This tutorial was created by Barb, who is fw221 in the Sewing Mamas forums. Thanks Barb!
- 2/3 yard of 60″ wide fabric for exterior
2/3 yard of 60″ wide fabric for interior
1 yard of 44″ wide fabric for exterior
1 yard of 44″ wide fabric for interior
- Thread to match
If you want to use a lighter weight fabric, be sure to match it with a heavier weight. Two light weights won’t be substantial enough without interfacing. Two heavyweight fabrics will be tough on your machine (but not impossible).
Part One: Cut Your Fabric!
We’ll need from each fabric:
two cuts of 15″ (tall) x 18″ (wide)
one cut of 13″ (tall) x 15″ (wide)
one 3″ wide strip across the entire length of the fabric (we’ll cut this down later)
Part Two: Boxing
With the exterior fabric, take the two cuts of 15″x18″ and sew around three sides (15 – 18 – 15). Seam allowance should be 1/4″ to 3/8″, just be consistent. Be sure to secure the beginning and end by sewing back & forth a few times.
With the interior fabric, take the two cuts of 15″x18″ and sew around three sides (15 – 18 – 15) BUT leave a hole around 3″ wide in the middle of the 18″ length to turn the bag.
Press both pieces FLAT.
Pinch the corner and put seams together. Flatten out the corner on a grid and draw a diagonal line (My grid is 0.5″, so measure your diagonal at 2″ on each side).
Pin to keep in place, then take to sewing machine and sew along the line.
Cut excess off.
Do this for both corners on interior and exterior fabrics.
Press what seams you can.
This is what the corners will look like now:
Part 3: The Flap
Put interior & exterior fabrics right side together. Round off the bottom corners (flap will be 15″ wide by 13″ tall). I used a CD to round the corners, but a plate or glass will work too.
Sew around 3 sides and clip the corner.
Turn right side out and press!
Topstitch and then press again.
Part Four: The Strap
Place right sides together and sew up the long sides. Turn in your favorite fashion (I have a Turn-It-All set).
Press and topstitch.
Cut to desired length. I used 42″.
Part Five: Putting it all together
This will come as a great surprise… Press everything again!
Center the flap onto bag interior, like fabrics together and pin.
Center the strap ends to the seams, like fabrics together and pin.
Stick the exterior of the bag inside the interior, right sides together and pin.
Sew the whole thing shut.
Check the seam to make sure you sewed through all the layers. Then turn right side out through the hole you left in the bottom of the interior fabric.
Sew the bottom shut. I used my machine to sew right next to the seam, but hand stitching looks better.
Put the interior inside the exterior and press again
A HUGE THANK YOU to Barb for taking the time to put together this fabulous tutorial. Hope you have fun creating your own messenger bag!
I was able to catch Bonnie from Fishsticks Designs for a few minutes, and I have to tell you, she was so nice!
Here are some of the cute patterns from her Market exhibit.
This is the new SeeSaw Dress, isn’t it cute?
In the center of this photo is the Playhouse Dress and the model on the table is showing off the Buttons and Buckles Overalls. See the Katie J. Jumper by the chair? And did you notice the table? It is a wooden ironing board. What a great display idea!
Here’s the Everyday Camp Shirt, The Sunshine and Sandals Shirtdress in the middle, and The Sand and Sidewalk Boardshorts on the right. Those last two are brand new designs, they are listed as coming soon on The Fishsticks website, so you will want to check back later to get those!
I must show you the Monaluna booth with their yummy organics, too, because check out the little dress in the bottom left!
It’s the SeeSaw Dress!
Monaluna recently released a bunch of great new fabrics and they have their own pattern line as well.
Is there such a thing as fabric brain overload? I think I might have hit it.
I came back from Quilt Market on Sunday and wow, it is a lot to take in. I took 600 pictures on my camera, plus a bunch with my phone that I posted to Instagram while I was there. (Are you following Sewing Mamas on IG? We are @SewingMamas there!)
Riley Blake sponsored a display wall showing tweets and IG posts with the #quiltmarket tag – I even have a photo of that with a Sewing Mamas IG post on it!
So, ummm, yeah. I have a lot of photos to sort through.
How many do you want to see???
This post is part of a weekly series – Small Business Saturdays.
10 11 tips for great pdf pattern instructions.
1. Start at the beginning.
List size measurements and corresponding materials and supplies needed. Remember to include notions – type of needle to be used, the size and type of zipper, elastic, buttons, etc.
Make sure this information all falls onto one page, ideally with a picture of the item so sewists can print it if they want to take a printed copy with them to the fabric store.
2. Look at your font and color choices.
A scripted or comical font might look elegant or fun, but do you want to read that for 87 pages? Use it for your pattern’s title or even section headers and then use something less distracting for your content.
A nice clean font may look boring, but you will have lots of pictures to go with them. Here are some great choices.
Keep in mind not all people will be able to print in color. Some people are color blind – red and green may not be differentiable to them. Make sure your pattern and photos are useable in black and white.
