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Relaxed Shoulder Biz Brief
High-tech accents; like snaps, hooks, locks, and more provide both functionality as closures as well as professional style. If you want a “you made that yourself?!” reaction to your bag, you need to add the very best finishes. This slim shoulder bag uses six different Dritz® fasteners, including a pair of mitten clips to tether a matching inner pouch.
We used a home décor weight fabric for the exterior in a bold print. The colors are striking but still neutral enough to allow the bag to be fashionable throughout the seasons. Two weights of interfacing provide a crisp stability yet still let the bag retain a bit of relaxed and casual softness. Although the exact fabric we used is no longer readily available, below are a few alternatives to consider from our friends at Fabric.com.
Our thanks to Dritz® for providing the key hardware components. Can you spot them all? Magnetic snaps and Decorative Snaps keep the top of the bag, as well as the exterior pocket and pouch, securely shut.
Versatile D-Rings and Swivel Hooks allow the adjustable strap to be detachable for those times when just the carry handles are enough.
And, that adjustable strap has a very unique “adjuster.” We used one of the Dritz® Suspender Slides, which worked great to grip the soft black webbing.
Mitten Clips round out the high-tech accents. These fasteners are as cute as their name implies, but certainly have more uses than mittens (or suspenders). We used them to secure a matching pouch to the bag, which makes it easy to quickly locate and pull out the pouch to access a license, credit card or cash. Undo the clip to use the pouch by itself.
This bag features an inset base and X-Box detailing to attach the straps and handles. Because this is Sew4Home, of course you’ll find links within the instructions to our step-by-step tutorials on both of these techniques, as well as helpful how-to’s on topstitching, sharp corners, and magnetic snap installation. Browse our Techniques drop down menu to find dozens of other basic, advanced, and specialty technique tutorials you can access to round-out your sewing skills.
Our bag finishes at approximately 11″ high x 15″ wide with a 3″ base and sides, a fully adjustable shoulder strap, and standard looped carry handles. The drop-in pouch finishes at approximately 5” high x 6” wide.
The instructions below give all the steps for the bag first, followed by the pouch. The supply list includes everything needed for both the bag and the pouch.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Satin Stitch foot; optional; we used this see-through foot for topstitching and edgestitching
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful when working with the multiple layers around the top of the bag; you could also use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, like Janome’s AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1¼ yards of 44″+ wide home décor weight fabric, lightweight canvas or similar for the bag and pouch exterior
NOTE: The yardage shown above allows for a precise fussy cut of the front pocket to the front panel – check out the new fabric alternatives listed above
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide mid-weight linen or similar for the lining of the bag and pouch
- 1 yard of 20″+ lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- ½ yard of 45″+ mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- TWO Dritz® Decorative Snaps; we used 12mm Round Decorative Snaps in nickel
- ONE Dritz® Decorative Snap Fastener Tool Set
- TWO Dritz® 1” D-Rings; we used 1” D-Rings in nickel
- TWO Dritz® 1” Swivel Hooks; we used 1” Swivel Hooks in nickel
- ONE Dritz® Suspender Slide; we used nickel
- TWO Dritz® Mitten Clips; we used 1” black clips
- ONE ¾” Dritz® Magnetic Snap; we used a ¾” round snap in nickel
- 3 yards of 1” cotton webbing or similar for the strap and handles; we used 1” black cotton webbing, purchased locally
- ½ yard of 1” non-shiny ribbon; we used 1” black twill tape, purchased locally
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Dritz® Fray Check to seal the ends of the webbing
- Tracing paper or similar to make a fussy-cutting pattern for the exterior pocket and flap
Getting Started (the bag elements)
- From the exterior fabric, fussy cut the following:
TWO 19″ wide x 14″ high rectangles for the front and back panels
ONE 10″ wide x 7½” high rectangle for pocket base **
ONE 10″ wide x 4½” high rectangle for pocket flap **
ONE 16” wide x 4″ high rectangle for the base
**Steps for fussy cutting the pocket panel and flap.
NOTE: These steps are summarized. If you are brand new to this technique, check out our full pocket matching tutorial. Although our steps show specific tracing and cutting for our sample’s fabric, the basic techniques will work for all fabrics.
