Friday, June 27, 2014

Quilted Denim Shoulder Bag with Pockets

After "shopping-'til-I-dropped" for the perfect bag to take on a trip, I made it myself! This easy-to-sew, machine washable, quilted denim "hobo" bag with adjustable shoulder straps has a place for everything, including water bottles and/or "sippy" cups. It can also double as a large purse or diaper bag! Pockets can also be added to some purchased fabric bags using these directions.

This bag has undergone several transformations! When I first created the bag, it was a larger, plain "hobo" bag. 

I immediately decided it was too large, so I cut it down to a more practical size. 

Here's the template for my bag after it was cut down to the "perfect size".

Quilted Denim (3/4 yard)
Quilted Tan Fabric (5" x 15"-1/2")
14" zipper
Jeans legs


Cut bag and straps from quilted denim. Use template to mark Points "A" and "B" on bag pieces.

With right sides together, sew points "A" to "B" approximately 1-1/4", using a 1/2" seam, creating bag opening. Finish edge with a zigzag stitch. 

Turn bag to right side. Turn opening fabric under 1/2". Follow directions to apply 14" zipper to bag opening, securing the zipper ends to bag.

Sew another row of stitching 1/8" from first stitching.

With right sides of bag together, sew around the sides and bottom of bag, from Point "C" to "C", leaving top sides open (See Diagram below.) Sew seam again to reinforce.

Fold straps together lengthwise and stitch using a 3/8" seam, leaving "D" open. Clip curves, turn, and press. 

Turn bag inside out. Insert strap in open end of bag top between Points "C" and "A". Finger pleat the extra fabric around each strap and pin. Securely stitch the straps to the bag (2-3 times), using a 1/2" seam. 

Turn the bag to the right side, and tie a knot in the straps, creating a shoulder strap.

Here's the bag with applique before I added the recent outside pockets.

A 6-1/2" x 8" rectangle was folded under 1/2" and 8" side was stitched to a 7" zipper. The remaining sides were pressed under 1/2" and top-stitched in place, forming a zippered pocket.

I added a pocket with a lined flap to the outside. I started with a 11" x 8-1/2" rectangle, squared the corners, and sewed it securely in place. I sewed a vertical seam to transform the pocket into 2 pockets, perfect for sunglasses and a cell phone or keys. This seam also divided the inside "zippered" pocket above into 2 sections. Velcro was added to the flap and outside of the pocket.

I decided it would be nice to have more pockets.

On the inside of the bag, I added a pocket made from a 18" x 5-1/2" rectangle cut from the bottom of a jeans' legs.  The jeans' hem became the top of the pocket, and I made 2 vertical seams to divide the pocket into 3 sections. 

I also sewed a small pocket made from the jeans' leg just below the zipper. For this pocket, I narrowly hemmed a 9" x 6" rectangle of a jeans' leg and folded it up 4", forming a 4" x 6" pocket. I then sewed it in place.

On the other side of the bag inside,  I added a large 13-1/2" x 8" rectangular pocket that can hold a book or magazine. Although this pocket covers the zippered pocket, both pockets can be used.

Now for the latest transformation! For a recent trip during which I would be babysitting, I wanted large outside pockets that could hold a water bottle and "Sippy Cup". I knew I had some leftover quilted denim, but unfortunately, it was not enough. Also, since I had washed the bag, the denim scraps were a little darker. Next I spied some tan quilted, and decided to add it to the pocket. It worked great! 

First, with right sides together, pin and sew the 2" denim strip to the tan strip lengthwise. Fold the 5" denim strip in half lengthwise and pin it to the right side of the tan strip. Sew both with a 3/8" seam and finish with a serger or zigzag stitch. 

Press both seams toward tan strip and top-stitch. Square or "box" the corners of the pocket by folding the denim quilted fabric and sewing "triangles" on each side. Sew the seam again, trim the excess fabric, and finish all seams.

Pocket with Boxed Bottom
With right sides together, pin and sew the bottom of the pocket to the bottom of the bag, using a 3/8" seam. Reinforced the seam by sewing the seam twice and back-stitching at the beginning and ending of the seam.

Next, I folded the pocket back up, folded the sides in 1/2", and pinned the pocket sides to the bag. I then inserted a water bottle and pinned the middle seam lines. I inserted the "sippy cup" to make sure that it would fit, also. The extra room created by the "boxed" bottom allows items to be inserted without the bag being "out of shape".

Note: This outside pocket was slightly wider than the inside "magazine" pocket on the inside.

I sewed the side seams securely and reinforced the seams by sewing the seam twice and back-stitching at the beginning and ending of the seams. Again I inserted the water bottle and "sippy" cup and readjusted my pins before sewing and reinforcing the two middle seams. The middle pocket can hold keys, a kid's snack, or a granola bar.

Now my bag is complete! It worked great on my trip! I have had many compliments on it! Although the tan insert on the pocket wasn't my plan, it actually enhanced the bag's overall appearance.

I love my bag!!

The shoulder straps are tied in a double "square knot", and they can easily be adjusted to any size for over the shoulder or in the front.

Nancy's Notes:
  • Hindsight is 20/20! I wish I had lined the quilted bag before adding inside pockets! Double-faced quilted fabric would be even better!
  • Of course, it would also be easier to add the pockets before the bag is sewn together.
  • I finished my seams on my serger, but a zigzag stitch works, also!
  • Machine Wash (gentle cycle) and hang to dry.
  • You can also add pockets to some purchased fabric bags. 
  • If you would like to read about my babysitting adventure, please see:                                     
  • Mamaw 911 "Triple Spring Tour"       
Have bag, will travel!

Let's go!!!

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