Do not abbreviate terms without including an explanation of that abbreviation in the first reference. Even better, include an explanation in the first reference and include a complete list of abbreviations that can be referenced.
Confused by abbreviations in a pattern you are using? We have a list of common abbreviations right here!
4. Title the sections of the pattern instructions.
And then keep relevant information together. For example, “PART A – How To Use This Pattern” would include things like:
* How to layout the pattern pieces
* What shading is used for right sides of materials, wrong sides of materials, interfacing, etc.
* A key for which lines (colors and style) go with which sizes
Do this even if you have the information somewhere on the pattern itself as well.
* Recommended sewing methods, and if there will be different procedures to follow if one is sewing with a sewing machine or serger.
* The seam allowance you have included. Or if you have not included one, where one should be added.
–> If you aren’t including seam allowances, make sure shoppers are aware of this before purchase. Some people are not comfortable adding their own seam allowances to an item.
5. Keep your options clear.
If your pattern includes multiple options, clearly separate them so users can find the parts they need. It is not fun to work through half a dozen steps and then realize they were part of an optional design feature you did not want to include. (You might tell users to read through all instructions before beginning, but most still won’t.)
6. Within each section, number the steps.
Likewise, number the pages!
7. Read your instructions out loud and then follow them, step by step, before you send your pattern out for testing.
* When you read things in your head, your brain will fill in missing words and overlook typos.
* Combine instructions into a single step where appropriate. You do not win if you use the most words.
For example, if you want to sew two pieces together, this is sufficient:
Sew fabrics right sides together along outside edge.
This is excessive:
Place fabrics right sides together.
Pin along outside edge.
Sew fabrics together along outside edge.
* Put photos with each step and check your layout to make sure the photos and the text stay on the same page.
* Use material that has a distinct right side/wrong side.
Here’s one where I’m not even sure which side is which when I have it in my hand!
This one is better…
But it is less obvious in black and white:
If possible, choose a material with very obvious front and back sides.
The change to black and white is barely noticeable:
* Use thread that contrasts with the fabric. Here we have a fabric that is mostly yellow. The stitching on top is with white thread, the stitching below it is purple. You can see the white, but the purple is much more obvious.
Check it out in black and white:
9. Use testers with different skill levels and models of different sizes.
It makes sense to have one or two testers try out your pattern to evaluate the instructions and printing of pieces, but will you be offering your pattern only in the sizes of their children? Do those children happen to be “standard” size? Do your two testers each have different skill levels? If you answer yes to all of those, you are done! Go forth and release your two sized pattern to the world!
If not, you will need to expand your test pool after the first two have finished and you have had a chance to review their notes and make adjustments as needed. (And if you find these magical standard sized children, do not let them out of your sight!)
10. Let your testers interact with each other during the testing process.
If you can set up a group for them, they can ask questions as they go through the pattern. This keeps you from having to answer the same question multiple times and it allows testers to help each other. Not only will you have a very nice record of what might need to be clarified in your pattern, you will be able to see how other people do things. They might suggest something more efficient or just plain better than what you had originally planned. Do not be afraid to incorporate such changes.
11. Does part of your process seem like it needs 1000 detailed pictures to capture the motion of your steps? Consider video!
If you have found some steps to be challenging for sewists during your testing process because they just can’t “see” what’s happening in the pictures, consider creating a video tutorial of just that part and linking it in your pdf.
If you know of a tutorial or video that someone else has created that explains wonderfully how a technique is done, link up to it with a mention of thanks to the creator rather than reinventing the wheel.
What would you want pattern designers to include in their instructions?
First, the important notice: Sewing Mamas is a Craftsy affiliate, so if you click through to Craftsy here, Sewing Mamas will be compensated.
This post is part of a new recurring theme called Small Business Saturdays. There are many seamstresses who have spent a lot of time sewing for their families and consider turning their hobby into a business. Each Saturday, we will post something helpful in that journey.
This came through my email the other day, and I will admit, I was surprised by it. I have seen lots of indie pattern designs popping up on Craftsy. What I did not realize is that Craftsy does not charge designers to offer their patterns for sale.
No listing fee. No commission on the sale. You set your price, a customer buys your pattern, and that sale goes directly to you. Of course, PayPal still takes their cut.
You can sell both sewing patterns AND embroidery files!
Here’s what you need:
1. A PayPal account – so you can get paid when your fabulous patterns sell!
2. Your pattern – in pdf format, or embroidery files in a .zip file.
3. A photo – because people like to see what they are buying!
4. A description of your pattern – what is it? What sizes does it come in? (You know, the usual stuff you like to know when you are looking at a pattern. And don’t worry, Craftsy will guide you through this part.)
Knowing how hard pattern designers work to put together their patterns, I love the idea of shopping for them on Craftsy knowing that my purchase goes directly to the designer.
Have a great pattern that you would like to get ready to sell? Stop by next Saturday for a discussion of how to take your pattern from a hand drawing to a digital download!