Make your own shoulder bag – super easy!

You will need one metre of your favourite material, some more material that completely clashes with the original material (if you want your bag to look like all the other home-made bags out there) and a clashy zipper too. Or, if you want your bag to look slightly better than the other home-made offerings, for the second material and the ziper, choose something that complements the first rather than clashes with it, like a flat colour.

You can download a pattern from here if you want to. Seriously, though, you can make this without a pattern – it is super, super easy to do!

Product placement / obligatory product review

Originally when I made this bag I made it by hand – stitch by careful, pains-taking stitch (cos that’s how we roll in the 21st century). However, this is not the most time-effective way to be making hand-made shoulder bags. Oh no, my friends. When it comes to the world of hand-made habidashery, a sewing machine is certainly the way to go.

When it comes to sewing machines, I personally like Janome. Well, I shouldn’t lie to you; Janome was kind enough to send me a sewing machine to try out, actually. Okay, okay – they let me keep it on the priviso that I do a review for it.

This is the aforementioned review.

The Janome that I was sent is this one:

It’s quite an expensive little number I must say but since I got mine for free I’m totally going to encourage you to buy one.

You know how earlier on in the article I posted a link to sewing patterns? Well, with this baby it turns out you’ll never need to follow a pattern ever again. How cool is that! This thing has patterns living inside of it. It’s like a smart-sewing machine. You can download apps for it from the Janome store. It connects to your wifi and updates itself periodically. It’s freaking awesome.

Haha no, I’m just kidding. Gotcha! Actually it turns out that this is just another sewing machine like every other machine out there. The patterns living inside are for embroidery and special stitches. It does not connect to wifi, it does not update itself, and there are no smartphone apps for it. And worst of all: you still have to do most of the work yourself. Darn it!

The shoulder bag

So it boils down to four components: the main bag itself, the zipper, the strap and optionally a pocket.

The strap

The strap: cut it out four inches wide and as long as you need it. Fold it in half, iron it, then unfold; fold each half in half inwards, iron, then fold the whole thing in half again. Sew along each edge. A youtube tutorial showing you what to do.

The main part

The main part is really simple: four pieces of material all cut to the same size; two pieces are your main flashy material, and the other two are the inside, complementary coloured material.

All you have to do is place the material together, making sure the pretty sides are facing inwards, and sew around the edges (left side, bottom, right side, not the top, obviously – also leave a gap of about an inch there) leaving some space on the edges, and then you can just zig-zag over the outsides to prevent the material from fraying. You then repeat this step with the complementary coloured squares. Sewing 101: zig-zags prevent fraying seams.


Zippers are hard

It’s true, they are. They require more forethought. Youtube that shit.

The easier alternative to zippers

Just put a band around the top of complementary coloured material. I think it looks quite good. I cut mine to four inches, but you could do it larger or smaller if you wanted to. I took my inside baggy and attached a band to it – I folded an inch of the band material in… Okay this is complicated to explain so I made a diagram.


If you don’t understand the diagram, that’s cool; actually, I encourage you to just experiment. You learn from your mistakes. As I did. Because I stuffed up quite a bit on this bag. And you know what? That’s cool. You don’t have to follow a stupid pattern to make this bag. It’s freaking easy. Just go do it. Have fun! Then you can write your own blog article about it and unashamedly plug some product, just like I did.

Remember to attach the strap to the bag – there are several ways to go about it. The simplest way is to just sew it on – if you do go with that route, it’s probably better not to do what I did and instead sew it to the inside rather than the outside. Sew it on using  a square with a cross in it. What am I on about?

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Well that’s all I have for you today, folks. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon.

Happy Crafting! xx Phoebes

P.S. Don’t forget to buy Janome! If you want to…

P.P.S. After all that it seems that I forgot to post pics of the bag I made. Ooops!


Posted in: Sewing

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