Inspiration 62

Bag processing

Although one can never really have enough bags, finding the right one can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why more and more people are beginning to design their ideal bag themselves. Read on for a few tips and tricks to help you towards success!

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Material

The range of material available is huge – from (faux) leather to decorative fabrics all the way to patchwork fabric, anything is possible. As a rule, bags should have a bit of body, since when they’re too soft and are left open and lying about somewhere, their contents tend to spill out. If you are working with fairly sturdy leather or faux leather you’ll be able to manage without reinforcement for anything up to a medium-sized bag, like our ethnic-look bag in Inspiration 62.

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Thinner fabrics are best reinforced with iron-on batting, as with the picnic bag (also from Inspiration 62) or with Decovil for, say, a clutch (5360). Batting gives a softer, more irregular look than Decovil; Decovil is ideally suited for a ‘clean’ look.

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You’ll find the instructions for the bags shown here in Inspiration 62,  and the clutch in issue no. 53.

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The interior layout of the bag determines how convenient and easy it will be to use. Your personal preferences and needs will dictate the design.


  • Lighter fabrics with a pattern that’s not too busy make it easier to find things in the bag.
  • This internal arrangement (Zeichnung) makes it easy to locate mobile phone, cosmetics, car-park ticket, ballpoint pen and suchlike whenever you need them. It also makes sense to have a permanently installed ring, for example on the front side seam, to which the snaplink of your key can be hooked.

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  • When wearing the bag on your shoulder, zips should always open from front to back. Since most people wear bags over their left shoulder, the arrow in the drawing indicates where the front is.
  • The top edges of the inside pockets are reinforced to make it easier to to take out items and put them back in. A leather strip in a contrasting colour and worked with an open edge, or some sturdy tape, is ideal for this.

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  • Inside pockets must not be placed too high up or too low down, nor should they jut into the side sections.
  • Use the bartack program or sew a rectangle to protect the top edges of the bag from tearing.

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Key for the drawing:







Field A is sewn to the front of the bag, B to the back of the bag. 1 provides space for car-park or transport tickets, 2 for your pen, 3 for your mobile, and 4 for all sorts such as e.g. cosmetics.

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Shaping the bag

Seam allowances can be pressed open on leather and faux leather also. Always iron on the wrong side and cover the synthetic layer with an ironing cloth. Check the temperature of the iron on a scrap of material.
With fairly firm leather, you can hammer as well as press. Place the seam to be dealt with on a smooth, clean base and hammer the seam allowances apart section-by-section with a few powerful knocks.
With open bags and totes like the picnic bag, the question arises as to whether the side sections should fold outwards or inwards. The side sections lie outwards as a matter of course – if you’d like a narrower-looking bag, stitch the top edges of the front sides and side sections of the bag together for a bit, or up to about 5 mm short of the bottom corner. Fold side sections inwards and iron in a pleat if wished.
 
The base of the bag can be fitted with a piece of card which is simply inserted between the outer fabric and lining. If the bag is meant to be washable, we recommend ironing on some Decovil. Two layers of Decovil will give you even more sturdiness – simply iron the second layer on top of the first.
 
And now, have fun making your bag!