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Soft Slouch Shoulder Bag in Plaid Flannel & Denim

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For yourself or as a gift, this shoulder bag is the ideal blend of two cool weather wardrobe staples: soft plaid flannel and crisp denim. The bag’s slight teardrop shape and soft construction gives it a signature slouch that’s as everyday-comfortable as your favorite flannel shirt and jeans. Plaid continues as a hot fashion topic in fashion this year. 

The bag’s design is reminiscent of the classic Pendleton® ‘49er jacket, so we called upon our retro-chic model, Anna to show it off in vintage style with a modern twist.

Meant as a casual bag, these two timeless fabrics could just as easily be dressed up and would look gorgeous against the quintessential wool coat or even faux fur. 

We chose the yarn-dyed Mammoth Flannel, Fat Quarter Shop has a great selection of this Robert Kaufman classic, which is woven in for an all-the-way-through richness that is the perfect compliment to the stripe and solid denim.

The red lumberjack style plaid brings a welcome pop of color against cloudy skies. Dark denim is always on-trend, and the accent denim railroad stripe injects just the right bit of whimsy. 

In addition to the terrific trio of fabrics, we added sleek metal hardware accents for a professional finishing touch. There are D-Rings, a Swivel Lock front closure, a top magnetic snap, and tough rivets. Of course, Sew4Home has extra tutorials to take you step-by-step through these and other handy techniques.  

We used a fusible fleece for the body of the bag, adding in a mid-weight fusible to give the base of the bag and its shoulder strap a bit of extra structure. The overall relaxed softness will make it an instant favorite. No uncomfortable stiff corners or hard edges here. Sling it over your shoulder or simply grab and go.

If you feel a less flexible bag is more to your liking, you could substitute the fleece with a fusible foam. It wouldn’t be our first choice, but we always like to mention options so you can determine what’s best for you. 

Our Soft Slouch Shoulder Bag finishes at about 14” high x 14” wide x 3” deep. The 20” shoulder strap results in an approximate 9” drop.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started & Pattern Download

  1. Download and print the Curved Bottom Pattern. This pattern is designed to be cut on the fold. 
    IMPORTANT: The PDF pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page to confirm your print out is to scale. 
  2. From the plaid flannel, cut TWO 18” wide x 16½” high rectangles for the main front and back exterior panels. Take the extra time to insure your plaid is straight top to bottom and side to side. 
  3. From the solid denim, cut the following:
    Using the pattern, cut two on the fold for the front and back curved bottom exterior panels

    ONE 15” wide x 4” high rectangle for the exterior base
    TWO 5” wide x 7” high rectangles for the side D-Ring loops
    ONE 2½” x 8½” strip for the front closure strap
    ONE 2½” x 15½” strip for the back closure strap
  4. From the railroad denim, cut the following:
    NOTE: The main pieces should be cut with the stripe running vertically - just the shoulder strap is cut with the stripe running horizontally. 
    ONE 15” wide x 13” high rectangle for the exterior pocket
    TWO 17¾” wide x 14½” high rectangles for the lining panels
    ONE 11” wide x 9½” high rectangle for the lining pocket
    ONE 15” wide x 4” high rectangle for the lining base
    ONE 5” x 23” strip for the handle strap (horizontal stripe)
  5. From the mid-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
    Using the pattern, but cutting along the dotted seam line rather than the solid exterior line, cut TWO on the fold.

    ONE 10” x 7” rectangle for the lining pocket
    ONE 2” x 22” strip for the handle strap
    ONE 14” x 3” rectangle for the lining base
    TWO 2” x 6” strips for the side D-Ring loops
  6. From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
    TWO 17” x 14” rectangles for the exterior panels
    ONE 14” x 3” rectangle for the exterior base

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the shoulder strap

  1. Find the 5” x 23” railroad denim strip and the 2” x 22” interfacing strip.
  2. Fold the fabric strip in half so it is now 2½” x 23”. Press to set a center crease line. Open wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of the strip. One 22” edge of the interfacing should be flush with the center crease line. There should then be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along each side and across the bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
    NOTE: Our railroad denim looked the same on the right side and the wrong side.
  3. Re-fold the strip along the original crease line, but this time folding right sides together. Pin together all around, leaving a 3” opening for turning at the center of the long side. 
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across both ends and down the side, pivoting at the corners. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 3” opening. 
  5. Press open the seam allowance and clip the corners
  6. Turn right side out through the center opening. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, long knitting needle or point turner works well for this. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  7. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  8. Edgestitch around all four sides, stabilizing the strap and closing the opening used for turning. 
    NOTE: We switched to our Janome Edge Guide foot for all precision edgestitching. 
  9. Set aside the strap.

