Saturday, May 11, 2013


I got bored with my old handbag, so here is my new one.  It took me about 4 hours - cause I didn't want to stuff it up.  I particularly like the zipper in the top rather than just the magnetic closure.  The handles look short but they're actually 22 inches long - it's just that they are leaning backwards slightly in the photo.

This bag is similar to the jordy except that I have different handles.  It is also constructed slightly different than the jordy in that the outer bag is made separate to the lining bag.  They are sewed together in the final step.  If you have any questions, please ask.

To add a zipper into the top of your bag, you need to firstly have a zipper.  Depending on the size of the zipper, you may or may not need to add little end bits to the zipper.  In this case, the zipper was a bit shorter than the bag, so I added end tabs to them.

You need to cut gusset pieces.  The measurement of these will be the width of your bag by about 2.25 inches (probably no more than that otherwise your zipper will end up too far down the bag).  My original handbag was less than that but it depends on your preference.  If your zipper is shorter than the width of the bag, you will need to cut little end tabs.  These will be the width of your zipper (in my case this was 1 inch) by a few inches (more is better - you can trim down later).  You will need to neaten the edges of the tabs and one side of your gusset pieces.  They will look something like this:

If you have end tabs, sew them to the ends of your zipper, like this:

Fold the seam allowance of the neatened edge of your gusset pieces towards the wrong side, like this:

Pin the gusset pieces to the zipper:

Sew in the zipper.  I added the action shot as someone mentioned that I have "good putting in zipper skills"  I just use a zipper foot and I go SLOW.  I used to think that going fast is the answer to straight sewing but sadly the slower I went, the neater it was.  As you can also see I keep the fabric well back from the zipper teeth.  If you look at a zipper, there is a "strip" which the weave is slightly different.  This is the "mark" that I line my fabric up with.  When I am using my zipper foot and line my fabric up with this "mark", I don't need to move the zipper pull out of the way when sewing.

Trim the end tabs down in line with the gusset pieces.  Now pin one side of the gusset to your lining with the WRONG side of the gusset facing the RIGHT side of your lining piece.  I know this goes against everything you've been taught but trust me on this one.  Now you need to sew WITHIN THE SEAM ALLOWANCE.  This line of stitching is just to hold it in place until the final step.  Repeat with the other side of your lining.

Now fold and press the edges over you just sewed.  This makes the last step easier.  Just ignore what looks like a sewn seam at the side.  I had to unpick  .

Unfold the edges you just pressed and place your two lining pieces together folding and catching the gusset in the seam.  Sew both of your side seams.

Finish sewing your lining piece - bottom and bottom edges, like the jordy.

Sew your outer like the jordy then fold and press the top seam allowance towards the inside.

Pin your handles to the inside of the outer bag.  Now place the lining inside the outer bag and pin in place.  This is where the pressing you did previously makes it easier now. 

When sewing this edge take care around the edges as it can take some manipulating, depending on the width of your gusset.  And what it looks like sewn:

The final bag!  Woo Hoo!!     You will need to add a zipper pull if your zipper pull thingy is too small.

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