The Julieanna Bag

I wanted to post this yesterday, but I kept having difficulties doing even the most basic of things last night. Grr! But I persevered and finally got the bag made and the pictures taken. So here it is. My first tutorial…

The Julieanna Bag

I named this simple bag after the little girl it was made for.

It all started with a few fun items from Target. Thank God for back to school sales! They are perfect for an inexpensive gift for a 5 year old’s birthday. Who doesn’t love some new coloring implaments and a hot pink bag to store them in?

But the pad was too big to put in the cute little pencil pouch. And I knew it was important to have a place to pack it all away. So what better way then to create a bag that can be used to store the art supplies, be pretty enough to be the gift bag, and can also be used by a little girl for her dress up needs, should she so desire?

Materials:

  • 2 rectangles of fabric measuring 13″X34″ (At least one piece of fabric should be nice and sturdy in order to provide support. If desired lightweight fabrics can be re-enforced with a stabilizer.)
  • Coordinating thread
  • 3″X44″ piece of fabric (this is for the strap and can be adjusted as desired)
  • Velcro or button (optional)
  • Flower (optional, I used this flower tutorial)
Directions
  1. Pin together your two rectangles of fabric, right sides facing one another. Stitch along three of the four sides, leaving one of the shorter sides open. Reinforce the stitching by going over the stitches a second time. I used a straight stitch the first time and then went over it with a zigzag. I also back stitched in each corner to provide extra support where the weight will be most often. Clip the corners.
  2. Turn fabric right side out. Turn the piece so that the outside is the fabric that you can see. The lining will be on the bottom.
  3. Place in front of you with the short, open part farthest away from you. This is the top.
  4. Measure 5″ from the top. Pin. Bring the bottom up to the pin, creating a fold at the bottom. This will be the bottom of the bag. Where the fabric meets the pin will be the top of the bag. The 5″ section will eventually be the flap.
  5. Here’s where I really messed this up. I should have cut off the flap. It would have been easier to stitch on. Instead I left it on and tried to hem everything all attached. This created some funky stitching. I would suggest that you cut off the top 5″ BEFORE you stitch the two rectangles together. Or, cut it off at this point and set aside. One way or the other, pin the fabric together (outside fabric facing itself) to create a 1/4″ seam.
  6. Its now time to make the strap. Take the long narrow strip and fold right sides together. Giving yourself a half inch seam allowance, stitch all the way down the length of the strap. Trim all the stray strings.
  7. Now you need to turn this long strap right side out. The easiest way that I know to do this is with a safety pin. Attach the safety pin to the hem on one end of the strap. Turn the safety pin inside the strap. Now feed the safety pin through the strap. You need to make sure that your thumb stays on the pin or you will lose it. As you push it through, the fabric will go with it. There will be a gather of the fabric as the part you are pulling goes inside of the strap. Keep pulling (gently), periodically straightening out the gathered fabric, until you have pulled it all the way through. When you are done you will have to open ends, and the stitching will be on the inside. (If this is confusing, google directions and you will find videos that will show you a lot better than I can tell you.)
  8. Now take one of the ends and fold the edges inside of the tube. 
  9. You now have two choices. You can hand sew a slip stitch in order to sew the end together without having any of your stitching showing, or you can just machine stitch across your fabric in order to seal in your hem. I chose to use my machine because it is stronger and I know that the end will be hiding in the hem of the bag anyway. (The reason I still fold the edges into the strap is to keep the fabric from fraying.) Repeat on the other side.
  10. Now get your bag back from where you set it aside. This part is a bit tricky (especially when you mess up and do it like I did!). Remember how you pinned a seam allowance? Now is the time to insert the straps. I placed mine toward the top of the bag. What you want to do is place the strap end into the seam allowance with the edge matching up with the edge of your fabric. The long part will be inside of the pocket. (Don’t mind all my threads. I had to rip out stitches because I was tired and kept messing it up.)
  11. Now stitch your straps into the bag and continue to stitch all the way down the side of the bag. Repeat on the other side making sure that your strap is straight before you pin it into the side. Make sure to leave the open part of the bag (where you cut off the flap) open. You will be attaching the flap in a few more steps.
  12. Okay, remember the 5″ piece that we set aside? Now is the time to tackle the flap. I had forgotten to cut it off and had to do all of this while it was attached to the bottom of the bag, so ignore that part of the pictures. On the top, create a rolled hem (fold the fabric over and then over again). You want it to be about 1/4″ wide and folded over onto the lining fabric. On the sides, fold the fabric in 1/4″ of the way in order to create a hem that will match the size of the bag. Do not stitch the bottom portion of the flap closed yet.
  13. Now stitch around the pinned hem. You might want to use a decorative stitch because your stitching will show. Or, you can just use a looser straight stitch. I played with one of my decorative stitches on my machine. (Again, ignore that the bottom of the bag is attached. It shouldn’t be yet.)
  14. Now you need to attach the flap to the bottom of the bag. Put the bag into itself so that the pocket that you have from the unfinished side (where you cut the flap off) contains the whole bag (strap and all). This will make it so that you have the wrong sides of your liner and outer fabric on the outside and the rest of the bag on the inside. Take the flap and insert it into the pocket. You want the unfinished seams to touch and the outer fabric to touch outer, inner to touch inner. Pin.
  15. This is a bit tricky. You want to sew a hem (1/4″) all the way around these fabrics, making sure to leave a gap about 2″ wide on the lining fabric. At this point you will continue to have a pocket of sorts, where all the bag is stuffed.
  16. Pull all the fabric through the hole that you left in your seam. This should allow you to right the bag. You will now have a flap attached to the back of your bag and a 2″ hole on the inside. Fold the edges in and slip stitch the hole closed. Now you can complete your rectangle of decorative stitches on the flap.

If you want, you can leave the bag as it is. If not, you can add a button or some velcro. I added velcro and then attached a flower over my velcro stitching. It is also possible to add the velcro before you close the flap but I find it tricky to line it up right until I have sewed the whole bag together.

And viola! A cute bag, perfect for holding all the art goodies a little girl could want.

Hope that you were able to follow my directions. Please feel free to leave me comments as to where I could have been clearer.

*Note: You will have a hem on the inside of this bag. It will not be a reversible bag. I will try to do another tutorial in the near future that is reversible (and hopefully more clear!).
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