Make the thin front and back closure straps

  1. Find the two 2½” solid denim strips. One at ONE 8½” and one at 15½”.
  2. Fold both straps in half, right sides together, so they are now 1¼” wide. 
  3. On the longer strap, pin along the side and across one end. On the shorter strap just pin along the side – both ends are open.
  4. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  5. Using a ¼” seam allowance (we used our Quarter Inch Seam foot), on the longer strap, stitch along the side and across one end, pivoting at the corner. On the shorter strap just stitch along the side.
  6. Press open the seam allowance and clip the corners.
  7. Turn each strip right side out through an open end. Push out the corner on the longer strip so it's nice and sharp (as above with the handle strap). Press both strips flat.
  8. Re-thread the machine with the topstitching thread in the top and matching thread in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  9. You are going to “pre-stitch” the top end of each strap. 
  10. On shorter strap, measure from one raw end down 2”.
  11. Edgestitch (just ⅛” in from the edge) along both sides for just that 2” length. At the bottom of the seam, use a lock stitch if possible for the neatest finish. If you don’t have this feature on your machine, simply stop and leave the thread tails long, then pull them through to the back of the strap and make tiny hand-tied knots to secure each seam, trimming the excess thread close to the knots.
  12. Find the 1" D-Ring. Slip the stitched end of the strap through the ring, pulling the strap back on itself about ¾” - 1”. You need to pull it back just enough to allow your presser foot to clear the ring. Pin the end in place.
  13. Stitch across to secure the end of the strap around the D-Ring. You are stitching between the vertical edge stitching; do not cross over the seams. 
  14. The longer strap is stitched in the same manner, but you are pre-edgestitching from the one finished end down 3¾”.
  15. Pull the finished end through the 1" swivel clip. As above, you’ll pull through about ¾” - 1” – just enough for the presser foot to clear the clip.
  16. Stitch across to secure the clip in place. Remember, stitch between the vertical edgestitching; do not cross it. 
  17. Set aside the straps.

Make the exterior and lining pockets

  1. Find the 15” x 13” exterior pocket panel. It is not interfaced or lined. 
  2. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  3. Make a narrow hem along both 13” sides. To do this, fold back the raw edge ¼” and press, then fold another ¼” and press again. Pin the sides in place. 
  4. Make a wide hem along the top. To do this, fold back the raw edge ½”  and press, then fold another 1½” and press again. 
  5. The bottom edge remains raw.
  6. Pin in place. With the same slightly lengthened stitch as above for the edgestitching, sew across the top hem, close to the inner folded edge.
  7. Set aside the exterior pocket. 
  8. Find the 11” x 9½” lining pocket panel and the 10” x 7” interfacing piece.
  9. Fuse the interfacing on the wrong side of the pocket panel. It should sit ½” in from each side and ½” up from the bottom. This will make the interfacing’s top edge 2” down from the top raw edge of the fabric panel. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  10. Make a narrow hem along both sides and across the bottom. As above, to do this, fold back the raw edge ¼” and press, then fold another ¼” and press again.
  11. Also as above, make a wide hem along the top. To do this, fold back the raw edge ½” and press, then fold another 1½” and press again. Pin all the hems in place. 
  12. Sew across the top hem, close to the inner folded edge.
  13. Set aside the lining pocket.

Make the side D-Ring loops.

  1. Find the 5” x 7” solid denim rectangles and the 2” x 6” pieces of interfacing.
  2. Fold the fabric strips in half so they are now 2½” x 7”. Press to set a center crease line. Open wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of the strip. One 6” edge of the interfacing should be flush with the center crease line. There should then be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along each side and across the bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Re-fold the strips along the crease line, but this time folding right sides together. Pin across one end and down the side of each.
  4. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across one end and down the side, pivoting at the corner. Press open the seam allowance and clip the corners
  6. Turn right side out through the open end. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press flat.
  7. Re-thread the machine with the topstitching thread in the top and thread to match the fabric in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  8. On each strap, edgestitch around the three sides (the raw open end is not edgestitched), stabilizing the strap.
  9. Set aside the two straps.

Prepare the curved bottom panels

  1. Find the two curved exterior panels cut from the pattern and the matching pieces of interfacing. Center an interfacing piece on the wrong side of each fabric panel. There should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing all around. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place. 
  2. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  3. Along the top curved edge of each panel, run a single line of stitching at a ½” seam allowance from end to end. This gives you a guide on which to fold the curved edge. 
  4. Fold back the raw edge along this stitching line along the entire top curve. Press in place.
  5. Finish the raw edge. We used pinking shears, you could also use a zig zag stitch or the machine sewn finish of your choice. 
  6. Set aside the two curved panels. 

