Making Bag / Supplies for Bag Making
Though I've been making simple tote bags for years, I'm newer to sewing bags. But this year I've taken an interest in bag making, sewing a few various types, and I have fallen in love with it. My grandma is known for a few things, sewing aprons, pajamas, and bags. She loves repurposing materials and using scraps, so many of her tote bags are one of a kind, and she always gives them away to friends and family. Now that I've started branching out with my sewing, I've begun to understand why my grandma loves it so much. Sewing bags is giving me much joy.
When I made my first more detailed bag, I was a little overwhelmed by all the supplies that were needed. There were extra long zippers, different fabrics for the exterior and interior, different types of interfacing, clasps, buckles, webbing. But after having sewn up some incredible bag patterns this year, I've started to become more familiar with the supplies needed. I've found that sourcing supplies is part of the fun and that the variety of options is what can make handmade bags so unique!
For this bag, canvas is recommended as the exterior fabric. If you're interested in using the same canvas as the sample in Making No. 6 / Black & White, you can purchase it here: Fray Print Fabric. The Fray Print fabric is a beautiful hand-printed canvas that's created in California and works beautifully for the Making Bag. Some other canvas options that have caught my eye recently include this timeless natural cotton canvas, a fun dot canvas, this lovely brushed canvas, and a wavy canvas.
When it comes to bags, I've started thinking about the fabric for the exterior in terms of weight, stability, strength, and finished look. As you may have noticed, I didn't use canvas for my bag; the fabric I used is a lovely cotton twill from Merchant and Mills. Though it's not as sturdy as canvas, it's still a durable fabric and worked well for this pattern because of the stabilizer that's required. Overall, it gave the bag a lot of flexibility and softness, which I like, especially since it's being used to my hold yarn and granny squares!
Another fabric that would be fun to use for this pattern is denim. Since the pattern calls for 9 oz canvas, a 10 oz denim like this Indigo Denim could be substituted, which I've sewn with before and is a beautiful fabric.
I often think that choosing the interior fabric for a bag is almost more fun than the exterior. Since I tend to stick with solid colors for the exterior, I like to use something a little more fun on the inside. Plus, when there's a fun print hidden inside, it almost feels like a sweet little secret!
Since the majority of this bag's stability comes from the exterior fabric, there are many options for the interior. Nearly any lightweight or medium weight cotton will work, and even linen, which is what I used. I fell in love with this Nani Iro linen in the color Harbe Grey Metallic the spring and snatched some up for my stash. It also comes in a beautiful black color called Harbe Black.
Before I started making bags, I didn't realize there were so many different types of interfacing! This bag pattern calls for two different types, both of which I'd never used. Something I truly appreciate about Anna's patterns is that she gives the exact name and number for each interfacing, making them very easy to find! I purchase interfacing at my local Jo-Ann because they have an extensive selection at an affordable price (with sales and coupons). I've also seen many available on Amazon and other online retailers.
Anna's shop is my go-to for bag supplies. She has an incredible selection of hardware, zippers, and leather supplies. I purchased both of my zippers for this bag from her shop, and they were just perfect! My interior zipper is in the color antique brass/gray, and the exterior zipper is in the color antique brass/cream. My grandma told me that YKK® zippers are the best quality available, so I try to stick to those if possible, which is what Anna carries in her shop.
1 1/4" cotton webbing is suggested for the handles on this bag. Webbing comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials, but my favorite is 100% cotton. Jo-Ann carries a broad range, and most local fabric shops sell some as well. I have a few types in various sizes in my stash so I ended up using a webbing that was only 1" wide and it worked very well. I used this organic-looking Hemp Webbing from Purl Soho, which is a favorite for bag handles.
Zipper pulls are one of those little things that give a bag that finishing touch. There are so many options that can be used for this: ribbon, selvage (a great way to repurpose this pretty scrap), leather strips, twine. For my bag, I used a leather cording from Purl Soho in the color Warm Millet.
I hope you found this post helpful and that you have fun sourcing supplies for your bag! In the next post, I'm sharing my sewing notes and some tips. - Emily