I mean doesn’t everyone need a booby bag in their life?

The Fabric has been catching my eye for ages but I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with it for the longest time. Being a medium weight canvas fabric it primarily lends itself to home furnishing projects although I’m never one for following the rules so I darted around lots of different options before finally finding this bag pattern and deciding this is what it needed to be.

Simplicity 2274 is a pattern for an overnight bag, clutch and luggage tag. The image on the pattern envelope does nothing to show the size that this bag actually is… its absolutely huge! The bag is a simple box style shape with a quilted finish to the outside of the bag and 2 outer pockets. (1 zipped) It is a really versatile bag that would most definitely fit enough in it for not just an overnight trip but I think for a long weekend away.

The fabric advice for this bag is broadcloth, gingham, canvas, linen, linen blends or chintz. You’re ideally looking for something that is going to be strong and hardwearing. Something thinner like a standard cotton fabric would still work but the fabric is likely to wear out quickly as especially at the bottom of a bag (where it meets the floor) and where the straps attach the fibres will quickly wear out so its worth using one of the suggested fabric types in my opinion.

One flaw I quickly identified in the pattern is that it does not account for one-way prints. The main bag is made up of 1 piece meaning that 1 side of the bag would have the print upside down on it. Not wanting to have upside down boobs on my bag I made a very simple adaptation and added 1.5cm(standard seam allowance) onto the fold edge and cut as 2 pieces (rather than 1 piece cut on the fold) which I then seamed together so that the main body piece had the print going in both directions on each side (the seam is on the underside of the bag so is very inoffensive to the finished look). It is simple little tricks like this that really improve the final outcome of a project and its always worth thinking about before you cut.

One hindsight moment I did have though comes only from having made the bag up. The pattern asks you to cut out the main body and end pieces in the outer fabric, inner fabric and quilt batting. They are then sandwiched together and quilted to hold all the layers in place. I found that because of the layers moving a little during the quilting process once I had finished (and trimmed the layers square) the pieces were slightly smaller than the pattern. When making again I would cut 1 piece of each of the layers big enough for both the pattern pieces to easily fit on, quilt the whole piece and then cut out the pieces so they retain the correct size.

The instructions state to quilt the fabric in a very specific way but don’t feel restricted by this as it can be quilted in any which way you like. I chose to use diagonal lines as I like the way this looks and thought it would add more interest than the vertical lines indicated in the pattern. One little tip if you want to do a parallel line quilting pattern is to use the quilting guide (this is a metal bar that comes with some machines/accessory packs and slides into a slot just above the needle) to line up the distance you want between your lines.

Once you’ve got your pieces quilted and attached the front pocket, the next step is to sort the straps. The straps on this bag are made from 2 layers, a fabric and a webbing. The pattern envelope says to use a 9cm wide jute webbing, however I could not locate any webbing this wide anywhere at all! After deciding that it wouldn’t matter too bad if the straps weren’t as wide as needed I decided upon an upholstery webbing. The idea of the webbing is to give the straps more strength so that they are hardwearing enough to carry around the bag as due to its size it could be very heavy once filled up (upholstery products are always great when strength is what is needed). When it came to sewing the fabric onto the webbing to make the straps I had to increase the seam allowance that’s pressed under to account for the narrower width of the webbing. The picture on the bag shows quite a lot of the webbing back visible but actually I quite like it with just the black outline that you get here. Because it’s narrower the width of the tailors tacks was off but I just lined them up with the inside ones as this is what is needed to finish off the front pocket.

The zip closure is a really nice and simple insertion with great instructions provided. My only annoyance with it is there is no mention about finishing the raw edges you then get on the inside. My opinion is a project should look as neat on the inside as it does on the outside, this is even more true of a bag as the inside is so often accessed and takes so much wear and tear. There are lots of different ways to finish these seams; overlocking, zigzag or binding. I decided upon binding as it was going to seal in the edge of the quilt batting and by doing it in the same as the inner fabric it looks really smart.

Once you’ve inserted the top zip, you prepare the side panel that has the zipped pocket before sewing the square ends onto the main bag piece matching the tailors tack markings to the corners. By snipping the main body of the bag at the markings it makes it much easier to sew around the corners of the bag ends. (I bound these seams after I had sewn them but you could do it before but you’d end up binding twice rather than once)

This is one of those really satisfying projects that looks instantly fabulous and is incredibly useful. I am in love with how this fabric looks too and the combination of the plain red inner and red stripe straps just works so well. I am a big fan of making items that make a statement and stand out… I’m pretty confident that this bag is going to do that next time I go away!