Asymmetrical means having two sides or halves that are not the same. I like to think that – really – most of the world is asymmetrical. Even Mother Nature knows matchy-matchy and even-steven can be too boring. Throwing in an interesting angle or a unique texture can take your project to the next level. The design of this bag started with an idea for the cool asymmetrical fold-over closure. From there, we worked with the wide selection of Dritz® Hardware to pull it altogether, adding swivel hooks and D-rings along with a fully adjustable shoulder strap. You’ll also love the clever full-width zippered pocket across the back of the bag.
The front of the bag is unbroken in order to accommodate a smooth fold-over. A small swivel hook and D-ring set attaches the swivel hook at the top of the bag to the D-ring on the front of the bag, keeping the diagonal closure in place.
The back of the bag features a full-width zippered pocket. We suggest a chunky metal zipper for the best look with the nickel finish of the hardware. Because this type of zipper is most commonly available in 20″+ lengths, we show you how to mark and trim a longer zipper for a perfect fit.
The zippered back panel pocket is constructed with a classic fold-and-stitch method, which allows for a fully-finished inner sleeve. In true Sew4Home fashion, we have extra instructions, photos, and even a cross-section drawing to take you every step of the way. Remember, do not fear the zipper is one of our favorite sayings!
The bag’s strap is fully adjustable, but is not fully detachable… since there are not alternative handles. Instead, the swivel hook at one side of the crossbody strap simply acts as a bit of great hardware embellishment. If you’re brand new to making an adjustable strap, the instructions below link you to our full step-by-step tutorial.
As with most commercial bags, for the longest life, this bag is meant to be spot cleaned. Spraying the outside with a stain repellant, such as ScotchGard or similar is a good protective step. That said, all the elements used in the bag are machine washable, and on a gentle cycle in cold water, you could likely get away with a full wash. However, tumble drying isn’t recommended. Let the bag air dry after any cleaning.
Our Asymmetrical Crossbody Bag finishes at approximately 15″ high x 11″ wide with a 4″ base and sides. When clipped into place along the diagonal, the short side height is 9”. The adjustable strap is about 57” fully extended.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide mid-weight linen or cotton/linen blend for the exterior and the lining pocket; we used Treads in Steel, a cotton/linen blend from the Arroyo collection by Erin Dollar for Robert Kaufman Fabrics from Fat Quarter Shop
- ¾ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton in a coordinating solid for the lining; we used Kona Cotton in Pewter by Robert Kaufman Fabrics from Fat Quarter Shop
- 2 yards 1” wide webbing/belting for the adjustable strap; we recommend Dritz 1” wide belting
- ¼ yard of ½” wide webbing for the riveted tabs (same color as used for the strap); we used black cotton webbing, purchased locally
- ONE 16”+ coordinating “chunky” zipper; we used a 24” zipper, which we cut down to fit**
- ½ yard of 44″+ fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 20″+ mid-weight fusible interfacing (you need a 7” square); we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ONE ½” swivel hook & D-ring; we used a Dritz ½” Swivel Hook & D-Ring in nickel
- ONE 1” slide adjuster; we used a Dritz 1” Slide Adjuster in nickel
- TWO 1” D-rings; we used Dritz 1” D-Rings in nickel
- ONE 1” swivel hook; we used a Dritz Swivel Hook in nickel
NOTE: The listed size is ⅞” – but the 1” strap fits through with no problem.
- EIGHT rivets; we used Dritz 8mm x 6mm Double Cap Rivets in nickel
- Setting tools for rivets; we used Dritz Cutting and Setting Tools Set for Double Cap Rivets
NOTE: We also recommend an Awl for help starting and opening the rivet holes in the thickest layers.
