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bag making

Ten Tips for the beginner bag maker

Debbie Shore gives us the low down on how to master the basics of bag-making

1. Start Simple

Start with a simple project such as an unlined tote bag. As your skills grow you’ll feel more confident to tackle more advanced bags.

2. Fabric First

Make up your purse in an inexpensive fabric such as calico fabric first, that way if things go wrong you’re not wasting anything but time!

3. Take Your Time

Top stitching can be a bit daunting, sew slowly and use a thread that matches your fabric so it doesn’t stand out too much if you’re not very confident.

4. Strong Needles

Use a denim needle for thick fabrics, this is a strong needle that will cope with fabrics such as canvas, faux leather and denim.

5. Stabilisers

Use any fabric you like to make your bag, but a lightweight fabric like craft cotton may need a stabiliser or fusible fleece on the back to give it a bit of rigidity.

6. Threads

The thread holding your bag together should be strong so use heavy-weight thread to keep the seams stronger.

7. Re-inforce Stitching

Identify the weak points such as the connection of the handle/strap to the bag and rather than sewing a simple stitch, reinforce the point with a square and X through the centre to increase strength. Sew over the tops of pockets twice to prevent the stitches from coming undone.

8. Metal Finishings

Use metal hardware such as bag feet, magnetic snaps and D rings, they give your bag a shop-bought look. Bag feet not only gives it a professional look but also helps to keep the bag clean by keeping the base away from the floor.

9. Personalise

Don’t feel you have to follow a pattern exactly; if you want to add an extra pocket or fancy lengthening a handle then just go for it.

10. Have Fun

Relax! Sewing is fun! And don’t worry if things go a bit wrong, put your work down and come back to it the next day, it won’t seem half as bad as you thought!