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!
Since it’s Friday the 13th, here are 13 ideas for those of you still planning to whip something up for Father’s Day this weekend!
- ipad/kindle/nook/laptop sleeve
- e-reader beanbag stand
- boxer shorts
- bucket tote
- camp shirt – with fun or funky prints
- PJ pants
- hoodie for cool nights while camping
- duffle or other bag
- coasters for the man cave
- a boxy bag to tote toiletries if he travels
Some time ago (think 4-5 years), I bought some fabric. (This shocks no one.)
This particular fabric was super wide Malden Mills 100wt fleece. It was wide enough for a queen size blanket. And it must have been a good price, because though I have used some here and there over the years, I still had 10 yards of it taking up space here.
Now, it is also yellow, which does not actually match anything I have. However, my mom was raving about the Malden Mills fleece sheets she had bought on QVC. Apparently they were so wonderful that my sister had also bought some. However, since they were $59.00 plus $9.97 s/h, I decided yellow was a perfectly fine color for sheets.
My 10 yards of fleece is now one queen size flat sheet, one queen size fitted sheet, one queen size blanket (that looks suspiciously like the flat sheet), and one twin size blanket. And, I’ve used up the huge pile of yellow fleece that was taking up storage space in my sewing area. Win!
And, in the stash game spirit of sewing up ALL the things, I used the last of my Snoopy fleece for a cozy blanket for the basement.
This tutorial was created for Sewing Mamas by Kelley, who is Chrisnkelley in our forums. Thanks Kelley!
This is what we are making:
This is a Bible cover for my daughter. The cover has 2 ribbon straps to hold the Bible in place, pockets on the front and back for papers, and a spot for 2 pens on the spine.
You will need about ⅓ yards of fabric, fusible fleece, interfacing, and ribbon. Also, you might choose to add snaps, buttons, magnetic snaps, or something else for a closure. The pieces are all rectangular and are based on the size of the Bible (or other book) that you are making the cover for.
The first thing you’ll do is cut 2 pieces for the outside and inside of your Bible cover. This will be based on your Bible’s dimensions. As you can see in the photo below, I laid my daughter’s Bible down open so that the covers and spine were all spread out, then I measured 2 inches out widthwise on each side and 1 inch out top and bottom. The Bible I used is a children’s Bible. My personal Bible is larger, so these dimensions won’t be correct for all Bibles. The pieces I cut were 10-½ inches high and 16 inches wide. Cut 2 of these pieces.
The next thing I did, which you can see in the photo above, is to cut 2 pieces for the pockets. These pieces should be the entire width of the cover pieces, but about 3 inches shorter. My pocket pieces are 16 wide by 7-½ inches high. This is not critical if you go a bit higher or lower, it will just affect pocket depth. You can see this if you look closely above, especially on the right side. I laid the pocket pieces on top of the cover pieces.
Next (not shown), the same size as your cover pieces, cut 1 piece of fusible fleece and 1 piece of interfacing. You can use 2 fusible fleece if you want a puffier case or 2 interfacing if you want it thinner, but I personally would want at least 1 layer of fusible fleece in there.
Then, cut 1 piece of interfacing the size of your pocket pieces. You could interface both pocket pieces for a stiffer pocket if you’d like, or even use fleece. I did 1 piece of interfacing and I think it turned out great.
Next, in the pic above, I cut 4 strap pieces. I cut them 10 inches long by 2 inches wide. You can adjust your strap size/width to your liking. I didn’t interface these, but you certainly could use interfacing or fleece. Alternatively, you could use something else for your straps such as grosgrain ribbon. You also don’t have to make straps. You could just sew in ribbon on each side that you could use as an attachment to tie a bow to keep your Bible in place. Also, you could make a tiny strap with a buttonhole and sew into only the back of the cover, and then pop a button on the front. Its up to you! But the instructions are for what I did, which is a carrying handle strap on each side. :)
Here’s what you should have by now:
(2 cover pieces, 1 fleece cover piece, 1 interfacing cover piece, 2 pocket pieces, 1 interfacing pocket piece, 4 strap pieces)
Now, sew 2 strap pieces together along the long sides, then turn right side out and press. Topstitch the long edges. The short edges can remain raw since they’ll be sandwiched in the seam of the Bible cover.
Now, fuse your fleece to the wrong side of 1 cover piece and the interfacing to the other cover piece. Then fuse the pocket interfacing to one of the pocket pieces.
Now, put your pocket pieces right sides together and sew along 1 long edge for the top of the pockets. Then turn it wrong sides together and press the pocket edge and topstitch as pictured above.
Now, we will make a sandwich. Start with your front cover (the fleece fused one) right side up. Then place the pocket on that, also right side up. This will be the outside of your cover. Make sure to align the raw bottom edges of the pocket piece with the bottom of the front cover.
Then place the handles. They go in the center of each side of the cover, facing in so that just the raw edges get sewed in the seam. Pin the heck out of these so they stay in place and don’t get caught in the seam funny. I also placed a few pins along the pocket while I was at it.
Next, place the inside cover piece right side down on top of it all. Put a few pins in there to hold it all together. I also decided to add a seam tag, so I pinned that in – that’s why I have the corner pulled up here:
Now, time to sew. Sew around the Bible cover making sure to catch everything in your seam. Leave about a 3-4 inch opening in one side. I left mine on the bottom edge.
Now, take out the pins and turn it inside out. Be careful, as you do this you’ll run into all the pins on the inside. I kind of felt around a bit and tried to remove as many as I could prior to turning. Turn it all the way out, poke the corners so they pop out nicely, then press flat. Make sure when pressing to fold in your opening nicely also.
Then go ahead and topstitch all the way around making sure to use care at the opening where you pressed the edges in. Mine got wonky in that area because I tend to go too fast, so be warned! Use caution in that area if you don’t want a wonky bump on the bottom of your cover!
Next, I drew 3 lines for my pen pockets. 1 line right down the center (top to bottom), and another line 1 inch on each side of the center line. I couldn’t find any marking pencil other than my white one conveniently, so as you can imagine that worked great with this fabric (not so much!) You might want to choose a pencil that contrasts your fabric. Just sayin! Then stitch down the lines.
Next, I cut 2 pieces of ribbon the height of the Bible cover for the inside Bible straps. You could also use FOE if you’d like. Fold over a tiny bit at the top and bottom and stitch down to the top and bottom of the cover, right in the center of each side, like so.
Insert your Bible to make sure all is well. These don’t keep it super tight, but they keep it from slipping out.
You are now finished unless you’d like to add some sort of attachment to the straps so the Bible stays in place if its in a bag or something. If you chose to just do ribbons instead of straps, you won’t need an attachment since you’ll just tie cute little bows. I chose to add snaps. You could do magnetic closures, buttons, velcro…
Enjoy your new Bible cover!
Hey, that looks great, doesn’t it? Thanks so much to Kelley for taking the time to take all those pictures and write out all the instructions!
If you make one of these, be sure to post it in our Runway!
There was some zigzag fabric leftover from the crib skirt, so I made this pillow cover.
This is a simple cover with a pillow sham style opening in the back. I like this tutorial for perfect pillows. This cover is on an 18″ pillow form, so that is the size I cut my pattern. If you check out that tutorial, you’ll see it instructs you to add a seam allowance. I don’t. If you skip the seam allowance, you’ll still be able to jam your pillow form in, and it will be nice and plump.
Here’s the front piece.
Notice that the corners aren’t squares. That’s what makes it work!
I wasn’t sure how much overlap there should be in the back. To make matters worse, I didn’t have much fabric left and I was trying to match up these stinking zigzags. I googled. Some sites said 6″. I did not have 6″. I asked the Sewing Mamas community. No one answered within the first 5 seconds of my posting, so I went off to go it alone. (Yes, I really was that impatient.) The best I could do was about 4 inches, sliding the bigger piece around trying to get the best alignment of zigs and zags.
These zigzags were really making me crazy. (Crazier?) To line them up, I could have about an inch and a half overlap, which was not likely to be enough, the 4-ish that I went with, or almost 7″, which I didn’t have enough fabric for, and might have been too much to be able to get the pillow in and out of the cover.
Once I settled on the 4″ overlap, I hemmed the piece that was going to be on top and just ran the edge of bottom piece through the serger. Then I pinned the two pieces together so they wouldn’t get shifty on me when I was trying to attach the front.
Shortly after all that pinning, it occurred to me that this was a very bad decision. Do you see why?
If I had left the pins in there and then sewed the front and back right sides together, it would have been rather challenging to remove the pins to turn the cover right side out. All the pin heads would have been inside the cover!
Once I had the overlap figured out, I got this brilliant idea that I didn’t have to actually trim the corners for the back like I had the front piece. I could just pin it all together and then run the serger over it, cutting off the extra when I run over the purple line.
Ooops! That doesn’t work because when you reach the corner, you will have a bunch of extra fabric that is not near the serger’s knife. You’ll have to pull the piece completely off the machine, cut the extra fabric and then try again. It did seem like a good idea at the time. If you are sewing on the sewing machine instead of the serger, you can leave the back pieces bigger and then trim them after they are seamed.
Looks lovely before you put a pillow in it…
And then, once the pillow is in, you realize – it didn’t matter that the zig zags were lined up because the middle of the pillow is going to be fatter and pull the cover apart more than it will on the sides. Well, isn’t that annoying! All that carefully aligning, all the pinning, and for what? Probably a lesson in there somewhere…
Because really, it looks fine. And you’re not supposed to be inspecting the pillow, you’re supposed to be using it to make a cozy spot. It doesn’t really go with my chair, but it’s going to my sister’s, so it should look fine there in my nephew’s room with its matching curtains and crib skirt.