Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



My goal this year was to present ten Creative Designer Bag Tips. Whew, I just made it under the proverbial wire! To complete this topic, I chose to work with double-sided prequilted fabrics. These specialty fabrics truly streamline the bag or tote-making process. Here’s how to adapt the pattern and sewing steps when using prequilted fabrics for your next creative bag.

Gather the supplies


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Cut out the fabric

  • Using the template, Sharen, my ace stitcher, traced the template shapes on the fabric and then cut. (One of the benefits of using a template is that the size doesn’t change. Often with a paper pattern, I trim more away than needed.)


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Add the Snaps

  • I always support the back of magnetic snaps with a small square of Create ‘n Shape. In hindsight, we should have used the black Create ‘n Shape instead of the white, but this way you can see it more clearly!


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Add piping

  • The initial drawback to shopping my fabric closet was that I didn’t have any coordinating fabric for the piping and straps. Sharen came to the rescue. She offered to separate the prequilted fabric for these small accent pieces. It took only a few minutes to snip the threads—the layers separated with ease. Hint: Cut out the size of the piping, then snip the quilting threads.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Wrap the fabric around the Wrap ‘n Fuse; press. What a quick way to stitch the first step of piping!


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Use a zipper or cording foot to attach the piping.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Finish the raw edges

  • If you’re a serger owner, use a wide width overlock stitch to clean finish the raw edges. Or, stitch with a wide zigzag stitch.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • The bag already looks finished on the inside!


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Here’s the view from the right side.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Add the bag feet

  • After sewing the lower seam, add the bag feet. This is optional, but I like way the feet protect the bottom of  my bags and totes. Plus, it’s easy. The template provides the exact location of the feet.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Add support to the bottom of the bag

  • The traditional next step is to stitch the Create ‘n Shape to the bottom of the bag, but not this time! When using double-sided, prequilted fabric, make a pouch for the plastic Create ‘n Shape, making it longer than needed and also leaving one end open. Note: The instructions detail the size of the plastic bag bottom.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips




Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Insert the fabric-covered plastic into the bag, tucking under the unfinished end.  Sharen, you remember, one of my co-workers, told me she makes this type of pouch for her bags. When traveling she hides valuables in the pouch!


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Add a top snap closure

  • We used the fabric pouch concept when adding the top snap closure. Cut two 1-1/2″  squares of Shape ‘n Create. Cut two fabric pieces 2″ x 5-1/2″. Sew the side seams of the pouch, turn right side out, and insert the square of plastic.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips




Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Center the snap pouches on the inside of the bag; baste. The fabric pouch is longer than the plastic so the bulk from the plastic will not be in the top seam.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Create the straps

  • Fuse Create-A-Strap to the wrong side of the strap fabric. (Again, we separated the double-sided fabric—it was quick.) Press along the perforations.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Center grosgrain ribbon over the edges; stitch.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • Follow the instructions for finishing the bag, which includes adding the straps and finishing the top edges with grosgrain ribbon.


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



  • The snap pouch will securely hold the top of the bag together, even though the snap is not physically attached to the bag. The plastic Shape’ n Create makes the difference!


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



Design option

  • The Florida Tote has a convertible option, changing the shapes of the sides with a unique snap closure.You might like this option, too!


Nancy Zieman Creative Bag Sewing Tips



So that’s it, the tenth creative way to use your favorite bag or tote pattern/template. If you missed the other nine creative bag tip postings, here are the links:

#1—Creative Tab Closure

#2—A Smart Pocket

#3—California Back Pack

#4—Easy Zipper-Upper Closure

#5—Sensational Pockets

#6—It’s What’s Inside that Counts

#7—Commuter Bag Straps

#8—Fat Quarter Friendly Bags

#9—Smart Embroidery






Which design option was your favorite? Let me know and we’ll send a random winner a Trace ‘N Create California Bag Template Set, a $19.99 value! You can use this template for many of the Creative Designer Bag Tips.






Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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