Here are some great tips from a short article on bag construction by Katrina Loving that originally appeared in Stitch Fall 2011:
Organize your bag
by adding pockets!
Handbag, purse, clutch, tote, or carryall, you just never have enough of these useful accessories! Use the following tips the next time you feel inspired to stitch up a bag.
Consider the Stress Points
Think about how your bag will be used. Will you be toting heavy loads? Will you be storing the bag by hanging it from a hook? Make sure that your stitching is strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of everydayuse. Here are some techniques to strengthen your tote:
–Double stitch (stitch the first seam, then stitch again within the seam allowance, 1⁄16-1⁄8" from the first seam line) and/or topstitch seams (catching the seam allowances in the stitching) to add strength. Try using a contrasting thread to make topstitching an eye-catching design element.
–To attach exposed straps or handles, topstitch a square on the strap/handle, then topstitch an X shape through the middle of the square.
–Bartack or use a short zigzag stitch at the top corners of patch pockets to reinforce the attachment.
Organize Your Essentials
Most of us have lots of little things we carry around that can easily become lost in the depths of a handbag. If you plan to use your bag to carry things such as a cell phone, pens, makeup, and other loose items, consider adding pockets, so you can easily find what you need. Here are some tips to make sure your pockets serve their purpose well:
–Topstitch lines from the top to the bottom of a pocket to quickly create divided slots for multiple items that are about the same length.
–Create a separate pocket just for your cell phone. Measure the length, width, and depth (thickness) of your cell phone and record the measurements. To ensure that your phone will fit into the pocket, you'll want to add about twice the depth measurement to the width. This is the spacing you'll need between the stitch lines attaching the pocket to the bag. Remember that you'll also need to fit the length of the phone between the bottom stitching on the pocket and the top of the pocket.
–In the side seam near the top edge of the bag, sew a length of sturdy cord or trim to create a small loop. Use a key chain clip to attach your house or car key.
For more ideas and techniques on sewing bags, along with a wealth of construction tips, check out the 24-Hour Digital Sale (30% off!) in the Sew Daily Shop.
Do you have any clever tips for constructing bags? Do tell?