Carolyn’s Gym Bag Project

Difficulty level Intermediate
Time to Complete Weekend
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Picture: Carolyn’s Gym Bag Project
Picture: Carolyn’s Gym Bag Project

It's that time of year again when everyone is hitting the gym... the motivation to get back into shape after the festive period has returned and so have we with a brand new project! Our talented sewing expert Carolyn shows us how to create the ideal gym bag - perfect for those of us with "get fit" New Year's resolutions! Not only is it stylish but it's a great size to hold everything you may wish to take for your gym session. It is made from hard wearing fabric and has an attractive themed lining. In the making of her gym bag Carolyn explores the Bernina zipper feet available including, our current Accessory of the Month, Invisible-zipper Foot #35.

The bag features:

  • two expanding mesh pockets to hold drinks bottles, recovery shakes, protein bars and healthy snacks
  • a pocket with a concealed zip for your keys, phone or gym pass
  • strong handles so it may be carried over one shoulder
  • a large internal space for gym clothes, towels etc.

Project note:

This Gym bag is best made using a sturdy fabric for the outer and a contrasting cotton fabric for the lining. I used a medium weight denim and a cotton.

The bag in the photographs has added structure by using single side fusible Bosal. A lighter structure may be achieved by using interfacing or a very soft bag may be achieved by omitting any stabilising material.

Bernina Invisible-zipper Foot #35?

Invisible zips are used to create concealed closures, the stitching and coils (teeth) of the zip are not seen on the finished work when the zip is closed. The Bernina Invisible Zipper Foot has two parallel grooves in the sole which "open" the coils of the zip. The needle must be in the central position and straight stitch used. Invisible zips are sewn on separate pieces of fabric and any seam above and/or below is sewn after the zip is inserted. In this gym bag there are no seams to be sewn as the zip is the full width of the pocket.


You will need:

  • Bernina sewing machine (Bernina S-590E is featured in my photographs)
  • Bernina Reverse-pattern Foot #1, #1C, #1D – dependant on your sewing machine
  • Bernina Invisible-zipper Foot #35
  • Bernina Zipper Foot #4, #4D – dependant on your sewing machine
  • 1 metre main fabric
  • 1 metre contrasting fabric for lining and pocket
  • 40cm square of mesh fabric
  • 1 metre x 50cm single side fusible Bosal – optional, see project note above
  • 1 metre x 50cm iron on interfacing – optional, see project note above
  • 16cm invisible zip
  • 2 x 30cm of 1cm wide elastic
  • Matching and contrasting threads
  • Basic sewing kit: pins, scissors, tape measure etc.

Bernina Invisible-zipper Foot #35 is the Accessory of the Month available at a 15% discount!

This promotion will run until Saturday 29th February 2020.


Click here to visit the Bernina online shop.

Find out more about Invisible-zipper Foot #35 by clicking here.
 

Instructions

Stage 1

Cut out all the pattern pieces in the main, contrasting and mesh fabrics.

Stage 2

Using the main fabric pattern pieces cut out the Bosal or interfacing and then trim 6/8" from all sides.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 3

Apply, by steam pressing, the Bosal or interfacing to the wrong side of the main fabric pieces.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Leaving the seam allowances clear as a border, this will reduce the amount of bulk when sewing the pieces together.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 4

Decorate the right side of the main front and back fabric with an embroidery or appliqué design. Remember, only decorate one half as there will be a pocket on the other half.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 5 - to make the mesh pockets

Using a stretch or zig zag stitch sew a length of elastic to the top edge of the mesh fabric, working in gathers or soft pleats with the excess mesh fabric.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Tack the side and bottom edges of the mesh fabric pockets to the right side of the main fabric side pieces. The excess bottom mesh fabric should be put into gathers or soft pleats.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 6 - to make the contrasting patch pocket

Insert the invisible zip between the top and bottom parts. Place the right side of the zip onto the right side of the fabric and sew into place using presser foot #35.
 

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Turn under 1.5cm on all four raw edges of the pocket and press.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Pin the pocket to the front of the main fabric.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Using presser foot #4 and needle in the far left position, top stitch around the pocket to sew in place.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 7 - to sew the lining

Stitch the bottom edges of the side pieces to the bottom edges of the front and back piece.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Press the seam allowances open. Sew all four side seams from the top edge of the bag to the bottom seam and press the seam allowances open.

Leave the lining bag inside out and fold and press the top edge ½" to the wrong side.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 8 - to sew the outside of the bag

Stitch both side pieces to the front and back piece in the same way as with the lining.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Turn the main bag right side out, fold and press the top edge ½" to the wrong side.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 9 - to make the handles

Stitch each main fabric piece to a lining piece along one of the long edges.

Fold and press the seam allowances of the unsewn long edges towards the wrong sides and then fold each handle in half, matching the folded edges.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Top stitch each handle along the long edges. I used the triple straight stitch with the stitch length set to 4 and a contrasting thread.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Stage 10 - to assemble the bag

Place the lining inside the outer bag, match up the seams and pin together.

Insert the end 1" (the raw edges) of each handle in between the folds of the lining and outer bag, pin in place.

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Top stitch around the top of the bag and this will attach the handles in place at the same time as being decorative. Again, I used the triple straight stitch with the stitch length set to 4 and a contrasting thread.

Press well.

Nice one! You're ready to show off your stylish and practical bag down at the gym... Now you have no excuse to miss a session!

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Gym Bag Project

Feeling fighting fit?

Our funky new gym bag certainly provided some much needed motivation and has ample space for everything we could need for a workout!

Make sure to check our website regularly as we will be putting out a brand new project, designed exclusively by a Bernina UK team member or Bernina guest contributor, EVERY MONTH!