- All-purpose thread to match fabric and webbing
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Craft scissors for cutting the zipper **
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Dritz® Fray Check seam sealant; to finish the webbing ends
- Small hammer to set rivets; we recommend a soft leather mallet or a ball peen hammer
- Heavy metal, stone or wooden block to use as a cutting and hammering surface; we use a small granite block
- From the fabric for the main exterior and the lining pocket, cut the following:
ONE 8″ x 8″ square for the lining pocket
ONE 16″ wide x 20″ high rectangle for the exterior front
ONE 16″ wide x 20½” high rectangle for the exterior back, sub-cut this panel horizontally into TWO pieces: one at 16” x 10½” for the top portion of the back exterior and one at 16” x 10” for the bottom portion of the back exterior
- From the fabric for the lining, cut the following:
ONE 8″ x 8″ square for the lining pocket
ONE 16″ wide x 13½” high rectangle for the zippered pocket lining
TWO 16″ wide x 17½” high rectangles for the main lining panels
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
ONE 15″ x 17″ rectangle for the front exterior
ONE 15″ x 7″ rectangle for the back exterior top section
ONE 15″ x 8½” rectangle for the back exterior bottom section
- From the mid-weight interfacing, cut ONE 7” x 7” square.
- From the 1” webbing, cut ONE 60” length and TWO 3¾” lengths.
- From the ½” webbing, cut ONE 4” length and ONE 3” length.
- Apply a line of seam sealant to each cut end of each webbing length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Fuse the fleece to the exterior panels
- Find the three exterior panels: one for the front and two for the back, along with the three pieces of fusible fleece.
- On the front panel, place the fleece on the wrong side of the fabric so it sits 2½” down from the top raw edge and ½” in from the side and the bottom raw edges. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- On the back top panel, place the fleece on the wrong side of the fabric so it sits 2½” down from the top raw edge, ½” in from the side raw edges, and 1” up from the bottom raw edge (the edge that will be next to the zipper). Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- On the back bottom panel, place the fleece on the wrong side of the fabric so it sits 1” down from the top raw edge (the edge that will be next to the zipper), ½” in from the side raw edges, and ½” up from the bottom raw edge. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Along the upper edge of the exterior front panel, fold back the top raw edge ½” and press. Fold back an additional 2” and press again to form the upper hem. Lightly pin in place.
Rivet the front D-Ring to the front exterior
- Find the ½” D-ring and the 3” length of ½” webbing.
- Find the front exterior panel, which should already have its fleece fused in place.
- Measure 11½” down from the top folded edge of the fabric panel and 6” in from the right raw edge of the fabric panel. Place a pin at the intersection of these two measurements.
- Place a second marking pin 1½” below the first marking pin.
- Find the 3″ length of webbing. Fold in one end ½”; this will be the bottom end. Slip the opposite raw end through D-Ring then fold it back on itself 1”. Pin both ends in place. Remember, you should have already added a line of seam sealant to each cut end of each webbing length.
- Set the D-ring and tab into position on the front panel between the two marking pins and re-pin through all the layers.
- Mark for the two rivets, centering them within the tab so there is about ¾” between the rivet points.
- Set the rivets, using the appropriate setting tools.
- First cut the hole through all the layers.
- Set the top and bottom halves into position through the hole and, using the setting anvil, hammer to seal.
- As mentioned above, you should use a very hard surface to hammer against for the best seal. We like to use a small block of granite.
- Repeat to add the second rivet.
NOTE: Riveting is easier than you might think (especially with the Dritz rivets and tools), and we’ve simply summarized the steps above. Check out our Metal Rivets Tutorial if you are brand new to the technique.
- Set aside the front panel.
Add the zipper pocket to the back exterior panel
- Find the two back exterior panels, both of which should already have their fleece fused in place. Also collect the zipper and the zippered pocket fabric panel.
- On the exterior bottom section, fold back the upper raw edge ½” and press well.
- Fold back one 16” raw edge of the zippered pocket panel½” and press well.
- Place the exterior panel and the pocket panel wrong sides together, slipping the pocket panel up and under the exterior panel so the two folded-back edges align.
- Re-fold the top edges and pin in place.
- Find the zipper. On the pull end, measure ⅝” out from the top zipper stop and draw a line. This line is what you will use to align with the edge of the fabric, allowing you a ½” seam allowance plus ⅛” of “breathing space” against the pull when the zipper is closed and in position on the finished bag.
- Mark this point on each side of the zipper tape.
- Place the zipper flat, closed, and right side up on your work surface.