Attach the straps to the exterior panels

  1. Find the two plaid panels and the two large fusible fleece panels. Center a fleece panel on the wrong side of each plaid panel. The bottom of the fleece should sit ½” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel and ½” in from both sides. The top of the fleece should sit 2” down from the top raw edge of the panel so it will be out of the final top hem. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  2. Select one fused plaid panel (this will become the back assembled panel). Place it right side up on your work surface.
  3. Find the exterior pocket. Place the pocket right side up on top of the plaid panel. The bottom raw edges of the two layers will be flush, and the pocket will be centered (approximately 2” in from each side) on the main panel with extra plaid to either side. This extra will eventually become the side of the bag.
  4. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch along each side of the pocket. 
  5. Fold or measure to find the exact center of the pocket along the bottom raw edge. Mark this point with a pin. 
  6. Measure 2¾” up from the bottom raw edge at this center pin point. 
  7. Find the longer thin strap with its swivel clip in place. Use your measurements to set the bottom raw edge of this strap so it is centered on the pocket and 2¾” up from the bottom raw edge of the pocket. Pin in place.
  8. This 2¾” height allows the raw end of the strap to fall behind the curved bottom panel. If you want to double check that all your positioning is correct, you can set the bottom curved panel in place (raw edges flush with the main panel along the sides and bottom), confirming that the strap dips below the finished curved edge at the exact center by about ½”.
  9. Re-thread the machine with the topstitching thread in the top and thread to best match the fabric in the bobbin. The stitch should still be slightly lengthened. 
  10. Stitch from the bottom raw edge of the strap, up to the previous stopping point of your pre-edgestitching. You are stitching bottom to top along one side, then re-setting to stitch bottom to top along the opposite side.
  11. Stop and lock each seam with the smallest of overlap when you meet the pre-edgestitching (we overlapped just one stitch). As above, use a lock stitch to finish the seam or leave the thread tails long and hand-knot at the back to secure. 
  12. Find the front plaid panel and the shorter strap. It is secured in the same manner, but there is no pocket, so you simply find the center of the panel, and pin the unstitched raw end of the strap in place: centered and 2¾” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. 
  13. Pin the strap in place, and then, just as you did on the back strap, edgestitch along each side, matching the stopping point of each line of edgestitching with the previously stitched edgestitching that secured the D-Ring. 
  14. Mark to place one rivet at the top of the pocket. It should sit approximately ½” down from the pocket’s top edge and be centered side to side. 
  15. Insert through all the layers.
  16. If you’re new to this technique, we have a good step-by-step tutorial on inserting metal rivets.
  17. Repeat to mark the position for a rivet on the front strap. It should be centered side to side with the middle of the rivet ½” below the horizontal seam.
  18. Insert in the same manner through all the layers. Don’t forget to review our riveting tutorial if need be. 

Apply the curved bottom panels and stitch the side seams

  1. Find the two curved bottom panels in the solid denim. 
  2. Place the assembled back exterior panel right side up on your work surface. Place the bottom curved panel in place, right side up at the base of the panel. The sides and the bottom edges of the layers should be flush and the raw end of the strap should be hidden behind the top of the curve. Pin in place along the curve through all the layers. 
  3. The machine should still be threaded with the topstitching thread in the top and the thread matching the fabric in the bobbin and the stitch should still be slightly lengthened.
  4. Edgestitch along the curve through all the layers. 
  5. Attach the remaining curved panel to the front panel in the same manner. 
  6. Place the front and back assembled exterior panels right sides together. Align both side edges, being particularly careful to align the curved panels and the panels' topstitching. Pin the sides in place.
  7. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  8. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both side seams. 

Create the lining

  1. Find the two main lining panels and the lining pocket. 
  2. Place one panel right side up on your work surface. Place the pocket right side up on top of this panel. The pocket should be centered side to side with its top edge 3½” down the top raw edge of the panel and its bottom edge 4” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom. 
  3. Measure to find the exact center of the pocket and use your fabric pen or pencil to draw in a vertical line at this center point.
  4. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. Then divide the pocket into two sections by stitching along the drawn vertical center line.
  5. Place the front and back lining panels right sides together, sandwiching the pocket between the layers. Pin along both sides. 
  6. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both side seams. 

