Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Book Bag - The Maker's Atelier

Autumn seems to have arrived here and I have had a great time wearing my new skirts and top to work this week. To complete my outfit I decided to try making the large Book Bag from The Maker's Atelier book. I had some leather-look jersey that I originally bought thinking I might make a skirt, but I also thought this might make a nice bag. 

I chose the biggest size of bag because I often need to carry files as well as my umbrella, diary, pencil case and something for lunch. My jersey fabric was light and a bit stretchy so I decided to line my bag to prevent it from stretching when it was loaded with things. I used a piece of striped cotton to make the lining. I have signed up to Sew My Stash September with Jo from Stuff Jo has Made so this fits in with the challenge to use the fabric I have in my stash.

The instructions for the bag were nice and detailed with plenty of diagrams. There were no pattern pieces but all of the measurements were there for two sizes of bag, both lined and unlined. I measured all of the pieces and cut them out before I began to sew. I did get a bit confused when it came to lining the bag because the instructions for the lining refer to the smaller bag and I was making the large one, but with a bit of common sense I sorted it out and I think the bag turned out well. My large Book Bag is a bit of an amalgamation of the large and small bags described in the book. I think this is probably in the spirit of  the whole book. These are basic patterns which are intended as a starting point to design your own projects once you are familiar with them. 

So. The dimensions of my book bag are 56 x 48cm. The handles are 54cm long. This is long enough for me to carry the bag on my shoulder, which I like to do.

The bottom corners of the bag are squared off as you can see in the photo above. I didn't trim off the corners but folded them under the base and stitched in the ditch to give the base of the bag extra body and strength. I think this has worked well since my fabric is quite soft. If I had used firmer fabric I would probably have trimmed the corners to reduce bulk.  

After I attached the lining to the main bag I reinforced the top of the bad with grossgrain ribbon.

The top of my bag is now nice and strong. The handles are securely attached and I have two rows of  top stitching running around the top on the outside.

I had plenty of the striped lining fabric left when my bag was finished so I used this to make a smaller, unlined version of my Book Bag. 

This small bag rolls up and fastens with a strap so that I can carry it inside the larger bag. I will always have a bag with me now if I need to buy something and I like the fact that my bags match. I feel quite stylish and coordinated!


  1. This looks like such a perfectly sized bag! I love the lining too.

    1. Thank you. It is a really useful size because you can carry A4 files in it but my pencil case is always lost on the bottom which can be a nuisance.