- Flip over the layered bottom section so it is right side up and position the top folded edge ¼” from the center of the zipper teeth across the zipper’s bottom zipper tape.
- Pin the layered bottom section in place, measuring several times to insure the folded edge stays exactly ¼” from the center of the teeth across the entire panel.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and to best match the lining fabric in the bobbin. We used a medium gray throughout in both top and bobbin for all construction. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Attach a Zipper foot.
- Edgestitch across the panel.
- Because you are working farther away from the zipper teeth, if your Zipper foot is nice and narrow as our Janome foot is, you are unlikely to need to open and close the zipper to stitch across.
NOTE: If your foot is wider or if you do not have a Zipper foot, start with the zipper about half way open. When you feel you are approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Raise the presser foot and twist the layers slightly so you can access the pull. Then move the pull out of the way of the presser foot. Once clear, drop the presser foot, re-position the layers, and finish the seam.
- The photo below shows what the panels should look like on the back side.
- Find the top exterior section. Fold back the bottom raw edge ½” and press well.
- Place the bottom exterior section right side up on your work surface. The top zipper tape remains free.
- Place the bottom folded edge of the top exterior section along the top zipper tape, making sure you keep the same width from the teeth as for the bottom section: ¼” from the center of the zipper teeth. Pin in place.
- Flip over the assembled back panel so it is wrong side up. Fold up the bottom raw edge of the pocket lining panel so it aligns with the folded back raw edge of the top section.
- Flip right side up again and re-pin across the top section through all the layers. We’ve lifted up the bottom section in the photo below so you can see how the pocket is folded up into position.
- The illustration below, which is a cross section, will also help you see how everything folds together. This is a classic pocket construction technique.
- Using the same threading and stitch set-up, and still using a Zipper foot, edgestitch across the top panel through all the layers.
- Trim away the excess zipper tape at the zipper pull end.
- Along the upper edge of the assembled back panel, as you did for the front panel, fold back the top raw edge ½” and press. Fold back an additional 2” and press again to form the upper hem. Press well. Lightly pin in place.
Assemble the exterior front to back and add the D-Ring tabs
- On both the front and back exterior panels, un-pin and then unfold the top hems so the crease lines are still visible, but so you can stitch all the way from top to bottom of the panels.
- Place the front and back exterior panels right sides together aligning all the raw edges.
- Pin together along each side. The top and bottom remain open.
NOTE: You can see in the photo above that the end of our zipper remains long. If you used an extra long zipper, this is correct. You’ll cut it flush after stitching.
- Re-attach a standard presser foot and re-set for a normal stitch length.
- Using a ½” seam allowance stitch both side seams.
- On the zipper end side, if you used a longer zipper as we did, this means you’ll be stitching across the teeth. It’s best to stop and hand-walk the needle across the metal teeth to avoid any damage to your needle.
- When both side seams are stitched, cut away the excess zipper if necessary. Make sure you grab your craft scissors for this step – not your good sewing scissors. First cut away the tape flush with the seam allowance.
- Then, carefully cut out the teeth.
- Find the two 1” D-rings and the two 3¾” lengths of 1” webbing.
- Fold up one end of one length of webbing ½” and pin in place. Slip the opposite raw end through the D-ring, pull it back on itself about 1”, and pin in place. Repeat to create the second tabbed D-ring.
- Turn the exterior bag, which is now a tube, right side out.
- On the RIGHT side seam (right side, looking down at the front of the bag), center the tab over the seam so the bottom folded edge of the tab is 9” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. Pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the webbing in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Secure the tab in place with an open Box stitch.
- On the LEFT side seam (left side, looking down at the front of the bag), center the tab over the seam so the bottom of the D-ring sits approximately ½” above the folded top hem of the bag. Pin in place.
- Un-fold that top hem again (the crease line should still be visible). You need to stitch the tab in place through just the single layer of the bag — not through the folded top hem.
- As above for the right side tab, secure this tab in place with an open Box stitch.
- As you did above with the narrow tab, mark for two rivets on each tab, centering them within the tab so they are approximately ¾” apart.
- Following the same steps as above, and using the appropriate setting tools, cut holes at each marked point.
