Monday, 1 April 2013

Sewing machine bag instructions

Sewing machine bag

For my bags I used quite a heavy woven cotton in two patterns, and canvas as thick as I could sew through! The size will fit a standard sized sewing machine with a bit of room to spare, you could adapt the measurements for a larger machine. I used foam board for the base which is sturdy enough but can be cut through, you can buy this from craft shops, or use ply wood or mdf which you will have to saw.
1.       For the sides, cut two rectangles of fabric measuring 17” x 13.5”
2.       Cut two of the same size in canvas.
3.       Apply Heat and Bond with a hot iron to each piece of canvas, peel off the backing and re-iron onto the wrong side of your fabric.
4.       Using a cup or mug as a template, round off the top two corners of each rectangle.

5.       For the pocket, two pieces of fabric measuring 9” square, sewn right sides together top and bottom to make a tube, turned the right way round and pressed. I added a strip of lace to the top, ribbon would be okay too.

6.       For the bottom of the bag, cut a rectangle of fabric 17” x 8”, and Heat and Bond this to a piece of canvas the same size.
7.       For the hard inner base, cut a rectangle of foam board or similar to 7” x 16”.
8.       Cut a piece of your fabric to around 18” x 14” and wrap around the base, gluing to secure.

9.       For the zipped section, you’ll need a 45” length of continuous zip with two sliders that meet in the middle, and four strips of fabric measuring 45” x 4”.
10.   The handle is a piece of upholstery webbing 3 yards long. [There may be a couple of inches left over]

11.   Sew the bottom of each side right sides together to the bag base.

12.   Place the pocket in the centre of the front panel and sew down each side.
13.   Pin the handles in place, starting at the base of the bag, up the front and loop over the top for the handle, and back down the other side. Make sure both sides are equal distance from the sides, and about 7.5” apart, covering the sides of the pocket.

14.   Take the strap around the second side of the bag, keeping the handles the same length.
15.   Sew in place, sew a cross at the top of the handle for strength, and don’t sew the handle too close to the top of the bag to leave room for fitting the zipped section.

16.   To sew in the zip, sew the first edge of the zip face down onto the long strip of fabric. Lay the second strip over the top and sew again. For the confident, you can do this in one movement, sandwiching the zip between the two strips of fabric. Open up and press, then stitch the other side of the zip to the remaining two strips in the same way. Open up and press again.

17.   I sewed all the way around the outside of this panel just to hold its shape.

18.   Lay your bag face up, and pin the zipped panel face down to the base, and sew across the two ends.
19.   Pin the side of the zipped panel all the way around one side of the bag, and sew, leaving the other end open for now.

20.   Pin and sew the other side of the zipped panel to the second side of the bag.
21.   Open the zip enough to turn and finally sew the base of the bag to the other end of the zipped panel. You’ll find that the zip will need trimming by about an inch, I did this to make sure the zip wasn’t too short, it’s easier to shorten the zip than to try and add length to it!

22.   Turn your bag the right way round.

23.   Fold the handles in half where you’ll hold them, then stitch together.

 24.   To stop the zip opening too far, put a dab of glue on the teeth of the zip where you want it to stop.

25.   Push 4 bag feet through the base of the bag, close to each corner, these are affixed in the same way as large brads.



This is a bag made by another Debz, Debbie Walker, following the pattern above...


  1. This is Fantastic Debbie. Thank you for sharing this bag pattern. I used to do a lot of sewing and you have inspired me to start again. XXX

  2. Thank you Debbie. You have inspired me to actually buy a sewing machine! Lynn xxx

  3. Thanks for this tutorial! I was about to spend money on a really ugly bag but I will try this (although it looks a teeny bit scary with that long zip!!!) xxx

  4. Can you please tell us much of each fabric and canvas you need please?! (Yards)

  5. Veľmi dobrý nápad, aj ja ušijem na môj šijací stroj. Dakujem za nápad, je super!

  6. Hi Debbie

    I've just found this after a web search. I got lucky finding a big piece of thick uPVC (I think that's what it's called) patterned table cloth /bag fabric for less than £5 and wanted to make my own machine bag from it. This pattern would come in useful, thank you.
    Crafty hugs,
    T x

  7. did you do anything to the inside of the bag like a lining or cover the seams with bias tape???

    1. I didn't line this one, the fabric is so heavy with interfacing that I felt it didn't need one, and the seams don't fray. If it were a handbag that would be a different matter!

    2. Could you have put bias tape on the seams inside? the reason why I'm asking is because I'm making it for a friend and I want it to look as professional as I can. And I thought you didn't use interfacing?

    3. Hi Sarah, I interfaces the sides with canvas and heat and bond, you could use single sided fusible interfacing, make sure it's a strong one to support the sides. Bias tape would finish off the seams beautifully, I'd suggest a denim needle as you'll have quite a few layers of fabric to sew through! I'm sure your friend will love it!

    4. Thank you so much for responding, I really appreciate it!!! :)

  8. I really appreciate your tutorial, I am teaching two of my granddaughters to sew and I would like to make the bags for our sewing machines. I'm in the planning and gathering materials stage. Where did you find the continuous zip and slides? Thanks sew much! Becky

  9. I get mine from E bay, there are loads of colours and they're really quite inexpensive!

  10. Hi Debbie, I've been working on the sewing machine bags for my granddaughters and myself. I call theirs "Big Sister-Little Sister Bags" lol
    I will have mine finished soon also, but a different material. If there is a way to post a picture I will. Thanks again for the tutorial.

  11. Thanks debbie, really appreciate all your tutorials and ideas, have been working on the sewing bag today out of a £1 curtain remnant, looking great so far! Zipped bags next. Thanks again.

  12. I love a bargain! Glad you like the tutorials...

  13. I've just made one for my super jeans ! Thanks Debbie for helping us hobbyists.... so easy to follow x made a little pouch bag for the pedal and plugs from leftovers too ... Eee I'm right proud of my little self lol x
    Next is to attempt the owl bag on your CD wish me luck lol x hugs x

  14. I loved your bag! I want to make one for when I go travel and I have a double face quilt fabric that I would like to use for the bag. Do you have any tips on how to incorporate this type of fabric to the bag? I mean, the quilt fabric already has that cushion effect, so I'm not sure what to do. Thanks!

    1. This is the fabric I mean:

  15. I have just got back into sewing after a 20 year break. Before that I used to sew all the time. In those days there were plenty of local places to get fabrics and haberdashery, but not now. I am really struggling to get strong enough fabric. I have searched the internet, but am not sure what I am looking for. Any suggestions as to where I can look for the right fabric? Thanks.

  16. Awesome! Thanks - just what I was looking for :-) <3

  17. Por gentileza você tem o molde dessa linda bolsa para vender ?

  18. what is the finished size of this bag?