Hello Sewists. Here’s a fortunate turn of events to keep my blog ticking along while my broken arm mends (and sparing us another week from the Needle Case Tutorial!) A product review I wrote for Minerva Crafts some months ago is published today on their blog. At the same time I’d written full instructions on how to make this (what turned out to be an) awesome bag! So check out the Minerva blog for the review and some tips, but read on too for the full scoop…

First though, a quick ‘Broken-Arm’ catch up – Thank you SO MUCH for all your positive thoughts and good wishes for my recovery both here and on instagram, please, keep them coming! After 6 weeks in plaster they took the cast off a couple of days ago. If you read last week’s post then I ended up somewhere inbetween 1 and 2.

The cast came straight off and I was sent to X-ray. The guy let me have a look at it and I was pretty disappointed to see that it still looked broken. To my eye, even more clearly than it did on the X-ray I’d snuck a peek at on my initial visit. Although the area of the break felt weak and unprotected, everywhere else felt great to be out of the pressure of the cast. Anyway, In a nut-shell, it turns out I am a slow healer after all as the bone hasn’t knitted as much as they would like by this stage, and I have severely limited movement in my wrist and fingers – the physio nurse was very reassuring in her words, but her face told another story! So I’ve got a ton of exercises to do which I got on with as soon as I got home.

I’ll admit, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself as I sat in front of the mirror and tried to do the exercises for the first time. We all know as sewists how much we use both hands, and the range of movement required to sew. I am also a hairdresser which requires a fair amount of manual dexterity. It hit me hard that I had a long way to go. The doctor said two weeks before I’m back to work, which I guess isn’t so tragic… only I had such unrealistic expectations from the start!

Anyway, that same night I got in a hot bath and did the exercises again, the hot water really helped. I had to work on reception in the salon the following day. I didn’t do very much to be honest. I spent most of the day following hand exercise videos on youtube and applying comfrey oil. By the end of the day it was pretty swollen and sore, so I gave it a rest, but did the exercises again that night in the bath. I’m telling you all this because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… On the second day I woke up and it really felt like it was getting better. During my morning exercises I could see and feel the improvement in my range of movement – admittedly, it’s very minimal and there’s still a way to go, but I can see and feel it so am feeling WAY more positive. I’ve even started carrying things heavier than paper with my left hand! I’m aiming to be a Grade A hand-therapy student and want to show the nurse a real improvement at next weeks appointment. But, hey! What about that bag I made…

This one is based on the dimensions of MrA’s Goyard bag and was a birthday gift for a good friend of mine…

(you see, it was written/ made before the name change!)

When the list comes through for the Minerva Crafts product-review picks, I’m afraid I’m guilty of skimming over it and flagging anything takes my fancy… by the time I receive the fabric, I just hope I can remember what I thought I could do with it! I’ll be honest with you… I can’t for the life of me think why I chose this fabric, or what I thought I could do with it!

It’s a daisy punched eyelet faux leather. It’s stretchy, sticky and a bit of a bitch to work with! Did I mention it has holes cut out of it…?!

I wracked my brains and thought I’d underline it with nylon and make a coat for one of my nieces. I quickly scrapped that idea when I tried to topstitch it… no-go. Not with the teflon foot, not with the roller foot and not even with the walking foot… this fabric does not want to be topstitched!

Make yourself comfortable… this is how I made it (… and how you could make one too!)

What you’ll need:

(2 cm seam allowance is already included in the following measurements:)

Main fabric:

1 x Base-outer: 44 cm x 19 cm

2 x Bag- outer: 59 cm x 33 cm


2 x Base-lining: 44 cm x 19 cm

2 x Upper-bag-lining: 59 cm x 17 cm

2 x Lower-bag-lining: 59 cm x 27 cm

Heavy duty iron on interfacing:

1 x Base: 44 cm x 19 cm

I drew everything out straight onto the fabric and cut it out. I used a long metal ruler for the straight edges and a square quilting ruler to keep the corners accurate. I marked the outer fabric with a heat-erasing biro, and used chalk on the lining drill fabric (the green cotton drill is left over from my peacock pocket jeans).


55 cm separating zip (or a longer one & a pair of pliers!)

2 m webbing

4 x D-rings to fit the webbing

6 x studs

Of course, you’ll need, thread, a sewing machine, pins or clips, ruler, markers, d-rings, all sorts of sewing feet … your usual sewing kit. I used an all purpose size 80 needle.

Once you’ve got everything cut out it’s time start putting it all together.


