Bag Tutorial – alternate top seam method

In my last bag tutorial (Gusseted Tote Bag Tutorial parts 1-5), I used the pillowcase method to attach the bag’s lining to the shell. I don’t usually use the pillowcase method. This is strictly a preference thing. So, if you like the pillowcase method and are happy with your results, keep using it. If you want to try something new, or maybe you don’t like the top of your bags, try this next method.

I am now presenting to you the “Cathy is a perfectionist and the pillowcase method ruffles her feathers” method, aka the “CIAPATPMRHF” method. I won’t lie to you, this method is like it’s name… it takes longer and is a little more labor intensive than the pillowcase method.

Step 18A (the “A” means it is the alternative method): Place the liner inside the shell with wrong sides facing.

Step 19A: Start folding down the edge of the shell and the edge of the liner (fold the shell to the inside, fold the liner to the outside… this way the folds are facing each other).

Fold the lining so that it is set slightly lower than the shell. This gives the top of your bag a clean edge.

When you pin the lining to the shell, make sure that the side seams of both line up. What I usually do is fold down the shell first, then line up the side seams. Then I go all the way around pinning the lining to the shell.

Step 20A: Lay the bag flat. This way you can make sure that the opening is even.

This picture shows how the lining is lower than the shell.

Step 21A: In this step, I sewed the lining into the bag without the handles in place.

This particular lining fabric was so slippery, I could hardly keep it pinned in place. If you are using a cotton lining, you can sew the lining and handles at the same time. See step 22A for placement of the handles if you are sewing them with the lining.

I like to sew with the lining up because I can see exactly where it is.

Step 22A: Mark the center of the bag with pins. Then measure out to where the insides of the handles will be.

If you sewed all the way around the bag like I have shown, you have to rip open the seam to place the handles. More precise sewers would have left small openings for the handles. I’m not that precise and I love my seam ripper.

You will want to open the seam slightly wider than the width of the handles.

Step 23A: Slide the handles into the openings. Pin into place. Make sure the handles are the same length by holding them next to each other.

Sew the handles into place.

Go back to the Gusseted Bag Tutorial for hard bottom instructions.

Voila, you are done! Sit back and enjoy your bag.


13 thoughts on “Bag Tutorial – alternate top seam method

  1. Oh my goodness! A bag-making tutorial! I’ve been admiring Tracy’s craftsmanship (those clean zippers kill me).

  2. Thank you ever so much for this highly interesting tutorial! I’m about to get my Mom’s sewing machine soon and mind you, this tut will come in very, very handy as I’m going to tackle a bag first then! Fingers crossed, pleeze 😉

  3. Thanks for answering the questions on my blog. Great tutorials here. I’m going to look at your blog for inspiration when I get back from vacation!

  4. Great detail in your tutorial. I always cringe when I turn my bags inside out through the little hole.. hoping I don’t stretch it too much. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Pingback: Out of the Sewing Rut! « Mudmuffins and Woogiemonsters

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