When I started sewing, I started making bags and pouches. Since I got into sewing clothes I haven’t really made any accessories. After making MrA’s pyjamas I thought I’d spoil him some more and make him a bag too.

I seem to have an endless supply of midnight-blue velvet (thank you LadyP 😘) and decided to go for ultimate luxury… a quilted velvet rucksack. Yum. I sat up the night before and made a ‘little’ plan…

  • So the finished bag is 30 x 28 x 15 cm.
  • It has a ‘one-piece’ base which comes up the sides by 5 cm.
  • The front and back have concealed zip pockets.
  • The sides have elasticated pouches (not on the plan, they measure 18cm at the bottom, 21cm at the top and 15cm tall).
  • The top flap has a gold zip pocket and sturdy gold closure and the opening has an elasticated cuff with a toggle.
  • It is fully lined with small and large patch pockets and key-loops.
  • The straps are quilted, padded and adjustable.
  • There is also a carry handle.

So any ideas of this being a quick ‘n’ easy make went right out of the window. It was totally consuming for two days! (Which is intense considering the pyjamas took 5hrs – having a pattern would have sped things up a bit, I know I spent a fair bit of time scratching my head). Construction photos didn’t even enter my mind, sadly, but I’m so happy/ jealous of it, I’m bound to make another. I did manage to take this progress shot before I got in too deep…

That’s most of the pieces prepared; quilted, overlocked and pockets attached. I’ll whiz through my order of construction…

  1. Mark my pieces onto the fabric & quilt in big sections.
  2. Make each face of the bag: front, back, sides, straps, cuff & flap; insides & outer. Attaching all the pockets, elastic and key loops.
  3. Make the base by sewing up the corners.
  4. Sew the outer bag together on the side seams then attach it to the base. Remembering to place the bottom straps (these ones are quite short & have the buckles attached)
  5. Sew the lining together, front, back sides & base.
  6. Make the flap, trim, turn & press.
  7. Make the padded straps. Insert the adjustment straps and sew into the seam before turning.
  8. Make the cuff (I put 2 eyelets on the foldline and stitched a channel for the elastic to sit in).
  9. Then pin the whole thing together;
  • Put the lining into the bag, wrong sides together.
  • Pin the straps & carry handle to the back of the bag.
  • Pin the flap (right side down) to the back.
  • Pin the right side of the outer edge of the cuff to the outside of everything.
  • Sew all the way around.
  • Fold the raw edge of the cuff over and pin from the right side to stitch in the ditch.

Now, that ended up as quite a lot of layers. To be honest, I’m really surprised that my machine coped with it. What with all the quilting, wadding, straps etc, I think that at one point I was going through upward of 14 layers of fabric! It wasn’t easy, I broke/ bent a couple of needles and had to go over it a few times, but together, me and my DKS30 got through it. And the finished bag (even if I do say so myself!) looks great.

It was a great surprise and MrA has delighted in every opportunity to get the oohs & aahs from our friends … while I stand there humbly smiling, while exploding inside and biting my tongue off to not say …I quilted it myself… look at the straps… that bit was 14 layers, you know… Thankfully both MrA and the oohing & aahing friends are kind (& interested) enough to ask all the right questions themselves… if I give them the chance.

As I said, I’d love to make another, but for now my sewing time has been bagged by other projects. I don’t really need a bag right now though as MrA is toting his everywhere and (for the meantime at least) happy to take my things!

Happy sewing.

Notes to self:

  • Plan out self drafted patterns fully. Then plan some more. 
  • Get all the bits & bobs before starting. 
  • Maybe stagger the seams at the back to reduce the layers…?
  • Try to cut down on obsessively googling bag hardware.