It's been a while since my last pattern, and even longer since I've written a bag pattern, but here's a pattern that's both new and for making a bag (find it on etsy here)!
Over the years, I've tried 3 or 4 times to make a knot bag, but never really had much success. The bag opening was always too narrow and the handles never looked not quite right. Each time I tried to make one of these bags, it ended up in the trash.
But early in the summer I was out in my neighborhood shopping and had carried along a medium size grocery bag to tote my purchases back home. While toting kitty food and a few groceries for me home, I had a sewing epiphany about how the handles of a knot bag might work. I had looped one handles of the grocery bag over the other to kind of close up the bag and saw that with some modification the style of handles used for the grocery bags could also work well for a knot bag.
So I gave a knot bag another try (and then another try) and finally got it right. And here we are with this cute little bag that opens nice and wide and has handles sewn separately from the bag so they are easy to make and give you some options for mixing fabrics.
This pattern is written for using a bottom weight fabric like twill, denim, cotton duck, canvas, corduroy fabric for the exterior bag body pieces A & E. Home dec fabrics can also be used. The handles, pockets and lining are quilting cotton.
The bag turns out nice and sturdy and you still get the chance to use some of your pretty quilting cottons.
The exterior bag body can also be made from quilting cotton or other lighter weight fabrics, but I'm not sure about using fusible interfacing for these pieces. You can give a try if you like, but my sewing intuition is saying no to fusible interfacing for the body of this bag. I think it's just going to get super wrinkled because the bag body gathers up each time the bag is closed.
Sew-in interfacing, or backing these pieces with muslin, flannel, or scrap fabric is a probably better option. If you do try it with interfacing on the exterior bag body pieces, please report back after you've been using the bag a while and if it's holding up well.
Ok, now let me show you some additional photos of these bags since I can only use five in the description.
This one looks different than the others for a few reasons, but other than the pocket being slightly larger than the final version of the bag, it was made using the same pattern pieces included in the pattern and is essentially same bag.
Here's why it looks different:
This was the first one I made and when this picture was taken, I'd been carrying it around for a few months and the fabric had loosen up quite a bit. Fabric bags really wear down pretty quickly after using them regularly for a while. This is also another reason for using a heavier fabric for the body--the bag will last longer than in quilting cotton.
It was also made using only 6 ounce denim for the outside and quilting cotton for the lining and fleece in the handles. I didn't use any interfacing at all in this bag.
In the pattern instructions the body is made with the lining is backed by muslin, the pockets are both interfaced and the handles have both interfacing and fleece.
So this photos shows that making this bag without a lot of supportive backings to the fabric is just fine too. It will go really fast and this particular style of bag works great if it's very softly structured.
This photo is also taken from an angle looking down on it and it's quite full. In some of these other photos the bags are still unused, so they are a bit stiff still and a few of them don't have much inside of them to fill out the body.
This one was made from a medium weight canvas. This fabric has very thick threads and is one of the stiffer fabrics in my stash. It is 8 ounce canvas, which isn't a super heavy as far as canvas goes, but the thick threads give it a lot of body.
The thick threads also have a somewhat loose weave, so this fabric frays. If you use a fabric that is visibly fraying, you probably need to zigzag the edges.
The pattern includes a 3/8" SA, so there's a lot of space any unraveling needs to cover before it comes close to the seam, but it's not worth taking the chance. Spend a few extra minutes finishing off the seams and there won't be any unhappy surprises a few months later when you find a hole in a seam.
This bag opens up nice and wide. Both the handle and the closure loop can be folded down along the sides so you can access the entire top of the bag if needed.
This will make a lovely little project bag for knit, crochet, embroidery, or other crafts.
These balls of yarn easily fit inside with room to spare. Knitting needles that aren't super long can go in at an angle, and circular knitting needles should fit inside as well. Maybe one of you knitters could verify? I don't knit and only keep a small stash of yarn and these needles to use as photo props.
And finally, the pockets are big enough for many phones, a small journal or notebook, pens, and could also be used for crochet hooks or other small tools if you are using this bag as a project tote.
Ok, that's all I've got for now. Let me know if you have any questions.