Is the technique used to sew my latest pouch and bag patterns complicated? If you are asking this question, here is the answer, from a message received from one of my customers:
What a well-written pattern! You made the rather complex instructions clear and easy to follow and understand. Beautiful work – Karen!
I think anyone, even a beginner, can sew anything, as long as she/he is good at following instructions and of course, if the instructions and pictures are clear enough. How could a beginner advance other than by trying/sewing new things?
The technique for this bag is not complicated at all, it requires just a few steps but there is one step that maybe some of you are not familiar with and I am going to show you a few tricks that make this step easier.
The bag uses a long, main panel and to the long edges of the panel are attached narrow strips. Then a side gusset is attached to the piece and this gusset creates the bottom of the bag. If sewing the gusset to the main panel of the bag is something that you haven’t experienced yet, I will show you how I do this step.
The entire technique is illustrated in these pictures:
You can create bags with side gusset in any size you want and I want to show you some tricks so you are not forced to bother with too much confusing math!
You need a main panel of the bag and two gusset pieces (I used only one because I stitched only one side of the bag).
When you stitch the gusset to the panel, the width of the gusset will give the width of the bottom of the bag (the depth of bag) and the rest of the main panel will form the front and back sides of the bag.
To avoid the math, start with the desired size for one of the piece (main panel or gusset) and oversize the other piece. Look at the pictures above and do a raw math. Usually, you calculate the size of the main panel (based on the width of the gusset and the desired height of the bag) and oversize the gusset (make it longer than necessary); for my example I did not do any math and I ended up with an oversized main panel. Follow the pictures below and you will understand this better.
Sew with 3/8” seam allowances.
On the back of the gusset pieces mark 3/8” from the bottom corners as shown (see the red dots). Mark the center of the bottom edge.
Clip into the seam allowance at the bottom corners as shown.
Mark the center of the long edge of the long panel. Place the gusset piece over the main panel as shown below, right sides together, aligning their center marks.
Stitch the two pieces together between the two 3/8” marks. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Fold the gusset as shown, aligning the left vertical edge with the top edge.
Push the seam allowances (shown by the green arrow) to the right – see the next pictures …
… so you can see the start of the seam ( shown by the red arrow).
Fold back the main panel over the gusset as shown, lining up the top edges and keeping all the layers smooth and flat.
Carefully lift the two top layers and keep them together with clips.
This is the step that allows you to skip the math! You see now the oversized piece and how much you have to trim it.
This step is very important so be careful – you don’t want to piece together edges that don’t have the same length!
Sew from the top of the gusset to the dot marked in the corner.
It is very important not to extend the seam past the marked dot, into the seam allowance.
It is better to sew one less stitch than one more – see below a detail from the other side of the seams.
Remove the excess of the oversized piece.
If the main panel was oversized, remove the same excess from the other side.
Then attach the third edge of the gusset to the rest of the main panel, sewing from the top edge to the bottom.
This is all! Stitch the other gusset to the other edge of the main panel and you will have a nicely shaped bag, with an accent side gusset that gives volume to the bag.
I hope this helps! I think the inserting of side gusset is an easy way to shape a bag!
The side flap of the bags and pouches below is an interesting accent that you stitch in such an easy way!
If you want to stitch such bags and pouches, check out my
Raphaela and Blache pattern here!