- Find one of the main exterior panels. Both should have been fussy cut to nicely center your fabric’s motif. If you like one panel better than the other, choose it to be the front panel. Place this panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- From the tracing paper, cut one 10″ x 7½” rectangle (pocket base) and one 10″ x 4½” rectangle (pocket flap). Draw in the seam seam allowance lines on all sides (draw a line ½” in from each cut side) as well as the top and bottom center points. We drew in two lines across the bottom: one at 1” up as well as the ½” seam line to match the others. This was simply to give us some additional motif matching points across the bottom because our motifs are rather large; it is optional. The image below shows us finishing up our marks, just prior to drawing in the final ½” line along the bottom.
- Center the tracing paper rectangle on the front panel. Align the center marks so the pocket is centered side to side. The bottom of the paper rectangle should sit ½” up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric panel. Pin the paper rectangle in place and trace some of the motifs along all four sides.
- Find the paper rectangle for the flap. Place it on top of the paper rectangle of the pocket base. Line up the drawn lines representing the side seam allowances. The finished top of the flap will sit 1” up from the finished top of the base pocket. Make sure you overlap correctly. This means the seam line of the top of the pocket flap should be 1” above the seam line of the pocket base. You can certainly draw in additional guide lines as needed. Pin the flap’s paper pattern in place over the pocket base pattern and trace the motifs around all four sides of the flap.
- Un-pin both paper rectangles from the front panel. Bring the papers to the remaining exterior fabric. Adjust each piece until the traced motifs line up with the motifs on the fabric. Pin the pattern to the fabric. The image below shows us matching up the flap. Repeat to match up the base.
- Cut out both pieces to yield your two pretty fussy cut pieces.
- From the fabric for the lining (the linen in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 19″ wide x 10″ high rectangles
ONE 10″ wide x 7½” high rectangle for pocket base
ONE 10″ wide x 4½” high rectangle for pocket flap
ONE 16” wide x 4″ high rectangle for the base
ONE 10” wide x 13” high rectangle for the lining pocket
- From the lightweight interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 18” x 9” rectangles for the lining panels
ONE 9″ x 6½” rectangle for pocket base
ONE 9″ x 3½” rectangle for pocket flap
ONE 9” x 6” rectangle for the lining pocket
- From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 18” x 13” rectangles for the exterior panels
TWO 15” x 3” for the exterior and lining base panels
- From the webbing, cut the following:
TWO 12” lengths for the handles
TWO 4” lengths for the strap tabs
ONE 54″ length for the strap
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Creating the exterior pocket and flap
- Find the fussy cut exterior pocket base and pocket flap and the two pocket interfacing rectangles (from the lightweight interfacing).
- Place the appropriate interfacing panel on the wrong side of each fabric panel. The interfacing should be centered top to bottom and side to side so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Find the pocket base and pocket flap lining pieces. Place the appropriate lining panel right sides together with the exterior panel. Pin in place along all four sides, leaving a 3” opening along the top edge of the flap and the bottom edge of the base.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter of the base and the flap. Remember to pivot at all the corners and to lock the seam at either side of the opening (at the top edge for the flap and the bottom edge for the base).
- On both sewn pieces, clip the corners and press open the seam allowance all around.
- Turn each piece right side out through its opening. Gently push out all the corners so they are nice and square; a long blunt tool works best for this, like a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges along each opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Place the flap right side up and flat on your work surface. Find the exact center point side to side. At this center line, measure ½” up from the bottom finished edge of the flap. Place a mark with a fabric pen or insert a pin.
- This is where the center of the flap’s decorative snap will go. Place the top half of the snap in position.
- Push the top half of the snap through the fabric from front to back.
- Place the bottom half of the snap (the socket) on the protruding prongs. One side of the socket has a larger, raised center ring. This ring should face down toward the prongs.
- Slip the circular felt pad underneath the top half of the snap. Fit the setting tool over the socket.
- Hammer firmly to seal the two halves together.
