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Help with directions!

mavis126 | Posted in General Discussion on

I have recently bought the newest issue of Threads and was planning on making the “To-Go Bag” but i’m awfully confused on the instructions. For the main bag it says to cut out one piece, how is that suppose to make the bag if you only have one side? maybe i’m misunderstanding the instructions. could someone help me?


  1. meg | | #1

    I'd guess that one side of the pattern ought to be cut on the fold.

  2. Josefly | | #2

    Hi, Mavis. I think the one 13 inch x 21.5 inch piece is actually the front, bottom, and back of the bag. Another poster on this forum, the very helpful Teaf5, suggests cutting pieces of paper towel and using those pieces to try to fit things together to see how it works. So I suggest you try that, though I'm going to try to explain the instructions to you.To better visualize it, imagine the larger rectangle (main piece) turned so that the long sides run vertically, (different from the way the piece is shown in the cutting directions). The directions on page 37, "Sew the side pieces to the main bag piece", are telling you to line up the side pieces (with the pockets and bias trim attached) with the main piece, so that the top edge of the side piece is even with the top edge of the longer main piece, and the side edge of the side piece is aligned with the side edge of the main piece, right sides together. (The sides of the main piece are much longer than the sides of the side piece, but don't worry about that now.) Then you stitch from the top edge, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, down to the dot on the back of the side piece which is 1/2 inch above the bottom of the side piece. Then backstitch and remove from the sewing machine. Then you clip the seam allowance of the main piece only, right at that dot where you stopped stitching. The clip there allows you to turn the main piece so that its edge is now aligned with the bottom of the side piece. You then stitch across the bottom to the other dot on the other side of the side piece, backstitch again, remove from the machine, and clip and turn the main piece again so that the edge of the main piece is now aligned with the other side of the side piece. (If you're using the paper towel rectangles, just pin the pieces together, or use double-sided tape, to simulate the stitching.)(Note that this method given in the article will make the print of the fabric used on the main piece of the bag upside down on the back side of the bag. That may or may not matter. If it does matter to you, you can instead cut two rectangles for the main part of the bag, making each one 11.5 inches x 13 inches, and sew the two bottom edges together with a 1/2 inch seam, press the seam allowance open, and then treat the piece the same as the original, but this time the print on the pattern is right-side-up on both sides.)The side trim complicates this a little bit, but if you get the gist of the idea of how the main piece and the side pieces come together, then you can worry about what to do with the trim.I hope this makes sense to you. If not, please come back with more questions.

    Edited 5/12/2008 5:32 pm ET by Josefly

  3. Pattiann42 | | #3

    The fabric used is such an eye catcher and the bag seems such an easy do, but the measurements are a bit confusing to me too.

    Could they be transposed for the bag pattern piece? 

    Using the 13" height measurement, less 4" (bag bottom) divide by two (sides) you end up with sides at 4.5".  This doesn't mesh with the side piece at 9.5".

    If the measurement were 21.5" height and 13" width,  the height of the sides would be 8.75" (21.5" - 4" /2).

    However, if the height were 22" (- 4" /2), the sides would measure 9", the same measurement as the side piece less 1/2" seam. 

    Has anyone tried this pattern?  A finished measurement would have been a nice addition to the pattern.

    1. Josefly | | #4

      The problem is that the photo in the magazine shows the main piece laid out sideways, with the long sides at top and bottom. It should've been shown turned 90 degrees, to avoid some of this confusion. The long edges of the main rectangle are sewn to the side pieces, as described below.The side pieces are 9.5 inches long, 4.5 inches wide. The main piece is 21.5 inches long. The main piece forms the front, bottom, and back of the bag. Using .5 inch seam allowances, the main piece is stitched 9 inches down the side of the side piece, 3.5 inches across the bottom of the side piece, and 9 inches back up the other side of the side piece.
      9 + 9 + 3.5 + 21.5. (It's only 3.5 inches across the bottom of the side piece because of the 1/2 inch sa's on each side.)Does this make sense?

      Edited 5/14/2008 7:59 pm ET by Josefly

      1. Pattiann42 | | #5

        I had it figured out except I didn't account for a total of 1" for the side seams, which makes the width of the sides and bottom measure 3 1/2".

        The elusive 1/2" has now been found!!  Thanks.

        1. Josefly | | #6

          You're very welcome. The bag in the photo looks bigger to me than the actual measurements would indicate. But it's hard to tell about dimensions unless there's something else in the photo to show the scale. And 3.5 inches doesn't make for a very deep (or thick?) bag, especially when the directions say, additionally, to "Edgestitch along the creases to form a floor." Happily, though, it's a fairly simple matter to make it deeper by just increasing the length of the main rectangle, the widths of the side and pocket pieces, and the lengths of the trim pieces.Are you going to give it a try?

          1. Pattiann42 | | #7

            Yes, I picked up some fabric today.  I also thought the bag too shallow and am playing with the idea of adding a zippered top. 

          2. Josefly | | #8

            That will be a nice addition to the bag. I had thought of adding a zippered pocket to the lining of the bag, but I like your idea better.

  4. Pattiann42 | | #9

    Has anyone made this bag?  Threads issue 137 - To-Go-Bag.

    It's been a while since our discussion.  I completed mine without the the zipper that I had once considered.

    I also used "D" rings since the fabric is from Walmart and the project an experiment.

    Next yard sale is going to have a lot of bags and other "experiments"!





    Edited 7/29/2008 4:33 pm ET by spicegirl1

    1. Josefly | | #10

      Nicely done! I like your combination of fabrics.

    2. rodezzy | | #11

      Love the bag with the D rings.  Great fabric too.  Harkens back to the 60's.  Everything old is new again!

    3. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #12

      I really love the combination of colours in your bags. So cheerful and bright. Nice work. Cathy

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