The Boho Sling Bag – plain or fancy. A sewing project for everyone – regardless of their sewing pedigree or experience!
The Boho Sling Bag seems to be fairly popular among those that could form the next generation of needle-artists. It would make a great first project to start their sewing careers!
This Tutorial starts with the “plain” bag. The few extra steps required to create the Patch Bag are found here.
Just a few items are required to make the Boho Sling Bag. Some fabric, a sewing machine, thread, scissors, and an iron.
About the fabric: I have a HUGE STASH of fabric (thus “The Destashification Project”), but if selecting fabrics require purchase, here are some suggestions.
The purse requires four of the pieces shown in the pattern sketch. The pattern sketch is drawn on a 1″ grid so it may be sketched or click here for a downloadable pattern that may be printed and enlarged.
Four pieces are needed because two for the outside of the bag and two for the lining.
Each piece requires approximately 1/2 yard of 45″ wide fabric. If a fat quarter catches your eye, I have included instructions for piecing so they may be used here.
Two purse bases (the bottom of the purse) will also require two 8 by 12″ rectangles (download the pattern for boho bag base here – no enlargement required) and the inside pocket requires another rectangle that is 18″ by 13″.
One yard of fabric will be enough for one bag piece, the bases and the pocket.
To give some structural stability to the purse (so it is not flat) the lining purse base is strengthened with a 8″ by 12″ piece of felt/quilt batting/old mattress pad/washcloth, towel, etc.
Cut out the four bag pieces. We will be working first with the two pieces for the lining. The lining of the bag pictured above is made from the pieces numbered 1 and 4 in the photo.
But even before working with the lining, we will prepare the pocket.
Cut out a pocket using the pattern included with the bag pattern or just measure an 18″ by 13″ rectangle.
Fold along fold line shown in Photo 1 – RIGHT SIDES together.
Sew along two shorter sides as shown in Photo 2. Use 1/2″ seam allowance.
Photo 3 illustrates a 1/2″ seam allowance. The 1/2″ is measured between the stitching and the cut edge of the fabric. Most sewing machines will have a tool such as the “arm” looking device that is screwed into the sewing machine that assists keeping a nice even seam allowance.
Clip corner edge of seam as shown in Photo 4. It will help produce a nice even corner.
Turn pocket right aside out and iron.
Fold pocket by bringing the two seams together and press to make a center line as shown in Photo 5. Set aside.
Take two bag lining pieces and place them RIGHT SIDES together.
Sew two lining pieces together along ONE side seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance as shown in Photo 6.
Press seam open as shown in Photo 7.
Lay linings flat on table with right side facing up.
Place pocket on RIGHT SIDE of Linings, so that upper folded edge is approx. 1.5″ from top edge of lining and pressed centerline of pocket is aligned with the side seam – as shown in Photo 8.
Place a pin at each of the red dots. The pins should be placed in the lining, 1/2″ from the lower edge of the pocket.
Flip the pocket upside down (unsewn or “raw” edge upward) as shown in Photo 9. The raw edge should extend 1/2″ above the pins located at the red dot positions.
Using a pencil or a disappearing marker (they are soooo cool!) draw a line on the pocket connecting the two red dot pins. This will be the sewing line.
OR, if drawing on fabric is not something you are willing to do, connect the red dots with blue painters tape. Either will work fine.
Sew along the line. The next time you hear someone say “I can’t even sew a straight line!” You can respond, “Where’s your painters tape? – I show you an an easy way!”
Flip pocket back up (remove tape first). Press with Iron. Pin to lining.
Sew very close to right and left edge, along center fold and 1.5″ left of center fold as shown in Photo 12. Painters Tape will help keep two middle seams straight.
Because this stitching is done on the
top” of the fabric, it is called “Top-Stitching”.
The narrow center section of the pocket is for a pen. The section on the right is a cell phone pocket. Because the pockets are too deep for these items to be easily removed, another top-stitched seam is required.
The depth of the pockets can be easily estimated with a pen as shown in Photo 13. Use a piece of Painters Tape to keep seam straight and level. Do not top stitch across the left larger pocket – so it can be used for a larger item.
Now onto the outside of the bag…
Take the pieces that will form the outside of your bag and place them RIGHT SIDES together. Sew them together along the side seam, just the same as the two lining pieces were sewn together in Photo 6.
Iron seam open. You will have a piece that looks like Photo 14. The lining should look similar – and should have a pocket!
Place the lining on top of the outside pieces – RIGHT SIDES together – and pin together. Sew together along the red dashed lines as shown in Photo 14.
“Clipping” and “trimming” is required when sewing curves, so the curved portions of the seams you just sewed must be clipped and trimmed.
“Trimming” is simply narrowing the 1/2″ seam allowance to 1/4″ by cutting away 1/4″ from the raw edges. “Clipping” is a series of cuts made perpendicular to the seam as shown in Photo 15.
After clipping and trimming, turn the bag right-side out. Press with iron.
To get seams to press nicely – use a larger pin/needle/safety pin to pull the seam as you press as shown in Photo 16.
Now it is time to sew the other side seam…
Lay bag on a flat surface as shown in Photo 17.
Bring the two far corners of the outer fabrics together as shown in Photo 18.
Pin those corners together and then pin again approximately 4″ further down unsewn side seam. This is shown in Photo 19.
Continue pinning the side seam together. Match the upper seam carefully.
When pinning is complete, the bag will be inside out and resemble the odd shape shown in Photo 20.
Press seam open. Turn bag right side out. It should start to resemble to Boho Bag at this point..