- Find the pocket base. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the pocket flap, with its half of the snap in place, on top of the base. Because you did such a great job of fussy cutting, you can simply adjust the flap on the base until the motifs match.
- As a double-check, lift up the flap to insure the top finished edge of the flap is 1” above the top finished edge of the base.
- Using the flap’s snap as a guide, mark the center point for the base snap. Insert the base ring from back to front so the prongs protrude through the exterior fabric.
- Place the stud half of this snap over the prongs, making sure the stud is facing up, fit the setting tool into place, and hammer firmly to finish – just as you did above for the flap snap.
Prepare the exterior panels and stitch the pocket in place
- Find the front and back exterior panels and the two panels of mid-weight interfacing. Place an interfacing panel on the wrong side of each fabric panel. The interfacing should be centered top to bottom and side to side so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Place the exterior front panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the pocket into position. Once more, your exact fussing cutting makes placement easy. The finish bottom edge of the pocket should sit 1” up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric panel. Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
NOTE: For all our topstitching, we used thread to best match the exterior fabric. In our sample, this was a dark gray green. We also lengthened our stitch for all topstitching (for both the exterior bag as well as the lining pocket).
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the bottom corners and to use a substantial (but neat) back-tack at the beginning and end of the seam. The top corners of the pocket are stress points and it’s good to have a tight seam. This edgestitching seals the opening along the bottom edge originally used for turning right side out.
- Place the pocket flap in position over the pocket base, aligning the snap as well as the fussy cut motifs. Pin along the top edge only.
- Edgestitch along the top of the flap only. This secures the flap in place and also seals the opening along the top edge originally used for turning right side out.
Stitch front to back and inset the base
- Along the top edge of both the front and back exterior panels, fold down the raw edge ½” and press. We’re using a Clover Hot Hemmer.
- Fold down an additional 2″ and press again. In both cases, press firmly enough to set a visible crease line.
- Open up both folds so the crease lines are visible.
- Place the front and back panels right sides together. Pin along both sides. Remember to unfold the top.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way from the bottom to the top along both sides, creating a tube that is open at both the top and bottom.
- Re-fold and re-press the top facing back down into position: ½” and then 2”.
- Find the exterior base panel and one of the 3” x 15” rectangles of mid-weight interfacing.
- Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the base panel, centering it so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Find and mark the center point of each side of the base panel.
- Find the exterior tube, which should still be wrong side out. Starting on one side, pin the base panel right sides together with the body of the bag. Align the center pin point at the end of the base panel one side seam of the body of the bag. Pin in place.
- Starting at the corner of the interfacing, and using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along this first side. Stop the seam at the opposite corner of the interfacing. In other words, your seam is starting and stopping ½” in from the edge of the base panel.
- Remove the project from under the needle.
- Align and then stitch the base panel to the bag at the opposite end in the same manner.
- Snip into the corner of the base panel at a diagonal at a depth of about ⅜”. You are clipping right up to but not through your stitching line, and you are just clipping the base panel. This frees up the seam allowance so it can bend or “ease” around the corner, allowing you to more easily stitch the final two sides.
- Pin the two long sides (the front and back of the bag) in the same manner.
- Stitch both sides in place with a ½” seam allowance. Remember to start and stop the seams ½” in, which means you’ll drop your needle (and stop your needle) right on top of the corner’s perpendicular seam.
NOTE: If you are new to inserting a rectangular flat base into a tube, check out our full step-by-step tutorial.
- Set aside the exterior bag.
Create the lining with its pocket
- Find all the lining pieces and the lining interfacing pieces.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and bobbin.
- Center the large interfacing panels on the wrong sides of the main lining panels so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. In the same manner, fuse the mid-weight interfacing panel to the wrong side of the lining base panel.
