Geeky Owl Bag Tutorial
For this project, you will need one yard of Happy Sew Lucky Geeky Owl fabric available here. This design is available in two colours and in files designed to maximize two fabric weights: a Kona version and a Linen-Cotton blend version. The Kona is quilting weight cotton, so makes a softer bag with a 38″ strap. I prefer the linen-cotton blend though, as it holds the bag shape better, and since it is 12″ wider than the Kona, it allows for a longer strap – about 49″ long once sewn on. But best of all, because of the extra width, I was able to include a bonus matching zipper pouch on the Linen version that is large enough to hold a Kindle. (IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ORDERING: Make sure that you pick the design with the correct fabric type in it’s name. i.e.: LINEN or KONA. If you order the design with “Kona” it it’s name on “Linen fabric” it will not include the Kindle pouch pieces. You can see the second owl face for the kindle pouch on the Linen options.)
My initial tutorial was done using the turquoise & yellow design, but I have since added some additional images using the pink. Take care to check pattern piece names as you follow along, to make sure that you are sewing the correct pieces. The initial turquoise and yellow design that I used for the pics did not have the notch markings on it. These were added later to make the pattern easier to follow.
Additional note: Since Spoonflower requires the instructions to be printed on the fabric as part of their contest rules the initial design had them on. But I find that this is a terrible waste of fabric, so now that the contest is over, I have replaced the instructions with an extra pattern piece for an inside pen pocket. If you bought your fabric before this change was made, you can add this pocket by cutting a piece of fabric from your stash to a size of 9.5″ x 6.5″ (240 mm x 165 mm). On the Wrong Side of one of the 6.5″ sides, mark 2 dots 3″ apart, 1/4″ (6mm) from the edge.
The tutorial for the matching Owl Zipper Pouch will be posted by April 25.
2“ (50mm) of 3/4” (20mm) wide Velcro
14″ (30cm) of cord Elastic
20″ x 40″ (52cm x 104cm) of Iron-On Medium-weight Interfacing
PATTERN INFO & HANDY TIPS:
Seam allowance = 1/4″ (6mm)
Double stitch at start and end of all seams. Sew at a SLOW speed when going around curves. It makes accuracy so much easier. Use pinking shears for notching curves – it’s easier, quicker and there’s less chance of you snipping your seam.
STEP 1: PREPARATION
A) Press your fabric. Cut along the yellow dashed line to separate the pattern pieces needing interfacing. (to the right and below yellow dashed line) Iron interfacing onto the Wrong Side of all pattern pieces within interfacing area. (Do not iron interfacing onto Zipper Pouch pieces) Cut out all pieces on the black outlines.
B) Transfer pattern markings to reverse side of fabric with pencil or fabric marker on FRONT BELLY POCKET, FLAP INTERIOR and BACK INTERIOR LINING pieces.
STEP 2 – FRONT POCKET:
A) Fold FRONT BELLY POCKET in half with Right Sides Together. Stitch from dot around each side up to the fold, leaving open between dots. Notch curves and trim corners.
B) Turn Right Side Out. Fold in the opening seam allowance at the bottom, and press.
C) Separate velcro strips and cut the soft side in half. Stitch one of these 1” lengths onto Right Side of FRONT BELLY POCKET on where indicated.
D) Place Pocket on Right Side of BAG FRONT EXTERIOR 1.5” from the BAG FRONT bottom edge, centred horizontally. Topstitch Pocket in place, leaving top end open.
STEP 3: SIDE POCKETS:
A) Fold both SIDE POCKETS in half Wrong Sides Togther. Press then fold 1/4” (6mm) top edge over line A. Press. Fold 1/2” (12mm) over line B. Press.
B) Top stitch fold down, leaving open on each end.
C) Fold and pin box pleats in place so that the “box” is on the side with the markings.
D) Thread the cord elastic through the casing you sewed at the top edge of the pocket. TIP: Tape the end of the elastic to a skewer and push it through the casing. Secure one end of the elastic by stitching over back and forth.
E) Pull elastic until the top side of the pocket equals 3.5”, and secure the other end of elastic down. Repeat this with second SIDE POCKET.