Insert the base panels

  1. Find the 15" x 4" lining base panel and the 14" x 3" fusible interfacing panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the base panel so there is ½" of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all four sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place. 
  2. Repeat to fuse the fleece base panel to the exterior base panel. 
  3. Find the exact center of each side of each base panel and place a pin at these four points. 
  4. Find the body of the lining, which is now a tube. Turn it wrong side out if it isn’t already. The two side seams represent your tube’s side quadrant points. To find the two remaining quadrant points, bring the side seams together so they align, creating a fold at the outer edges. Place a pin in each fold. Now both your base panel and your tube have four matching quadrant center points. 
  5. Repeat to mark the exterior tube in the same manner.
  6. Pin the base panel right sides together with the body of the bag. Align the center pin point of the base panel’s short side with the side seam of the bag. Pin in place. 
  7. Starting ½” in (at the corner of the fleece/interfacing) stitch across this first short side, using a ½” seam allowance. Stop the seam ½” from the opposite corner (at the opposite corner of the fleece/interfacing).
  8. Remove the project from the machine. In order to create the flattest base possible, you need to clip into each corner of the tube. Snip into the corner at a diagonal at a depth of about ⅜". You are clipping right up to but not through your stitching line.
  9. This frees up the seam allowance so it can bend or “ease” around the corner, allowing you to more easily stitch the next side. Pin and then stitch this next side, again starting and stopping the seam at the ½” mark. 
  10. Stitch each side in the same manner, then repeat to insert the lining base. If you are brand new to inserting a base in this manner, take a look at our full tutorial on How to Insert a Rectangular Base into a Tube. It will be super helpful to wrap your head around the four independent seams and the corner cuts.

Attach the side D-Ring loops

  1. Turn the exterior bag right side out. Along the top, make a 2” double fold hem. To do this, fold back the raw edge ½” and press, then fold down an additional 1½” and press again. Press well and steam, especially for the second fold, to set a truly visible crease. 
  2. Unfold just the second fold of the hem, leaving the very top folded back ½” and the second crease fully visible. Using this crease line as your “top point” measure down the side seam 3½”. This will be where the bottom finished end of the D-Ring loop sits. Place a pin at the seam, then measure 1” to the right of the seam and 1” to the left of the seam. These three pins give you the guide points for the base of the D-Ring loop. 
  3. Pin the D-Ring loop in position centered over the side seam. Find the D-Ring itself and slip the the raw end of the loop through it. 
  4. Fold the raw end back on itself until it sits about 1” up from the finished end. This fold should be in line with the visible crease line of the flannel panel as shown in the photo below. Pin in place.
  5. Re-thread the machine with the topstitching thread in the top and matching thread in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch. 
  6. Following along the original edgestitching, secure the loop in place with an 1¾” X Box stitch. If you are new to this fastening techique, check out our full tutorial

Add the magnetic snap and assemble to finish

  1. The plaid flannel we recommend for this project is wonderfully soft, which means we also recommend stabilizing the area for the magnetic snap closure at the top. To do this, cut two small squares from the medium weight fusible interfacing. 
  2. Find the exact center along the top of both the front and back plaid panels. In both cases, this point would be centered directly above the narrow straps on the front and back. Slip a square of interfacing under the upper fold of the hem at each marked point and fuse in place.
  3. Insert one half of the magnetic snap at each center point from front to back. 
  4. Remember, you’ll be folding down the hem into its final position, facing the inside of the bag. This is the side on which the each front half of the snap should sit. If you are new to inserting a magnetic snap, of course we have a full tutorial. Check it out here
  5. Find the lining bag, it should be wrong side out. Slip it into the exterior bag (which should be right side out) so the two layers are now wrong sides together. The lining pocket should be against the back of the exterior bag. Fold the top hem down into position over the top raw edge of the lining and pin in place all around. 
  6. Re-thread the machine with the thread to best match the plaid fabric in the top and bobbin. Keep the stitch slightly lengthened.
  7. Topstitch around the entire top opening of the bag. For the best look, stop and lock your stitch at either side of all the straps (both the front and back narrow straps and the side D-Ring loops). In other words, it will look best if you to not topstitching over the straps. If possible, use a lock stitch to secure the seam. If not, use a very small and careful back stitch.

Rivet the shoulder strap in place

  1. Find the shoulder strap and slip the ends through the side D-Rings, pulling each end through about 1”. Pin in place, then mark the position for the two rivets that hold the strap in place at each side. As shown in the photos below, these rivets should be just inside the edgestitching, catching the back corners of the pulled-through end. 
  2. Cut a hole in each layer. When riveting through thicker layers, it helps to cut a hole in each layer to insure the best seal top to bottom. 
  3. Using the instructions that come with your rivets, or our own handy step-by-step tutorial, set each of the four rivets to finish. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (2)

travelinglight said:
travelinglight's picture

This bag looks amazing and I absolutely love the plaid! I will have to make some time to sew one up. Thank you for another great pattern!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@travelinglight - Thanks so much! It's a fun bag to sew up. Let us know how yours turns out - we'd love to see a pic on social media!