- Find the pocket panel and its interfacing. Fold the pocket in half right sides together (so it is now 10” wide x 6½” high) and press to set a center crease. Unfold so the crease line is visible. Center the interfacing on one half of the pocket panel. The top of the interfacing should be aligned with the center crease line and there should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along both sides and across the bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Re-fold the pocket panel in half, but this time, right sides together. Pin along both sides and across the bottom, leaving a 3” opening along the bottom for turning right side out.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock the seam at either side of the 3” opening.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the opening and press flat, as with the exterior pocket, gently push out all the corners and press in the raw edges along the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- With the pocket flat on your work surface, measure 5” in from the left finished edge and draw a vertical line with a fabric pen or pencil.
NOTE: Remember, anytime you’re working on the right side of the fabric, make sure your fabric marking tool is one that is easily wiped away or that will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Find one of the interfaced lining panels. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the pocket on top of the panel. The pocket should be centered side to side and 2” up the bottom raw edge of the panel. Pin along both sides and across the bottom. Also place a few pins horizontally across the drawn line.
- Stitch along the drawn vertical guide line.
- Edgestitch along both sides and across the bottom of the pocket. This seals the opening used for turning right side out.
- Place the front and back lining panels right sides together, sandwiching the pocket between the layers. Pin along both sides.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides.
- Mark the center points of each end of the lining base panel and insert it into the lining tube just as you did above for the base of the exterior bag.
Assemble the lining and exterior and add the magnetic snap
- Find the exterior bag, it should be right side out. Unfold the top facing hem.
- Find the lining bag, it should be wrong side out.
- Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two are now wrong sides together. The lining pocket should be against the back exterior panel (the panel without the pocket). The top of the lining should fit along the second fold (the 2” fold) of the facing. Smooth the lining down into position matching up the side seams and inset base panels, then fold the exterior facing back down into position.
- Find the exact center along both the front and back panels. At this center point, find the center of the facing top to bottom. Mark this intersection on both the front and back panels. This is where the magnetic snap will be placed.
- Mark and then cut the holes to insert each half of the magnetic snap.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions or our own detailed How to Insert a Magnetic Snap tutorial, insert one half of the magnetic snap at each center point. The snap is inserted just through the facing.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch to match the other topstitching on the bag.
- We switched to the AcuFeed™ Flex feeding system on our Janome Skyline S7 to help more precisely stitch through the thicker layers. If you do not have a Janome model with the built-in AcuFeed™ feeding system, a Walking or Even Feed foot would be a good alternative.
- Stitch all around the top of the bag, running the seam 1⅞” down from the top of the finished bag, catching the inner hem of the facing.
- Then stitch a second time around the entire bag ⅛” down from the top of the finished bag.
Handles and straps
- Find the two D-rings and the two 4” webbing lengths.
- Run a line of seam sealant along both raw edges of both lengths of webbing.
- Slip a length of webbing through each D-ring.
- Bring the raw ends of the webbing together so they are flush and pin or clip. We used our Clover Wonder Clips.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the webbing in the top and bobbin.
- Zig zag across the raw ends of the tab through both layers.
- Center one tab over each of the exterior side seams. The bottom zig-zagged edge of the tab should sit ½” above the facing’s lower topstitching seam. Check that there is then about ½” of the tab (the end with the D-ring) extending above the finished top edge of the bag.
- Pin or clip the each tab in place.
- Stitch each tab in place with a 1” X-Box. If you are new, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial on this attachment technique.
- Set aside the bag.
- Find the 54” length of webbing, the two swivel hooks, and the suspender slide.
- As above, run a line of seam sealant along both raw edges of the webbing.
- Thread one raw end into one Swivel Hook. Bring the end through about 1” and pin or clip it against itself.
- Zig zag across the raw end through both layers. Then run a straight line of stitching just above the zig zag stitching. Trim all the thread tails as close as possible to the webbing.
NOTE: Blacks are very hard to capture well in photos with good detail. So at this point, we decided to switch to a little mini strap sample, using a white webbing in order to best show how to thread the opposite raw edge through the suspender slide and the remaining swivel hook. In this photos, D-rings are standing in for the swivel hooks.
- Thread the remaining raw end of the webbing through the top of the suspender slide, over the little gripper teeth. The hinge of the slide should be positioned so the teeth are facing backwards, as if pointing towards the raw end as it slides through.
