Big Weekend Bag Tutorial - Melody Miller - Ruby Star Shining Fabric

I believe every girl needs lots of bags, of different sizes, different styles and for different uses! And an oversized weekend bag is just one of those bags. When you are away from home for a couple of nights and a large hand bag just won't do but you don't really want to do the whole 'pull you suitcase on wheels' thing.

Read on and I'll show you how you can easily make one for yourself. It isn't even that tricky, as long as you can sew in a (reasonably) straight line and take your time and looking at the pictures, you'll do just fine!

The grand scale of the gorgeous Ruby Star Shining fabric, designed by the very talented Melody Miller for Kokka Fabric Japan, really lends itself to larger sewing projects. Thats why I choose this typewriter and vintage clock design to make this oversized weekend bag. The fabric design is on a 60cm repeat so it took a lot of careful planning to get optimum use of the different compenents of the fabric.

What you will need:

Fabric for outerbag - you need 2 pattern repeats (60cm) of the typewriter and clock fabric, this should give you enough to play around with what pattern you want where and have some left over.

Fabric for lining - I used just under 1m of the vintage clock fabric

Quilt batting 2 panels each approx 50cm x 45cm

Light weight calico or other lightweight plain fabric for creating a quilt sandwich with the outer fabric and batting - 2 panels each approx 50cm x 45cm

1m of strong cotton webbing for bag strap

Thick cardboard board measuring 15cm x 42cm (for bottom of bag)

small scraps of iron-on interfacing

Magnetic bag clasp

Co-ordinating thread

Tools and equiptment

sewing machine, pins, fabric marker pen, measuring tape

Step one - Cut out fabric

First cut out your fabric to the following dimensions shown in the picture. If you are using the fabric I did or a smilar one, its worth spending a bit of time thinking about where to cut your fabric to get the best use of the pattern repeats. N.B. Seam allowances are 1.5cm throughout.

Outer fabric (side pocket optional)

Lining fabric (inside pocket optional)

Step two - prepare pockets

Prepare the top edges of your pockets.Fold and press down approx 1.5cm, then fold down again to hide the raw edges then top stitch two lines of stitching to finish off as shown in the pictures. Repeat this for outside and inside pockets.

Step three - baste pockets

Baste the outside pocket to the side panel and the inside pocket to the one of the lining front/back panels with the wrong side of the pocket facing the right side of the panel. I made the inside pocket slightly wider than the side panel so that the pocket would have more depth and be able to hold more. This means that you have to add a little tuck. You will be creating two pockets so make two tucks about 11.5cm from the edge of the side panel and pin as shown in the picture before you baste the two pieces of fabric together.

Finish preparing the pockets by stitching a long thin rectangle to divide the inside pocket into two as shown in the picture below.

Step four - join side panels to bottom panel

Next join the side panels to the bottom panel of the lining and outer bag to make one long strip. Sew with right sides together and make sure you use reinforcement stitches. Leave a 1.5cm gap at either end of your stitching so that when you join it to the front panel of the bag the fabric can be easily manipulated to sit in the correct way. This will make more sense when you get to that stage. Then finish off raw edges in prefered method (I used zig zag stitch), press open and trim any excess.

Step five - quit outer panels of bag

This step could be optional. I decided to quilt the front and back panels to give the bag a bit more stability and also to highlight certain aspects of the design of the fabric.

To do this make a sandwich with the wrong side of the outer fabric facing the batting and then at the bottom the calico (or other light weight plain fabric). The batting and calico will be bigger but it gets trimmed afterwards to give a neat edge. Pin together these three layers. As I was only doing straight lines I just used the regular straight stitch foot on the machine but if you wanted to be a bit more spontaneous then change to the free machine embroidery foot. Then stitch where you want to accentuate the design of the fabric. Once you've finished just trim the excess batting and calico to get a nice straight edge again.

Step six - join side/bottom panel strip to bag front and back

Start with the lining and match up the sides of the front panel to the side panel, right sides together. Pin in place and continue to line up and pin all the way around the bottom panel and other side panel. When stitching together, when you get to a bottom corner, stop 1.5cm from the edge of the fabric, leave the needle in the down position, in the fabric, and move the bag 90 degrees then start stitching the other edge. This will give a nice sharp neat corner. Because you left a 1.5cm gap when sewing the side and bottom panels together the long strip that you created will easily bend around the corners.

Repeat with the outer bag. This can be a little more tricky as the batting creates extra bulk so just trim a little off the bottom corners as you need to. Finish off the edges with your prefered method. On the outer bag I decided to top stitch the seam towards the front and back panels to help 'frame' it a bit more. See pictures below.

Step seven - insert bottom card to bag

You should now have an outer bag and lining bag shape completed. Before you join the two together insert the extra strong cardboard panel into the bottom of the bag.

Step eight - attach magnetic clasp

This is a lot easier than you would think! Just follow these pictures and look at the co-ordinating instructions at the bottom for clarification.

1. Use a few layers of scrap iron-on interfacing to reinforce the fabric or it can end up ripping.

2. Press over 1.5cm to determine the top edge of the bag.

3. Use this top edge to measure down and mark where the clasp will sit (make sure you determine the middle of the bag as well!)

4. Make where the two prongs of the claps will sit.

5. Then make a small slit where you have marked.

6. Push through the prongs of the clasp

7. Cut two or three scraps with little slits in them for the prongs to sit through. This gives further reinforcement.

8. Place the washer on top and bend the prongs inwards. Then repeat the process with the other side of the clasp, making sure the two will line up correctly.

Step nine - attched lining to outer bag

Place the lining of the bag inside the outer bag, wrong sides together. Pin together with the strap fixed in place as shown. I came out around 5cm from where the magnetic clasp was sitting.

Then stitch around 2cm from the top and just under 0.5cm from the top, creating a square with a cross in the middle at the straps to reinforce them.

And yay your finished!!


Thanks for making it to the end of this tutorial! The echino cotton webbing and vintage clocks and typerwriter/clock fabric used in this tutorial now has 10% off until Friday 24th August 2012! No code required, the price has aleady been dropped for you!

More posts

Sewing projects

Wedding Guest Outfit Sewing Patterns - Laurens Round up!

Plan a beautiful outfit for that special event you have!

New Fabrics

New Fabrics Round Up - March 2024

Laurens round up of all the most gorgeous fabric arrivals!