I know for sure that a handmade bag made with love for a little girl is one of the most beautiful gifts you could sew! When my sisters need something special for a little girl, they always come to me asking for a little bag. A ready-made bag is never in my stock!
So it was the time to sew a few new little bags and I thought to share with you a little trick that maybe you don’t know??
In order to sew mini bags, you don’t need to buy mini bag patterns! If you already own some bag patterns (for adult bags), you could use those patterns and sew mini versions. You could sew bags in any size you need!
These are my new mini bags!
So here is what you have to do!
If your pattern is digital (pdf pattern)
All you have to do is to print ALL THE TEMPLATES of the bag at a reduced scale. Make sure you print EVERYTHING at the SAME scale.
When you click the “PRINT” button, your printer will give you some printing options. My printer displays what you see below (your printer should display something similar).
For the original size, all the designers warn you to print the actual size.
For our mini bag, we have to use the “CUSTOM SCALE” option.
How much to scale down?
It depends on the original size of the bag and it helps if you already have an idea about the approximate size of the mini bag.
Then you have to do the math! Don’t worry, it’s easy! Here is an example: if the original bag is 15” tall and you want a 10” tall bag, you have to print everything at (10/15)x100=66%.
Usually, you have to tape together a few pages to get a full-size template; below it’s one of my templates printed at 100% and 75%.
After you print at the reduced size, you will assemble the templates as usual.
- I think most patterns/templates include seam allowances; in this case, you print the templates at the reduced size and sew as usual, with the same seam allowance or, if the bag is significantly smaller, you could use a smaller seam allowance. If the bag is really small (a doll bag?), then smaller seam allowance is a must.
- If the pattern requires you to add seam allowances, you print the templates at the reduced size and then add the seam allowances as instructed in the pattern.
- If you don’t have a printable template for a piece of your bag (as an example, the pattern tells you to cut a 5”x7” rectangle), you have to calculate and reduce the size of this piece too.
- Before starting to sew, look at the templates and try figuring out how small the new bag will be (the bag will be smaller than the templates, due to the seam allowances). You don’t want to sew the entire bag and then be unhappy with the size.
If you have a paper pattern (not digital, the templates are printed on large sheets of paper)
To reduce their size, you have to take the sheets to a copy shop and ask for a reduced scale printing.
Many templates come as “half-template” and you have to print them twice and tape them together, to get the full pattern.
Here is a little trick for a faster assembling of the full template. You print the template only once, slip under that template a blank page and with a paper cutter cut through both pages at once. Two templates without any additional effort!
Then you tape the pieces with scotch tape.
Do you need even smaller bags?
It’s easy, if you use one of my patterns. You will print the already reduced templates at a reduced scale – easy assembling of the templates again! As an example, you could print the mini templates at 80%.
And here are pictures of my latest mini bags, made using my patterns.
Which one is your favorite? The pretty “Danielle” is my favorite.
This tutorial is included in the SEW BETTER BAGS ebook.
If you want to learn more about sewing quality bags, download the free ebook below.
Do you want to sew bags that turn heads?
Stylish, comfortable, and practical?
Bags that will make you proud?
Check out my bag patterns below.