Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Shopping Purse (With Pockets!) - with tutorial

I was in the mood to make a new shopping bag, so I started off with the google.  There are lots of options out there.  The one that I liked the best was the Market Tote from Bijou Lovely, and there is a great tutorial at her blog.  I found some quilting weight fabrics in my stash that I had bought to make aprons, but I didn't have quite enough and was looking for something else to use for the lining when I ran across project leftovers from a flowered denim skirt, a pair of disaster pants and a cover for Sergio.  I thought because these were heavier fabrics they may be better for this project, and I thought the colours went together well.


Once I got the outer shell done I decided I liked it so much that I would add pockets inside to make it more like a purse, hence the "shopping purse".  I used my large Michael Kors bag as inspiration because it is about the same size.  I checked out how they did things on the inside and used their idea of the band of matching fabric around the top of the inside - would you call that a yoke?  I think I will call that a yoke - to enclose the top of the zipper tapes.  

Pop can added for perspective
I also really like the credit card slots in my Guess bag that is my current everyday bag.  By adding these pockets the bag can fit quite a bit of shopping (or just my other shopping bags) without having to carry a separate purse for my essentials.  Or I can just use it as a large purse (it is really big!)  I spent a crazy amount of time playing with ideas, thinking of what I wanted to carry in the bag and working out the pockets, but it was fun.  The following is the adaptations I made to the Market Tote.  Unfortunately I didn't take any "in progress" pics, but hopefully you will get the idea from the finished project pics.

To begin I followed the instructions for the outer shell just as described in Bijou Lovely's tutorial.  I cut a piece of plastic mesh (found cheaply at my local Dollar Tree store) to give the bag a firm bottom.  I hand stitched the ends of the plastic mesh to the seam allowances where I boxed the bottom of the bag to keep it from moving about. Then I moved on to the lining.

I debated whether to interface the lining because (a) I am using a heavier fabric than called for for the outer fabric and (b) I am a notoriously cheap b@stard.  But I bit the bullet and interfaced the lining, thinking that I would need the structure in the lining to support the pockets.  I think that was a wise choice.  

 First, I sewed the zippers to the top of the larger patch pockets (2) (I'll call them the base pockets).  My finished base pockets measure 9 1/2" wide (to accommodate a 9" zipper) by 7" deep.   Then onto one of those base pockets I added the smaller cell phone patch pocket and the pre-hemmed slots for lipsticks and a pen.  I didn't write down any measurements for these; I made them to suit by sewing down one edge of the strip, pinning it around a tube of lipstick and sewing down the pinned line, and then repeating for a second lipstick tube (because you always need a choice of two lipsticks, amiright?!) and a pen.  I sewed diagonally across tiny folds on the bottom of the lipstick slots to prevent the lipsticks from falling through.  Alternatively you could just slipstitch the bottom together, maybe gathering it, or sew it down to the base pocket - whatever works for you.

On the second base pocket I attached the credit card slots.  This was made from four strips which had been zigzag hemmed across the top and had the side seams pressed under.  Mine have a finished width between stitching lines of 7", but add extra for folding the sides under and seam allowances to that.  You don't want it so loose that your cards are falling out but not so tight that you can't get them into the slots.  My strips are each offset vertically by one inch.  I started with the top one and sewed just across the bottom, measuring down about 1/8" less than the height of a credit card from the top, leaving the bottom edge raw to minimize bulk as it will be covered by the next strip(s) anyway.  I repeated that procedure for all but the last one.  That one was flipped over and sewn right sides together to give me a finished bottom edge and then pressed up.  Next, starting at the bottom of the strips I sewed a seam up the middle to separate the two sides, followed by a seam up each edge, again starting at the bottom.  You can see in the pic that the self-fabric cord with keyrings is also sewn to this base pocket.  If that is your choice then this is the time to do that.  My intention had been to sew it into the bottom seam of the yoke but I forgot, so it got sewn to this base pocket after the bag was finished.  The cord is just a strip of the bag base fabric sewn closed with a double fold.  I bought a pack of keyrings at the local Dollar Tree and attached one to each end so that I can decide if I want to clip my keys to the loose hanging keyring (that would be good for a house key, for example) or the solidly attached keyring (better for car keys).   

Then I added the base pocket sub-assemblies to the lining.  Note that I haven't assembled the lining yet, so I am working on flat pieces of fabric.  The base pockets are sewn onto the lining as zippered patch pockets rather than cutting into the lining for bagged pockets.  I thought this would be stronger and stand up to wear and tear better.  I wanted to use the yoke to contain the top of the zipper tape.  Before I could calculate where to sew the base pocket onto the lining I had to work out the math for the yoke.  I followed the same method that Bijou Lovely uses to attach the outer base of the bag (starting at step 7 in her tutorial) to come up with the following measurements.  I suggest following her pics to help visualize this part.  By this point I knew that I wanted more structure to the top of the bag because of the added weight of the pockets, so I cut 1" strips of the plastic mesh to encase in the top of the bag.  To accommodate this I wanted a finished yoke depth of 1 1/4".  Allowing for 1/2" seam allowances top and bottom I cut the yoke strip 2 1/4" deep and the width of the lining.  I used a straightedge to draw a line on the lining 1 3/4" from the top edge.  This will be the line to butt the edge of the yoke to.  Then I drew another line 1/2" below this, the width of the base pocket sub-assembly and centred in the middle of the bag, to show where my yoke stitching line will be.  Once that line was drawn I could place the base pocket assembly so that the top of the zipper tape is just above the stitching line so that it will just be encased in that seam line.  I stitched along all four sides of the base pocket sub-assembly, remembering that the top edge of the top zipper tape is the fourth side.   I then drew a line on the yoke 1/2" from the long edge to show my stitching line and stitched it in place as per Bijou Lovely's instructions. 

Zippered pocket with separate section for glasses
In this pic you can see a seam going up the patch pocket at the side of the pen holder.  That seam separates the patch pocket into a larger and smaller compartment so that I have a place to keep my glasses (the smaller compartment) without them getting scratched by anything else.  I had forgotten to plan for a place for my glasses so this was done as an afterthought but I think it will work well, and the larger section is still plenty large enough.  Unfortunately I didn't think of this until the next morning (therefore requiring some disassembly and reassembly on my part) but this would be the time to add this partition. Make sure you don't sew this seam up through the zipper or you won't be able to open/close it. 

I added my 1" strips of plastic mesh after sewing the lining side seams, but in hindsight this is when I should have done that.  Fold back the yoke to expose the lining underneath and baste the plastic mesh to the lining to prevent it moving about.  I was able to sew over the plastic mesh by machine without any problems, or you can tack it in place by hand.  I had to join several pieces of the mesh together to make the strips long enough so I overlapped them a bit at the joins to keep them firm as one long piece.

Seam to close up opening in bottom of lining
I followed Bijou Lovely's instructions to make the handles, assemble the lining and finish the rest of the bag.  The only other changes I made were to leave a seam open at the bottom of the lining so that I could sew the top of the bag to the lining completely and use the opening in the bottom of the lining to turn the assembly right-side-out, and I added a couple of magnetic snaps on the yoke at the base of the handles to keep the bag closed.  I added more keyrings to the zipper pulls but I'm not sure I am happy with that.  I may end up making fabric pulls to attach to the zips.

Whew!  Well I hope that's not too confusing.  Feel free to post any questions and I will try and answer them.