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Back to School Bag

It's that time of year again, back to school. I'm sure everyone is busy sewing away for their kids, grandkids and every other kid in the neighbourhood.

Firstly make sure you check out our new Munchie Lunch Tote in the PDF Pattern Section - https://harleyb.com.au/collections/frontpage


This bag is quick and simple and anyone can sew it, don't be afraid of the zipper, my technique for adding it is very easy. Your Back to School Bag could have a number of uses, a library bag, swimming bag and even  homework bag.  Some schools require library bags to be waterproof so you can use a canvas, or any type of waterproof fabric for the outer fabric. 



4 x Fat Quarters (or 2 x 1/2m cuts, or 1m of fabric)

If you purchase your fabric in yards, or US fat quarters, don't worry you can still make this your bag will just be slightly smaller)

1 x 18" zipper (or longer)


Cut and prep fabrics.

1. If using 1/2m or 1m cuts, cut your fabrics as if they were fat quarters (measuring approx 50x55cm).  Layer your fabrics on top of each other and trim off the selvages, and square up your sides (because we all know that fabric isn't always cut straight)


2. Measure 4" (10cm) from the side of your pieces and cut off a strip (this needs to come of a vertical side, so your main bag ends up taller than wide).

3. Set aside the lining strips and keep, the 4 body pieces and 2 outer handles pieces.

4. Take your handles and press in half length ways, then open out and fold the raw edges into the center. Press again.

5. Fold your handle back in half so you have 4 layers with the raw edges enclosed. Top stitch both long sides with a 1/8" seam.

6. Measure in 3" (7.5cm) from either side of your outer body pieces, pin and then baste your handles in place.

7. Next the dreaded zipper. First lay your lining right sides UP in front of you, and then layer your zipper right sides UP along the top raw edge.  Finally lay your outer body piece, right side DOWN on top. If your zipper is longer than your bag, just hand it over the ends and it will be trimmed later.  Pin in place and then sew with a 1/4" seam.

8. Open up your fabric so its wrong sides together with the zipper popping out of the top.  Press well and then top stitch at 1/8" along the whole length, making sure you have moved your handles out of the way.

9. repeat for the other side of the bag making sure the sides of your bag match up, and keeping in mind your zipper now has half a bag attached to it.  So, layer the lining right side UP, the zipper (with half bag attached) right sides UP and then the final outer body piece right side DOWN. Pin and sew at 1/4". Turn and press and then top stitch. If your zipper is long than your bag top, trim it off so its even, making sure you DO NOT cut off your zipper tab.

10. Fold your bag so that the bottom raw edges all line up.  Measure a 1 1/2" box on both bottom corners, and cut this out through all 4 layers of fabric.

11.Open you bag out so that its right sides together, with the outer body on one side of the zip, and the lining on the other. Open up your zipper about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. Sew around all 4 sides of the bag using a 1/2" seam. Do not sew the little boxes you cut out, and make sure you leave a turning gap of around 4" (10cm) wide on the bottom of the lining.  When stitching over the zipper, its best to make sure this is folded into the lining side so it sits better once finished.

12. Open up your boxed corners so the the side seams meet in the middle and you create a straight line. Pin and then sew, making sure you back stitch and both ends to secure. Repeat for the remaining corners.

13. Turn your bag out through the turning gap in the lining and the sew it closed.

And thats it. You have made a Back to School Bag. I made 2 in just as much time as it took to make 1.  If you feel like personalising your bag, you can applique a letter or name onto the front.  


Please join our facebook group and share your creations.


and of course check out the rest of our pattern on the website.


1 comment

  • thanks! Purfect for my day trip to visit my sister!


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