F) Pin each pocket on Right Side of the SIDE EXTERIOR between the dots, matching notches. Note that the elasticated sides of the pockets should be towards the cut ends of this SIDE EXTERIOR piece, and the pleat sides towards the centre.
G) Top stitch the bottom of the pockets into place, securing the box pleats. Pin the elasticated ends down.
STEP 4: BAG BODY
A) With Right Sides Together, match notches at the centre of the SIDE EXTERIOR piece with that of the BAG FRONT EXTERIOR.
B) Pin at these notches then match the notches on the sides, and the fabric ends. Make sure that the elastic ends of the pockets are in place and have not pulled inwards.
C) Stitch all around one side of SIDE EXTERIOR, leaving open at the top flat edge.
D) Do the same with BAG BACK EXTERIOR, making sure to match the notches as you go.
E) Notch all curves.
F) Turn BAG EXTERIOR Right Side Out. Press seams open as best as you can. If you have a sleeve press, use this to get inside the bag.
PEN POCKET: This piece was added after the tutorial was written, so I marked the pics with an asterix. Apologies for any confusion.
*A) Fold PEN POCKET pattern piece in half with Right Sides Together. Stitch from each dot around the side up toward fold, leaving the space between dots open. Trim corners and turn Right side out. Press turning seam allowance between dots inward.
*B) PLace the pocket piece 2.5″ (64 mm) from the bottom edge of INTERIOR LINING BACK, centre horizontally. (The open edge between the dots should be towards the bottom so that it gets sewn closed when you stitch the pocket on.)
*C) Stitch down the sides, and along the bottom of the pocket. Then using either a fabric marker or painter’s masking tape mark two lines 1″ (25 mm) away from the one side. These will be your pen pockets. The larger pocket will fit either glasses or a phone. You can change these measurements if you prefer other size pockets or if you would rather have lots of pen pockets and no phone pocket.
*D) Stitch these two lines along your guides.
OK, that’s that little segway done! Now back to the rest of STEP 4.
4 G) Repeat STEPS 4 A-F with the INTERIOR LINING pieces. (But don’t turn Right Side Out)
H) Place the bag EXTERIOR inside the INTERIOR LINING with Right Sides Together, lining the top edges up nicely. (Note that the LINING will be 1/2” taller than the EXTERIOR, so the LINING will be hanging lower for now)
I) Stitch 1/4“ from top edge all around leaving open between dots on BACK INTERIOR LINING.
J) Turn bag Right Side Out through opening left at the back.
K) Tuck LINING into BAG EXTERIOR.
L) Press bag edge, turning seam allowance inwards at the open end.
M) Neatly topstitch all around the bag top to close opening between dots, and to secure binding edges.
STEP 5 – FLAP:
A) Place the 2” length of velcro onto Right Side of FLAP INTERIOR on rectangle marking. (This will be the scratchy half of the velcro). Stitch in place.
B) Place FLAP EXTERIOR onto FLAP INTERIOR with Right Sides Together. Stitch from dot to dot, all around edges leaving open between dots. Snip inner corners at beak, taking care not to cut your seam, and notch around curves.
5C) Turn FLAP RIght Side Out. Turn seam allowance at open end inwards. Press.
5D) Place this back edge of the Flap on the EXTERIOR BACK 3/4” from the bag edge.
5E) Top stitch FLAP in place and then stitch another line 1/4” up to secure the flap well.
5E) Admire your beautiful Geeky Owl Bag so far. You’re almost there.
STEP 6 – STRAP:
A) Fold STRAP in half lengthways and pin.
B) Stitch an L-shape, closing one end of the strap and then all down the length of it. Trim the corners and turn Right Side Out. Press with seam on side edge.
C) Measure how long you’d like your strap to be, and cut off any excess length. Fold seam allowance inwards at open end, and press. You can top stitch down both sides of the length of the strap if you like. This is a nice finishing touch and helps to prevent the strap from twisting. Place the strap in place on one side of the bag and pin.
D) Stitch on with a box shape then stitch an “X” in the centre. Repeat with the other side making sure that the strap is not twisted before stitching.
E) That’s it, you’re all done! Woot! Woot! Time to sling your new bag over your shoulder and head out for a spot of shopping!