- Hammer to set each of the four rivets in place.
Box the bottom corners
- Turn the exterior tube wrong side out. Pin the panels together along the bottom.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Re-thread with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the bottom. You are stitching along but not directly on the fusible fleece.
- With the sewn exterior still wrong side out, create 4″ box corners, which means your “box” will be half that size or 2″. Measure a box at each corner.
- Cut out both boxes.
- Press open the seam allowances and align the side and bottom seams, flattening each corner. Pin across the corner.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, double stitch across the corner.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How To Box Corners for more details.
- Turn the main bag right side out, push out the corners, and press.
Prepare the lining with its pocket
- Find the two main lining panels, the two lining pocket panels, and the square of mid-weight fusible interfacing.
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the exterior lining pocket panel. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place the exterior pocket panel and the lining pocket panel right sides together. All edges should be flush.
- Pin in place around all four sides, leaving a 2-3” opening along the bottom for turning.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and bobbin.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock the seam at either side of the opening.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the bottom opening. Using a long, blunt end tool, push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this.
- Press the pocket flat, pressing in the raw edges of the seam allowance at the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Find one of the main lining panels. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the pocket on the lining panel. It should sit 4″ down from the top raw edge of the lining panel and be centered side to side. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin and slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. Use a substantial backstitch at both top corners to help reinforce these stress points on the pocket.
- Place the front and back lining panels right sides together, sandwiching the sewn pocket between the layers. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom
- Re-set for a normal stitch length.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners.
- Following the same steps above as for the exterior, create box corners in both bottom corners of the lining.
NOTE: Remember, if you are new to this technique, you can check out our full, step-by-step tutorial: How To Box Corners for more details.
Assemble exterior and lining
- With the lining wrong side out and the exterior right side out, slip the lining inside the exterior so the two are now wrong sides together. Unfold the top hem of the exterior.
- Align the side seams and the bottom boxed corners. Position the lining so its pocket is against the back of the exterior (the zippered pocket side). The top raw edge of the lining should sit about 2½” down from the top, unfolded raw edge of the exterior.
- Re-fold the top hem of the exterior so the folded down edge of the hem covers the top raw edge of the lining a full 2″. Pin the hem in place all around.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch all the way around the top, staying close to the bottom fold of the hem.
Add the final Swivel Hook closure
- Find the ½” swivel hook and the 4” length of ½” webbing.
- Slip the webbing through the swivel hook.
- Fold in the ends similarly to the tabs for all the D-Rings above, folding up the bottom end ½” and folding the top end back on itself approximately 1½”. Your finished tab should now be about 1¾”. Pin the folds in place.
- The swivel hook is positioned on the back side of the bag (the zippered pocket side). When looking down at the back of the bag, the hook should be placed on the left side.
- The bottom folded edge of the tab should be ¾” above the seam line of the top hem. The left side edge of the tab should sit ½” from the left side seam of the bag. When pinned in position, this means that the swivel hook itself should sit about ½” above the top folded edge of the bag.
- Mark for rivets that are centered and about ¾” apart as they are on the other three tabs.
- As above, insert the two rivets.
Create the adjustable strap
- Find the 60” length of 1” webbing and the 1” swivel clip.
- Insert one raw end of the webbing through the swivel clip, pulling it back on itself about 1½”.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the webbing in the top and bobbin.
- Zig zag across the folded back end of the webbing to secure the swivel hook in place. We went back and forth three times with our zig zag seam.
- Slip the free end of the webbing over center bar of the adjustable slider.
- Then feed the free end through the upper left D-Ring on the bag and back over the center bar of the slider – you are now working underneath the first pass of the webbing through the slider as shown in the photo below. Pull the end back on itself and secure with a double or triple zig zag stitch, running the seam as close as possible to the center bar.
NOTE: If this seems like an origami puzzle, have no fear. Our friends at Dritz sponsored a complete, step-by-step tutorial on how to create an adjustable strap.
- Clip the 1″ swivel hook to the opposite lower right D-Ring. Then, fold down the top corner with its ½” swivel hook at a diagonal and attach the hook to the front ½” D-ring to finish.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild