Recycled Bag Tutorial
The sleeves are used to make the handles and straps, and the body of the jacket makes the bag.
Before we start some quick tips – your sewing machine is going to be taking some strain stitching through various amounts of bulky fabric. Help it to cope by using the appropriate size sharp needle, using long stitches and sewing slowly.
- Start by aligning the jacket, ensuring the bottom of the front and back of the jacket are both straight, and together.
- Cut across under the arm pit –I recommend using a ruler as a guide to ensure a straight line.
- Sew down the front of the jacket, alongside the top stitching. Tip: Remove the buttons, stitch the seam and sew back on.
- Next create the handles and top of the bag out of the sleeves. With a little bit of juggling/measuring you can get a top of the bag (the equivalent of a waistband on a skirt), and handle out of each sleeve.
- Cut the sleeves off from the rest of the jacket along the shoulder seam.
- From the longest part of the sleeve cut a 52cm long and 8cm wide piece. This will be folded to create a handle 3cm wide.
- From the lower part of the sleeve, cut the bag “waistband”. The size will depend on the size of the sleeves, but ideally should be at least 4-5 cm deep, plus seam allowance. You will either need two pieces per sleeve or to utilise the seam that runs under your arm. This makes the front or back of the “waistband”.
- When making the handles and “waistband” I recommend using heavy weight interfacing to strengthen the fabric. This part of the bag takes the most strain when used.
- To make the handles iron on your interfacing press the rectangle in half, then turn in a seam allowance of 1cm along both long edges and press.
- Top stitch together, on both sides for good visual affect and to add strength.
- For the waistband allow 1cm seam allowance and cut the interfacing to the size without seam allowance. This keeps the bulk down, which your sewing machine will appreciate!!
- Measure your waistband, unpick the central seam (if utilising the seam in the sleeve) and insert the straps equal distance from the centre. My personal preference is for a 8cm gap between one handle and the next.
- Re stitch the seam securing the handles.
If you would like a magnetic clasp into the waistband, now is the time to insert it – endeavouring to have the handles equal distance from the sides of the bag, and the clasp in the middle. There are excellent tutorials on-line for inserting a magnetic clasp if you are unsure.
Now you have handles, and the “waist band”.
Body of the bag
- Compare your waistband size with the top piece of your jacket.
- These need to match up. You can do this by placing pleats in the jacket, and/or by altering the side seams – this a trial and error process!
As this bag is made from a larger jacket I am doing both.
- Stitch in any alterations to match main bag with waistband.
- Turn the jacket inside out, and sew along the bottom of the jacket. This creates a large pocket/bag.
- Lay the pocket bag wrong side out on top of the lining fabric and use it as a template to cut round.
- Create any internal pockets you would like.
- Place the rights sides of you bag lining together and sew round. This creates a bag to match the jacket bag. Note I have not pleated the lining, making it to the size of the main bag, this is to make any internal pockets sit well.
- Returning to the outside of the jacket bag add some width to the bag by folding the side seam to the bottom seam.
- Sew across at a 90 degree angle and sew the same width on the lining.
- Trim across.
- Hand stitch the lining to the newly created seams, before turning right side out.
- With the right sides together pin then tack the waistband to the front of the bag and lining. Do the same for the reverse of the bag. Tip If you are using a magnetic clasp do check it aligns and fastens neatly.
- Stitch the “waistband” & handles to the body of the bag.
- Pin the side seams. Ensure the middle seam of each waistband is correctly aligned with each other.
- Stitch the side seams of the waistband.
- Fold over the waistband, turn in the seam allowance, pin then tack.
- Top stitch the ”waistband” at the top and bottom.
You’ve done it… excellent One recycled bag:)