tack them in place. You just need to be careful later if you leave them just pinned.
At this point you may wish to add a ribbon loop too - I forgot this step! If you do, just add a 4" (10cm) length of ribbon in the centre of the outer back, exactly the same way round as the handle loops.

Turn the bag lining right side out, and place it inside the bag outer. Match up the seams and pin then stitch the lining to the outer bag around the top edge. Go slowly when stitching over the handle loops and your machine will thank you.
Turn the bag right side out through that gap you left in the lining. Do this very carefully if you left the pins in the handle loops! 
bag making
Stitch the gap in the lining closed (on the machine or by hand) then give everything a nice press with the iron. 
Push the lining inside the bag then top stitch the top edge to keep everything neat and tidy. Again, go slowly over where the handle loops are, that's a lot of layers of fabric for your machine to deal with. 

Now thread your handles through the handle loops. One handle through the loops on the front of the bag and one through the loops on the back.

Join the handles up by placing the right sides together on those open ends and stitching across. You can see in this photo I only left about 1.5" at the ends and it was a bit of a fiddle, I think leaving 2" would make this easier! 
Turn the raw edges inside and top stitch to close.
Finally, add a button to the centre of the bag front. If like me you forgot to add the ribbon loop, just sew it on now as neatly as you can.
button bag closure
You could use a popper or velcro instead or leave a fastening off altogether. 

Adjustable handle bag tutorial
Your bag is complete! You can use it with the handles pulled up double to carry it in your hand or as a shoulder bag with the handles long.
Adjustable long or short handle bag tutorial

Adjustable handle bag tutorial
I went for a floppy sort of bag feel but if you wanted your bag to be more substantial you could add an interfacing of some sort quite easily too. 
Adjustable handle bag tutorial
Here are links to the book I mentioned at the top of the post, in case you are interested. These are Amazon Affiliate links.
To shop Amazon UK:

To shop Amazon USA:
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Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.

27 comments:

  1. Such a great idea Julie. The final bag looks so pretty and really useful too!

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  2. OOh perfect, I am looking for a PE bag idea! Jo x

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    1. Great! You'll probably want to adapt it a bit and add a zip closure at the top for a PE bag though won't you, or the contents might end up everywhere as it's flung from place to place!

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  3. One of my favourite leather handbags has straps very similar to yours. Depending on what I'm doing, I'll use the straps either short or long. Makes for a versatile bag. I love the fabric you've used.

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    1. The fabric is cute isn't it, being in pieces it made me have to think about the best way to join it all up to get a decent size bag out of it!

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  4. This is such a great idea for a tote bag. Having the adjustable long and short handles would be perfect for grocery shopping. Thanks for the detailed tutorial - it shows me all the steps and make me think it's within my skill set of sewing (all straight seams!). Also love the idea of using an old sheet for lining - you know how I like to use odd items for my sewing :)

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    1. It's all straight seams so you would've just fine! I love using up old stuff instead of always buying new too.

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  5. This so true, a really goo idea. Love the fabric designs

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  6. This is such a nice tote bag and tutorial. I want some of that fabric with the orange foxes on it. What beautiful colours. Pinning because its beautiful.

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    1. Ash, thanks Leanna, if I hda any left I'd sent it to you but sadly I've used it all!

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  7. What a great tutorial! Lovely step-by-step photos and easy to follow instructions. The finished bag is gorgeous!

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    1. I love lots of photos for a tutorial too, so I know I'm on track, which is why I try to take a lot too. Glad you like the finished bag.

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  8. Super little bag and great step by step instructions, the fabrics a re wonderful too. x

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    1. Thanks, they are ratty aren't they, beautiful colours :-)

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  9. I love the colours of your bag and such a good idea to have adaptable handles

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  10. I love the design on your bag and adaptable handles is a great idea. Popping by from #CreativeMondays

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  11. Cute! & nice tutorial. Thanks for sharing this at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Sharing

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  12. What a fabulous multi-purpose bag Julie. Thank you for sharing this tutorial at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I'm delighted to be featuring your project at tonight's party.
    Hugs - Kerryanne

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  13. I love adjustable bags like this one. Versatility becomes so much more important as we get older (and wiser!) with our handbags. I love the pattern you chose as well. Adorable! Thanks for the step-by-step tute!

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  14. What a lovely bag. Love the material you use Julie :) Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays, you will be one of my featured blogs today :) Pinned!

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  15. Love the bag they are always handy for shopping, toting craft projects. Love the tutorial. Pinned & sharing. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party.

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    1. This style would make a great project bag, I must make one for myself!

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  16. Your bag is adorable. I like the way you made the handles. Thanks for the tutorial, too!

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  17. I love it, the materials are fantastic ( I adore the foxes)

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