We live in a place where it rains…a lot. This past week and a half it’s only sprinkled a few times and people have been calling for drought plans. Before this we were in a place that could safely be classified as a desert. So it took quite a bit of getting used to when we moved. We all bought raincoats, wellies, umbrellas, rain covers, etc. One thing I hadn’t thought about was how to transport things from one place the another. Before, we always had two cars but since moving to England, even one car can sometimes seem excessive. Bug and I walk everywhere. One place that I’m hesitant to walk to in the rain though, is the library. This should not be the case. The library is a perfect place to enjoy a rainy afternoon but I hesitate because I don’t want to be toting precious books about in the constant precipitation that we enjoy here. So, I’ve decided the best possible solution is to upgrade our library bag, from whatever happens to be lying about handy, to a proper bag. One that has a flap to close up the top and that is able to convey the books in the comfort and security that they deserve. I even got a bit fancy and added a pocket for library cards. Bug loves it and has taken to wearing it about even if we aren’t going to the library.
Now, my mother is an amazing seamstress. Her edges are perfectly straight, her corners crisp, everything looks professional when she finishes. I am…hmmm I am searching for the right word… Not a professional but above standard. I cut corners (sometimes, literally) and make mistakes but generally end up for what I was aiming for. So, if you happen to share the sewing qualities of my mother please don’t send me messages telling me how to do it better. I know. I just am a bit lazy when it comes to sewing. Lazy! That’s the word I was looking for!
I’ve labeled each piece of the pattern and side with a corresponding letter and number in hopes that that will make it easier to understand.
You will need about:
- 1/2 meter for the inner fabric
- 1/2 meter for the outer fabric
- corresponding thread
- sewing machine, pins, scissors
- Cut out the pieces you will need:
- Inner fabric: a rectangle 14″x16″ (1) & a rectangle 14″x21″(4)
- Outer fabric: a rectangle 14″x16″ (2) & a rectangle 14″x21″ (3)
- Fabric for the strap: 30.5″x3″ (5)
- Library Card Pocket (optional) 2.75″x 4″
- Match up inner and outer fabrics with the colorful sides facing each other. Fold 5 lengthwise with the colorful fabric facing itself.
- Pin and sew along the sides and bottom indicated below, leaving about a half an inch seam allowance:
- 1B to 4D, 1C to 4C, 1D to 4B
- 2B to 3D, 2C to 3C, 2D to 3B
- 5A to 5C
- Now snip along the corners of 1&4 and 2&3 as shown in the picture below.Now to have a squared corner, pull the perpendicular edges to make a triangle with the point ending at the corner of your previous seam. Sew about half an inch down, straight across.
- Now you can turn pieces 2&3, & 5 outwards. If you are doing the library card pocket:
- Fold the top edge down and sew a hem. B. Turn pieces 1&4 outwards and attach the pocket about 1″ down from the top seam. Then using a zigzag stitch sew along the outside of the pocket. Make sure to only sew it to piece 1 and not all the way through to 4. Once finished turn pieces 1&4 back, with right side in.
- You’ll now want to pin 3A & 4A together with the patterns facing each other. Sew all the way along the top flap of the pocket.
- Ok, now it’s a tiny bit tricky. Fold the patterned side of pieces 1&4 inside out and pin 1A to 2A. Sew along this seam but remember to leave about a 3″ gap on the seam.
- Now using the gap you left in the seam (You left one, right??) pull the bag completely through the hole so that it’s completely right side out.
- You can now fold the inner fabric into the outer fabric to make a bag! Huzzah! Almost there. We still have that pesky hole though, plus I don’t think the top bit looks too nice. To fix this I sew an additional seam into around the flap and the top of the bag. The second seam should be about a quarter of an inch in from the first. If you’d like to iron your seams at this point to make them crisp, please be my guest. I HATE ironing and avoid it all costs. We didn’t even have an iron until a few months ago. Ten years + no iron = heaven. For the extra seams, first sew the flap.
When you’ve finished sewing the flap sew and additional seam onto 1A &2A. You can use this seam to sew the hole closed.
- Now you’ve mostly finished your bag! We’re going to finish up with the strap. Fold the exposed edges in and pin them (5B & 5D). We’re going to sew a second seam on to the strap as well.
- Now pin the strap onto the back of the bag. Do not sew completely through the bag. You should only being sewing through pieces 3 & 4. Sew an outer rectangle and then a cross through the center to make sure it’s sturdy. TA DA! You’re done! Great work and enjoy your new library bag by filling it up!
Note: You can also add velcro to keep your bag closed. I’m going to try it out for a few weeks and see if I want to or not.