Nautical Bag {a tutorial}

To all my US friends, Happy Fourth! We've got a day filled with family, BBQ, fireworks, and Bocce ball. The thunderstorm isn't invited. In honor of our Independence Day, I thought I'd post a red, white, a blue craft. 

Ok, ok. 

It's a repost. But, I made this bag a year ago, and it was posted on my family blog before I even had a craft blog, so I'm going to count it as new k? And don't mind the more horrible than usual photos, this was like my third tutorial. Oh, and anything new I added is in {} k?

I saw a great bag at DownEast Outfitters (same place where I got the $10 wedding dress!) For some reason I couldn't find it on their website or anywhere else I checked online, so you'll have to deal with horrendous pictures from inside the dressing room. 

I loved the idea of the bag, but there were a few things that I didn't like about it. The fact that it was black striped (the name "sea striped bag" seemed like it had to be blue!), the ropes weren't "ropey" enough...

the pleats at the bottom and the strange, metallic/ silvery liner with a weird green zipper.

But that's the beauty of doing it yourself, you can make it how you want it! And that's exactly what I did. Here's the final product!

I looooove how it turned out! It was a serious pain in the butt to make (trial and error and I are very good friends now) {ADDED: I had only sewn a few things before this, looking back it really wasn't THAT hard I just had no idea what I was doing} but the end result was worth it!  It's blue striped, pleat-less, with nice "ropey" straps.... 

And and has a nice, clean white liner with pockets for everything I need!

Now here comes the fun part! I'm going to walk you through how I did it! {Yeah, 3rd tutorial remember?}

You will need:

  • 1/3 yard of blue striped, home decor fabric (it took me forever to find this, but I finally found it at Ikea!)
  • 1/3 yard white liner fabric

  • scrap of red home decor fabric (this will be your base)
  • 1 1/3 yard (4 ft) of soft rope (I found mine at Wal*Mart by the trims)
  • 1 package red quilt binding
  • Fabric glue (like Fabritac)
  • Usual sewing notions (sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, seam ripper, etc)
Gathered your materials? Let's get started! *Note: I used a 1/4" seam unless otherwise stated.

You'll need to figure out what you want the base of your bag to be. (The original bag was round, but I though an oval would look better.) I found a small storage basket with an oval base and traced it with my disappearing ink pen. 

Cut out your base and then find the circumference, but don't worry, you don't need a calculator or equations! Just use your measuring tape and lay it along your traced shape. Easy peasy! Keep that number in mind, you'll need it when you  make your pattern. 

This next part is a little confusing, I hope it makes sense! My oval had a 27.5" circumference, so I added a half inch to get 28" (Remember we need to add the half inch for 1/4" inch seam allowance on each side). Since the bag has two sides, each side of the bag needed to be half of my 28" (14") at the base. I wanted the bag to be symmetrical, so when I was making my pattern, I folded a piece of freezer paper in half and drew my pattern, making sure that the base of my bag was 7". That way, when I cut out and unfolded my pattern, I would have a perfectly symmetrical bag with a 14" base! Phew...does that make sense?

This is what my pattern ended up looking like. I added in my measurements to help give you an idea of what the dimensions of my bag are. Cut two pieces from your striped fabric.

Next, you'll need to repeat all the the steps with your liner fabric (though this time, you don't have to figure out all of the math or draw a new pattern! Huzzah!) You should then have six pieces of fabric: one red base, two blue striped pieces cut out from your pattern, one white base, and two white pieces cut out from your pattern. If you want any pockets on the inside, make sure to cut those out too!

Pin your blue striped pieces with the right sides together and sew up the sides with a straight stitch. Sew another zig zag stitch right next to your original stitch for added strength.

Then, pin your base on! This can be tricky, but just be patient and make sure everything lines up. {This is my inexperienced sewer talking again.} Sew around the base, and then again with a zig zag stitch.

See? This helps make the bag stronger.

    Moving onto the liner! If you want to add pockets, now is the time to do so. I cut out two 8x10 pieces out of my liner fabric, folded them in half (right sides together), sewed around leaving a few inches to turn, turned them right side out, and pressed flat. 

    Pin your pockets onto the right side of your liner and make sure it's all straight and even.

    Sew around the sides and bottom of the pocket. Now, this is much easier if you do this BEFORE you assemble your liner. A friend called me while I was working on the bag so when I came back I jumped right into sewing together my liner, completely forgetting about the pockets. Oops!

    Next, repeat the assembly process with your liner. Sew the sides together, and then add the oval base to the bottom. You should now have two bags, one made out of your blue striped/red fabrics, and one made out of your liner!

    Now we've got to add the rope handles! You need two pieces of two foot long rope (or shorter, if that's what you like!) Slightly fray out the bottom to make it easier to sew through and pin it on the wrong side of the "pointy" part of your liner. Sew across the rope several times and test it to make sure it's secure. Repeat with the other side of the rope on the same side of the liner, and then do the whole thing again with the other rope!

    This is what you should have right now. A liner with handles! Now we get to assemble the bag!

    Put the liner into the striped bag with the wrong sides together. When you look inside, it should look like the inside of a purse, with no exposed raw edges (except for the ones at the top.)

    When it's all lined up (take extra care lining up the raw edges at the top of the bag, this is where it counts) pin the bag together. I pinned farther down because I wanted the bag to stay together, but I also wanted room to pin on the quilt binding.

    This to me was the trickiest part of the bag (this was my first time using quilt binding, and I've only used bias tape once!). Use your quilt binding to hid the raw edges all around the top of your bag. (You'll need to cut different sizes and different angles, don't try to use just one continuous piece!) Pin in place. 

    Sew along your quilt binding, hiding the raw edges. I loved that I didn't have to do any turning right side out with this bag!

    You're almost done!! I didn't use all of my quilt binding so I cut four 2 inch pieces to cover the part where the rope meets the bag (if you're like me, it's a little bit messy! But you seasoned sewers might not need this step :) I used fabric glue to secure it on the bag, then wrapped it around the rope, folded under the raw edge, and glued in place. Do it again three more times.

    AND YOU'RE DONE!!! Fill it up, and go out there and flaunt your beautiful new, Nautical Bag! This would make a great gift for any lady (including yourself ;) in your life wanting a little more summertime!

    {Hmmm, not so bad for an early tutorial! I will also add that I STILL use this bag, and although it does look a little beat up it's held up wonderfully over the past year. Enjoy!}


    Karmen said...

    Obožavam ovakve mornarske torbe. Baš bi mi dobro došla za odlazak na plažu. Super tut. Lijep pozdrav

    Kara @ Mine for the Making said...

    LOve it! Glad you reposted this because somehow I missed it last year!

    WobiSobi said...

    Amie, Amazing bag!! I LOVE it!
    so glad you re posted it!!

    Shannon said...

    So cute! I just came across this, but have been reading the site for awhile and can't wait to try this one out.

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