Okay so it’s not really “ducky” as in the small feathered creature. It is my latest creation made from my stash of duck cloth. Duck cloth purchased at Christmas for the project that never happened, and was stashed into the cupboard. Any type of heavy weight fabric will work for this project. I have used an old Eddie Bauer corduroy dress for texture on the front of the bag. In fact, now the bag is all finished, I realize that it would have been better to make the back out of a heavier fabric. The solid duck I bought has a very loose weave and I am confident it won’t have as long of a life as I hope it will. Oh well, live and learn from my mistakes.
Here’s the project; my daughter had a book bag that I purchased for her five years ago. She has loved it. Now that’s unusual because most of us know girls, more specifically, our daughters are hard to please, especially when mom picks out the item. However, for whatever reason this book back has been loved and used until it’s in shreds. I decided that I would copy the pattern from the book bag and recreate it from new fabric.
Now here’s a tip that I have utilized time and time again for pattern making. You know all the roll ends of wrapping paper in the closet? Well it makes great patterns. I especially like the rolls that have the grid on the back in one inch increments. I usually always buy that type of paper from Hobby Lobby at Christmas. The grid is great for cutting paper and even better for pattern making.
To make your own pattern decide what size bag you will need. Then add 1/2 inch to all sides for seam allowances. You can measure the body from one top edge around the bottom and up to the next top edge and add 2 inches extra to that measurement so you will have enough to roll in and reinforce the top. This method works best if the item is cut from one fabric or is completely pieced, or an applique is applied.
To make the book back I created; the bottom piece is separate and sewn to the bottom of the front panel and the back panel. I did this so the pieced front wouldn’t end up on the bottom. The size of the bottom of my book bag is the same width as the front and back and mine is about 4 inches tall. It is cut from the same fabric as the back. For either option mentioned you need to make a “box bottom” for your bag. If you don’t know how to do this, click this link for a good tutorial http://www.lazygirldesigns.com/blog/?p=1482 . Without doing a box bottom your bag will be very flat. You can decide your own measurements depending on what you will be using the bag for. I pieced the front of mine by cutting the pattern from the wrapping paper and adding 1/2 inch to all edges. I then overlapped the fabric, top stitched it together and frayed the edges. I added rivets from my scrapbook stash, reinforcing the back side of the fabric first with interfacing
So this is how the assembly goes:
1) Measure and cut all pieces.
2) Design your front (optional) and sew
3) Sew 2 “envelopes” of fabric, one for the outside (don’t forget your bottom piece if you are following the instructions for a pieced front) and one for the inside, using the same measurements. I use one length for the inside and don’t piece the bottom, The measurement for this will be equal to the measurement of the bag from one top edge to the other plus 2 extra inches to roll in when connecting the envelopes.
4) Turn the outside wrong side out and the inside right side out. Slip the lining piece over the other piece. (When you look into the bag at this point you will see the right side of the outside. (Yea! This sounds crazy but it is right). The outside will be the finished side of the lining. Sew the top edges together 1/4 inch from the edge. Turn the edge down 1″ and stitch 1/4 inch from the edge. (It will essentially be an raw edged hem). Fray the edges and turn the bag right side out.
5) The nylon belting used for handles is sewn to more of the duck fabric. I allowed 1/2 inch overhang of fabric, over the nylon belting material. I applied the fabric to both sides of the belting, stitched it in five lines running the length of each handle (my handles are each 24″ long). Fraying the edges of the duck fabric after it is sewn into place. Attach the handles to the bag, reinforcing it well.
6) Enjoy your creation!