The “For Pleat’s Sake” Bag – Tips & Zippered Pocket Tutorial.

Thank you so much to everyone for your lovely comments on my Secret Santa gift reveal!  It killed me to keep it a secret for so long!  As promised, I’ve put together some tips for sewing it together, sort of like a review I guess!  I’ve also done a little tutorial on how to put a zippered pocket in.  So brace yourself for lots of photos…..
Secret Santa Gift
First things first – You can find the tutorial for this bag HERE.  It really is quite a simple bag to make, once you wrap your head around it!  To be perfectly honest, it took me many hours to get past the first step of getting the pleats done. And I ended up doing it differently to the tutorial, because the measurements just weren’t adding up.  Now whether that is because of my lack of mathematical genius, or whether the measurements really just weren’t right – You can be the judge of that!  I found the photos and measurements really hard to work out.  So this is what I did (after many times of measuring, pinning, un-pinning, re-measuring etc etc)……
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I ended up going with five pleats instead of six.  I measured the middle point of the bag pieces, and then measured 1/2″ for each of the pleats.
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This is how I do my pleats.  Clockwise L-R:  Find the middle point and pin.  Fold the fabric over right sides together with the pin being at the fold.  Pin the measurement for the pleat, in this case 1/2″.  Fold the fabric back over to show the right side and pin the pleat down.
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I then press the pleats well and depending how big they are, I will sometimes pin them further down the pleat also.  I followed the other measurements in the tutorial to a tee, in terms of how far down to sew them etc.  Because my pleats were different measurements, it altered the bag measurements when finished – but it was only by a little!

NOW – moving on to another little tip that I like to see visually…..


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The tutorial gives good instructions on how to make a flat bottom for the bag, however, one thing I wanted to see, was this.  I find it quite fiddly to match up the seams, but if you can peek inside the bag and visually match up the seams, and run your finger along it, you can pin it on the outside to ensure it’s still matching!
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And pin that sucker down ready for measuring, sewing and then cutting.

PUTTING IN A ZIPPERED POCKET – I’m not re-inventing the wheel here, in fact, I used a tutorial from the pattern I bought to make my camera bag, which you can find HERE.  The one difference is that this time I used a decorative zipper…..

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So once I’d sewn the pleats in to my bag panels, I then set about putting the pocket in.  First thing to do was find another co-ordinating fabric and cut it to size – I cut it 12″ x 16″.  My zip is 9″ long. (I had to cut a second piece of fabric as the one pictured above wasn’t wide enough!)
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On the wrong side of the zipper pocket, I measured down 9″ and marked a line, then another line 1/2″ under that.  Then measure 1″ in on either side and mark the lines to make a long rectangle.
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Place your pocket fabric right side facing down on to the bag panel, centre it.  Also measure approximately 1 1/2″ down from the top to where your top line will sit.
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Pin in place.
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Now you sew over the long rectangle that has been marked, making sure to backstitch at both the beginning and end.
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Mark a line through the centre of your rectangle, and two diagonal lines like above.
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And using sharp scissors, cut along those lines – being very careful not the cut the stitching.
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You then need to pull the pocket fabric through the hole to the other side.
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Giving you a neat opening.  Press firmly and neatly.
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You then take your zip and place it over the top of the opening, pinning in place.  Sew around the zipper, making sure to catch the fabric underneath…..
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And sewing over both ends of the zip.  If you’re not using a decorative zip, you just need to sew the zip to the other side of the pocket, with the zip showing through.
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Lastly, you bring the pocket fabric right sides together and sew all the way around, creating the pocket. (You don’t sew the pocket on to the bag panel!) This will now sit in between the outer bag and lining.

And one last little tip for the construction of this bag.  And I am finding it very difficult to articulate this!  When it comes to sewing the lining and bag together, I had to unpick the side sections a couple of times and come up with a different way to do it.  Once again, I think more photos would have helped.

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To start it off, you need to line up the V sections at the side.  But because of the bulkiness of it, it wouldn’t turn through nicely for me, which was frustrating!
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So I had to start off the stitching here a little differently.  I actually sewed straight across about half an inch at this section.
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Like this.  And then line up the rest of the bag as per the tutorial and sew all the way around, just leaving the opening at the bottom.  I found it turned out relatively neatly this way!

 

Secret Santa Gift
^^^^^^^^^^  For those sections up there at the sides ^^^^^^^^^
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And just because the tutorial doesn’t mention this, to close up the opening on the bottom of the lining, just tuck the seam allowance inside and press….
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Then sew along the bottom of the lining around 1/4″ in.  This makes for a nice neat finish on the inside of your bag!

The tutorial also only calls for you to top stitch around the sides of the bag, however I chose to top stitch around the top also.

One last thing.  The bag handles.  The tutorial suggests where to buy them, but they are UK based.  I found some HERE on Etsy, shipped from Asia, and they are fab.  Not leather, but a great finish!

And there you have it!  I really do hope that all of this makes sense, and is helpful is you choose to make yourself one of these fabulous bags!  I have put one on my to do list – for myself!


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