Tutorial: Small Crossbody Bag

DSC05030.jpgApparently, my purses are a measure of extremes. I have a super large purse that could fit a few small dogs inside of it, and this little crossbody bag. It holds my phone,  wallet, keys and a tube of lipstick but that’s about it. And honestly, that’s all I need 90% of the time! It’s lightweight, and because it’s crossbody it stays out of the way without having to readjust all the time.

I made this pattern based on a crossbody purse that I had already owned which had seen better days. About 4 years of use will do that to a bag. I took my measurements from it, and made my own pattern.

This pattern is best done with heavy weight fabrics to provide the structure and support to the bag. Anything from home decor fabric, to denim, and vinyl will work. My first purse used a heavyweight velveteen twill, but this one is made out of a Goodwilled wool skirt! Be creative with your fabric selections. And if you do end up falling in love with a quilting cotton (I know, I’ve been there) be sure to use a heavyweight interfacing on it, or use WunderUnder to fuse it to a second quilting cotton, so that it has more support.

Supplies for this project include:

  • heavy weight fabric
  • safety pin or loop turner.
  • Scraps of interfacing and magnetic clasp (if you want the purse to securely close)

You will need to draft one pattern piece for this project, everything else  is just rectangles. Let’s get to work!

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The pattern piece drafted will be 9″x7″, with the corners of one of the long edges curved to give your purse a curved bottom.

Pieces you need:

  • Body of purse: Cut 2 of the pattern peice and cut 1 long rectangle 2″x25″
  • Flap of purse: Cut 2 of the pattern piece with 2 inches added to the flat edge
  • Strap of purse: Cut 1 long rectangle 2″x54″. If your fabric isn’t long enough, a bit of piecework will need to be done to make sure that it’s not a baby sized strap.
  • Support: 2 squares of interfacing 1″x1″

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Start by pinning one of the pieces of the body of the purse to the smaller strap (2″x25″) with right sides together. I always cut this rectangle too long, so if it’s too long for your bag don’t worry about it and just cut off the extra later. It will be a challenge to ease it in around the rounded edges, so use as many pins as you feel necessary. Then, sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Repeat with the other piece of the body. At this point, I serge this edge but you may also use fray check or pinking shears. Depending on the fabric you use, give these seams a bit of a steam and press so they lay nicer. The curved bottom generally benefits from this. Boom, you have the beginning of a bag!

We’re now going to finish the top edge of this bag. Finish the raw edge the same as before (serge, fray check, pinking shears) then turn it over 1/2 inch and sew it down so you have a nice folded edge at the top. The bag photographed for this tutorial was a skirt so my edges were already finished, and I just needed to top stitch the rectangle down.

Take the two flap pieces and pin around the edges with right sides together, leaving the flat edge open. Sew together with a 3/8″seam allowance, then trim. Turn right sides out, and iron flat.

At this point, make a decision if you want to use the magnetic clasp or not. If so, lay the flap on the front of the bag so the curved edges line up, an assess where you want the clasp to lay. I have mine about 1 1/2 in from the bottom of the flap in the center. Mark this point with a pin, and turn the flap inside out again. Iron on one of the small 1″x1″ squares of interfacing over this point on the wrong side of the fabric. Attach the magnetic clasp to this point. We will put the other one on after the flap has been sewn on.

Take the sewn flap pieces ironed flat right side out, and turn the raw edges within by about 1/2″. Pin, and machine baste. Lay the flap over the purse so that the magnetic clasp is against the body of the purse and the curved edges of the flap and bag line up with each other. Fold the flat edge of the flap to the back of the purse, pin in place, then sew down.

Look at where the magnetic clasp lays on the bag, mark that point. Apply the other square of interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric at this point, and attach the second magnetic clasp. You now have a clutch! If you wish to stop here without adding a strap, you may. But I personally love a crossbody bag, so…

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Fold over the long 2″x54″ inch strap right sides together, and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk, then turn the strap right side out. You can do this with a loop turner, or if you don’t have one a safety pin works as well. Iron flat, top stitch on each side of the strap 1/8″ from the edge.

You will be folding over the last 1″ of each end of the strap. Pin this to the sides of the purse to see if the length is right for what you want, because once it’s on there’s no adjusting! If not, cut off excess length to make it right for your body. Once it’s fit to you, pin the folded over straps to the side and sew. I sew in a square around the edge of the folded over section, then make an X in the middle to secure it. If you’re concerned about it, back stitch a LOT and it won’t go anywhere. Tada! You’re done! You’ve made your very own cross body bag, for all your minimal bag needs.

This is my first written sewing tutorial, so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and leave feedback.

2 thoughts on “Tutorial: Small Crossbody Bag

  1. Hi
    I came here because of the blouse you posted on Reddit (which was really nice btw) but found your totorial on the crossover bag. I made a similar bag before and had a question about the stitching of the strap to the bag. What is the best stitching that would allow the most support? Like an x pattern or just add more string ? I need a bag that can hold a lot of weight for taking books to and from my library and I check out a lot of books at one time. It would be nice to have a dedicated library bag.
    Thanks

    Like

    1. Thank you! When I stitch the straps on, I go in a rectangle and then form an X over it for extra support. If you’re toting around a lot of weight though, it might be best to make a loop with a D ring and secure it to the body of the bag. Then do the same thing with a clip (like on a dog leash) to the bottoms of the strap. This way the strap can wiggle around without pulling on the stitching. Does that make sense?

      Like

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