  • Interface one base-lining.
  • Baste it to the base-outer with the right side of the lining against the wrong side of the outer fabric.

  • Attach studs to base.

(I bought a job-lot from Amazon a while ago. They’re pretty cheap but they do the job)

  • Prepare the bag-lining pieces by marking the 2 cm seam allowance at the bottom edge of the top pieces – and the top edge of the bottom pieces.
  • Mark another line parallel and 9 cm away from the edges (ie 7 cm from the marked SA). Fold and press at the furthest line from the seam with the right sides of the lining fabric facing together. Then fold and press the 2 cm SA with wrong sides together.

  • Baste the zip, face up onto the inside of the folded seam allowance of the lower-bag-lining. Position the teeth just over the fold (the zip ends, and the stitching need to start and stop at, or just inside the 2 cm seam allowance)

  • (Check your placement and alignment and baste the other side of the zip to the other lower-bag-lining piece – so you’re making both at the same time)
  • Position the top-lining-piece over the zip tape. Match up the creases at the sides and sew the side seam up to the 7 cm crease

  • Turn the flap through, tuck the seam allowance in by the zip and pin in place

  • Sew through all layers close to the zip

  • Snip the seam allowances to the end of the stitching and turn outwards.

  • Sew along the crease through both layers to hold the zip-flap together.

  • Pin the zip-flaps out of the way

  • Sew the bag-outer pieces to the lining pieces (right sides together) at the top seam
  • Understitch the seams to the lining (or topstitch the top edge if you’re not using sticky fabric!)

  • Open them out flat and pin the side seams, matching the seam halfway along

  • Sew up the side seams (careful in the middle, the zip-flap is pinned out of the way)
  • Fold the bag the right way round and line up the raw bottom seams. Pin or peg them
  • Mark the centre of the long edges on the bag
  • Mark the centre of each side of the base piece
  • Turn the bag inside out and pin the short edge of the base (RST) – lining up the centre mark with the side seam
  • Sew along the short edge, stopping and starting 2 cm from each edge

  • Take the other end and carefully pin/ peg to the other side, matching the centre of the other short end to the other side seam (careful not to twist the bag out of shape)
  • Sew like before, leaving 2 cm free at each end

  • Cut into the seam allowance of the main bag to the end of the stitching on the base
  • Align the long edges and sew them together – make sure you start and stop accurately, meeting with the stitching on the short ends

I don’t know what came over me here, but I decided to ‘burrito’ the base…

  • Clip the corners of the interfaced bag base
  • With the bag inside out and tucked out of the way, pin and sew the last base-lining-piece to the base
  • Sew one long side first, keeping the bag out of the way, sew up one of the short edges

  • Tuck the bag right inside and sew up the other long edge

  • Pull the bag out of the roll, tuck the seams in on the last short edge and handstitch in place (that’s why I left the short end, not the long one!)

Are you still with me? Just the straps to go now…

  • Cut 4 x 7 cm lengths of webbing. Burn or fraycheck the ends
  • Cut two more lengths (mine are 50 cm – including a 2 cm fold over at each end)
  • Fold the tabs over the D-rings and fold the bottom edge up to meet it
  • Peg them together (if you do this while the fraycheck is still wet, it will hold them together for now too)

  • Stitch the D-ring tabs to the outside top edge of the bag, 18cm in from each side
  • To keep them in place, I stitched the top, then the bottom then the sides separately.

  • Make a double fold on each end of the straps and sew them onto the D-rings

And that’s it! It’s done!

As I said, this ended up being a birthday present for a very good friend of mine, and thankfully, she loves it! I really like the size of it and wouldn’t mind one for myself… maybe made out of some denim and tweed leftovers, change the strap… hmmm…

So if that wasn’t all too confusing and you fancy having a go, please tag me in if you post it on instagram, I’d love to see yours! As you may be aware, I’ve made a few bags, so click the link at the top of the page if you want to see all the bag-posts in one place! (disclaimer; some are more detailed than others!)

And, hey, once you’ve made a bag, what better way is there to show off your Sewist pin…? (… available on Etsy!)

… I couldn’t help myself! Sorry!

Happy sewing.

Notes to self:

  • Always test fabric/ needle/ thread & stitch combination.
  • What the heck am I going to do with the remaining 3 m of fabric…!
  • Keep up the wrist exercises – but don’t over-do it!
  • Doing the exercises in the bath really helps.
  • Make myself a nice version of this bag (out of friendlier fabric!)