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The next thing to do is make the handles. Lay the previously cut strips of fabric out on the ironing board and press under about 1/2 inch on each of the long sides like this. Fold the strips in half length wise and press. Cut pieces of quilt batting to fit inside the strips. You can use left over scraps if you have them.
Then stitch along the lengthwise edge about 1/4 inch or less on both sides. If the handles want to twist a little bit, don't worry, after being ironed and sewn on the bags, they'll be fine. It might be helpful to use a quilting or walking foot on your machine if you have one. Just go slow and keep adjusting the handles so that the edges are even.
Pin the handles on each side of the outside of your bag with right sides together. I placed mine 3 inches from each side of the bag. Sew them on using a 1/4 inch wide seam.
Make the loop for the closure by cutting a 1 1/2 inch wide piece of fabric 7 inches long. Fold it in half lengthwise right sides together and press. Stitch a very narrow seam on one side. Then turn it right side out. I use a safety pin for this. It seems like it won't turn, but it will! Iron it flat and press it like this. Then sew down one side across the bottom and up the other side.
Pin it to the center of one side of your outside bag, right sides together and stitch down like you did the handles.
Now, put your lining and outside bag one inside the other right sides together. It doesn't matter which one is on the outside as long as they are right sides together. First pin the side seams making sure they are lined up. Then pin the rest of the bag like this.
Sew a 1/2 inch seam all the way around the top.
Then you can turn the bag right side out by pulling the outside bag through the opening you left in the bottom of the lining.
Press the top edge and pin it well all the way around. Then top stitch a 1/4 inch seam all the way around. You will need to keep adjusting and slightly stretching the fabric to prevent puckers. Don't worry, you'll probably have a pucker or two, but it'll be ok.
We're almost finished!
Next sew up the opening in the lining by pressing the edges together and sewing it together with the machine.
For the hard insert that goes in the bottom of the bag, I use 2 pieces of cardboard cut to the measurements of the bottom of the bag. This one was 4 1/2 inches by 8 3/4inches. Cover this with matching fabric. Cut the fabric big enough to allow for your seams and especially enough on the end that'll be hand sewn. Just sew the rectangle with the machine right sides together, leaving one end open, turn, insert the cardboard, tuck in the fabric and hand stitch the open end. Place this in the bottom of the bag. This makes the bag extra sturdy.
I usually make a button to match the bag using a button covering kit which costs less than $2.00. But, you could find a pretty button or antique button to match! I sew this from the outside instead of coming through the inside of the bag. It looks neater than having a knot on the inside on the lining.
Here is the finished bag!
I hope this has been clear. I will try to answer any questions you may have.
If anyone makes a bag using this tutorial, please send me a picture. I'd love to show case it on my blog.
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