- Loop the raw end through the remaining swivel hook (remember in these sample photos, D-rings are standing in for the swivel hooks). As you go, make sure there are no twists or turns in your webbing.
- Insert the raw end back through the suspender slide, this time going through the bottom portion.
- Pull the raw end through about 1” and clip or pin it against itself. This creates the adjusting loop.
- Loosen the adjusting loop as much as you need to fit it under the needel, then zig zag and straight stitch the raw end in place through both layers as you did above.
- Adjust the strap to your favorite length, then fold down the hinge on the suspender slide to secure. Set aside the strap.
- Find the two 12” webbing lengths for the handles. As above, run a line of seam sealant along both raw edges of both lengths of webbing.
- Re-find the center point on both the front and back panels; this is right where your magnetic snap should be. Measure 2½” to the right of center and place a marking pin. Then measure 2½” to the left of center and place another marking pin. Do this on both the front and back panels.
- Create a loop with each 12” length of webbing, centering the raw ends over the outer marked points. The bottom end of the webbing should sit ½” above the facing’s lower topstitching seam – the same as the bottom of the strap tabs.
- Pin or clip in position, then stitch in position with a 1” X-Box as you did with the strap tabs.
- Clip the swivel hooks to the D-ring tabs.
- Cut ONE 7” wide x 13” high rectangle from the exterior fabric AND the lining fabric.
- Cut ONE 6” x 12” rectangle of the lightweight interfacing.
- Cut the ribbon into ONE 15” length.
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the lining and fuse in place.
- Place the exterior and lining right sides together. Pin all around, leaving a 3” opening along one side towards the bottom.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric 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 3” opening near the bottom corner.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the opening. Gently push out all the corners and press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Place the panel lining side up and flat on your work surface.
- Fold up the bottom 4” and pin in place along both sides.
- Lengthen the stitch, and using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch both folded-up sides. Stitch from the top down to the bottom along each side.
- Flip over the panel, and with the upper flap still extending flat, mark for the second decorative snap. It should be centered side to side, and its center point should be ½” up from the finished edge of the flap.
- Insert the top half in place in the same manner as you did for the exterior pocket above.
- With the top half in place, close the flap and mark the position for the bottom half of the snap. Insert the bottom half of the snap in the same manner as above.
- To help hold the flap in position, fold the flap down into its final position and run one final line of edgestitching across the very top of the flap. Use the same lengthened stitch.
- Find the ribbon and the two Dritz® Mitten Clips.
- Run a line of seam sealant along both raw ends of the ribbon.
- Thread each end of the ribbon through a mitten clip. Feed it through about 1” and pin the raw end against itself. Make sure there are no twists or turns in the ribbon.
- As you did above with the strap, zig zag across each raw end through both layers. Then run a straight line of stitch just above the zig zag stitching. Trim all the thread tails as close as possible to the ribbon.
- Secure one mitten clip under the pouch’s flap at the top of the folded-up pocket. It needs to be under the flap so you can easily un-snap the flap and retrieve what you need with one hand.
- Secure the opposite mitten clip to the top of the bag.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild
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I have a question: Are you
I have a question: Are you supposed to cut 2 lining pieces 19X10? The directions say to cut only one.
@Cathy – yes! TWO lining
@Cathy – yes! TWO lining panels are needed – thanks for the heads-up. It has been corrected above.
Super classy looking bag!
Super classy looking bag! Love all the hardware 🙂
@JoyRags – Thanks! Let us
@JoyRags – Thanks! Let us know if you give it a go!
Love this pattern! How long,
Love this pattern! How long, approximately, would it take to make this, please? Thanks!
@Susan – So glad you love the
@Susan – So glad you love the bag! Traditionally, there’s just no accurate way for us to attach time estimates to projects. Every once in awhile, if something is super duper simple, we can make a guess. But beyond that, there are simply too many variables in skill level and equipment. I’d suggest reading through the project instructions a couple times to kind of “make it in your head” — you’re then likely to see how you would approach it and how long it will take for your situation.
Okay, I’ll read through the
Okay, I’ll read through the pattern and see. Thank you for your response!