This summer, I found out about a ministry that provides some basic diaper bag-type items for new moms in a foreign ministry. (I'll post more on that when I show the finished bags the girls did).
We just finished a unit on sanctity of life in the high school girls' ministry class, and I thought it would be fun to make the little tote bags that we are to put the goodies in.
They just asked for the cheap poly bags from the dollar store...sort of like this one ---->
3/4 yd of 45" decent quality cotton fabric is plenty; that leaves enough to square the ends up, assuming it wasn't cut wildly off grain.
So..for the straps, tear two 4" strips across the entire length (they will be 4" x 45"); if the selvedges are an issue, just trim them off.
For the bag body, cut two rectangles 15 x 13, with the longest dimension running along the grainline.
Step 1: make the straps.
Fold the strap pieces in half
lengthwise, with the wrong side out, and stitch the length of the long
seam with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Tip: Press the seams open, one side at a time, but be careful not to press the fold.
Turn strap; press flat with the seam
centered on one side.
Step 2: Pre-press top hem:
Fold top edge
under 1" (use a cardstock template, if you can) on each body piece;
press. Turn under a second time and press. Do not stitch yet.
Step 3: Apply straps
Matching one raw edge of
strap to bottom raw edge, place strap so that the center seam is
towards the bag and lies 3.5 inches away from the side edge.. Then
carefully, without twisting strap, bend it back so that the opposite
end is aligned with the bottom raw edge again, with the strap parallel
to the other vertical edge, 3.5 inches from the vertical raw edge (I did have a photo of that, but somehow it has gotten misfiled.).
Mark the strap 2" below top folded edge of bag.
stitch strap from bottom raw edge, up to pinned mark, across strap at
the pin, and back down to the bottom raw edge. Repeat for other end of
the strap, and repeat entire process for other bag body piece.
Step 4: bottom seam
Lay both body pieces
right sides together.
Spend a little time entertaining the sewing assistant, who is obviously feeling neglected.
Stitch bottom seam w/a 1/2" Seam allowance. Zig-zag edges of seam together, press to one side and topstitch down to give a little more reinforcement to the bottom seam.
Step 5: Side seams
Fold body pieces right
sides together again; open out pressed hem edges and stitch from lower
seam to top raw edge w/a 1/2" seam allowance. Finish edges together; don't press them just yet.
Step 7: bottom corners
This is the trickiest part of the whole bag.
Turn bag wrong side
out and pull out one corner to a point. Match side seam and bottom seam
as they go away from the point (you should have a right angle, with the
seams lined up running right up the middle). Lay a flat ruler so that the 2"
mark is right on the seams, slide 2" mark along seam until the 'zero' of
the ruler is at one edge and the 4" mark is at the other. Draw a light
pencil mark along ruler and remove the ruler, being careful not to
disturb the bag. Pin across pencil mark to secure, then machine stitch
on top of pencil mark, securing stitches at either end.
Trim corner off, leaving 1/2" seam allowance; finish edge of seam allowance.
Repeat for other corner.
Step 8: Top hem
Press side seams to the side they were stitched down on the corner seam. Re fold
and re-press top edges at the seams. Turn bag right side out and, with
right side against feed dogs, edge stitch hem at inner fold, being
careful not to catch straps.
Bad picture of a nice little bag, eh? ;-)