It’s time for another bag because you can never have too many bags right? Do you ever need just a small bag that you can throw just a few things in? Phone, keys, wallet, maybe a list or two? I am calling this my Just the Essentials bag. It’s a perfect small tote bag with a couple of zipper compartments and fits just enough:
It’s got a main compartment with a pocket inside:
And a zipper pocket on the front as well:
Just the Essentials Small Tote Bag Pattern:
- 1/3 yard each of two coordinating fabrics
- 2 7 inch zippers
- 2 one inch D rings
- 2 swivel hook clasps (or any type of clasp found in the hardware part of your sewing store)
From your main fabric cut:
- One 7 3/4″ by 11″ piece (this will be the main back piece on the outside)
- One 6 3/4″ by 7 3/4″ piece (bottom of pocket part)
- One 4 1/2″ by 7 3/4″ piece (top of pocket part)
- Two 4″ by 2 1/2 or 3″ pieces (for the tabs to attach strap)
- One 44″ by 3″ piece (for the strap)
From your inner fabric cut:
- Two 7 3/4″ by 11″ piece
- One 6 3/4″ by 7 3/4″ piece (referred to as lining in the instructions)
- One 4 1/2″ by 7 3/4″ piece (referred to as lining in the instructions)
- One 18″ by 7 3/4″ piece (for inner pocket)
Let’s make the strap first. With your long piece (44 inches by 3 inches ) fold it so that right sides are together and sew up the long side. Turn right side out and press so that the seam is on the back.
Grab your clasps. Fold the end of your strap over the clasp and tuck the end under (like a hem) and sew in place. Do this with both ends of your strap. Set the strap aside.
Now grab your two short and narrow pieces (4 inches by 3 inches ). Fold them with right sides together and sew up the long side and turn right side out. Press so that the seam is at the back. These will be for your D rings but you aren’t going to use them yet, so set them aside for now.
Pocket: To make an inner pocket for your bag get your piece that is 18″ by 7 3/4.” Fold it in half to make it 9″ by almost 7 3/4″ and press. Sew a straight stitch through the folded edge. Set this aside.
Let’s get your bag pieces that are 6 3/4 inches by 7 3/4 inches and 4 1/2 inches by 7 3/4 inches. We need to insert the middle of the bag zipper here, so get one of your zippers ready. With your lining pieces fold the top of each under about 1/2 inch and press.
Take your larger pieces. You are going to sandwich the zipper between them (with right sides together) so that the main fabric is going up, the bottom fabric is going down and the zipper is in the middle with the right side of the zipper facing the main fabric. *The part that you just folded under and pressed needs to go along the zipper with the folded under edge facing up.
Look carefully at this image to make sure you have it lined up right:
Using your zipper foot sew along the edge of the zipper (the side of the zipper that is closer to the bottom of this picture). For this step and all zipper sewing in this tutorial, sew a little ways, then put your needle down and then slide your zipper pull out of the way and continue sewing. This will prevent you from having to sew around the pull.
Now you need to do the same thing with the other side of your zipper. Get the fabric lined up the same way and do it again. Again make sure you use the folded under edge of the lining fabric as the edge you sew on the zipper and make sure you place it so that the folded under edge is up, against the zipper.
When you are finished, press it all flat and it should look like this:
Now get your other zipper ready along with your larger pieces 7 3/4 inches by 11 inches. You are going to do a similar thing to what you just did, but slightly different.
Sandwich the zipper between the two fabrics again, but this time you will have both of them on the same side of the zipper. So (look closely again at the image below), the zipper is facing up so that it faces the main fabric and the bottom fabric is under the zipper. I am now going to sew the part of the zipper that is shown in the top of this photo:
It should look like this on the other side:
Do that to both sides of the zipper.
Now separate each side of the bag so that you have same fabrics together. So the inner fabric together and the other fabric together with right sides facing. Make sure the zipper at the top of the bag is about half way unzipped.
Place your pocket piece between your inner fabric pieces with the bottom of it flush with the bottom edges of the bag.
On your outer fabric you need to sandwich the little D ring straps inside right near the top like this: (so that the D rings are inside and the two ends of the strap hang out the edge and will get sewn through.
You will now sew around the outside of the bag. Leave a small opening for turning at the bottom center of your inner fabric.
Also, don’t sew through your zippers or you will break a needle. Sew right up to it, stop, knot, move your needle and begin again.
Now reach through your opening and turn the main fabric right side out. Fold the opening in the inner fabric inward and sew it closed.
Tuck the inner part into the outer part and make sure you have everything all smooth, corners pressed out and nice.
Hook your strap onto your D rings and you are set.
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