How to sew..The Arden Bag

Posted on March 07, 2016
Archive : March 2016
Category : Tutorials

How to Make the Arden Bag

You will need:

1m of Main fabric

0.25m of Contrast Fabric

1.80m Webbing

8" Zip

Matching or contrasting thread


All seams allowances are 1.5cm.

Cut out all the pattern pieces from the pattern sheet.

Layout the pattern pieces on your fabric making sure to follow the grain lines. Pin or chalk around the pattern and cut out the fabric. You can choose how many pockets you want to include.

We have used a contrast fabric for the bottom base of the bag but you could use the same fabric if you prefer.

Once you have all the pieces cut out transfer the balance marks and the handle placement lines on to your fabric.

Now we can start with the outer pocket first. Fold under 1cm across the top edge.

Then fold over the pocket facing along the fold line.

You can top-stitch across the bottom edge of the facing to help keep it in place. I have used my favourite stitch, number 49, as a bit of decoration.

Place the outer pocket between the two handle placement lines.

Lay one of the webbing straps centrally along the handle placement lines covering the edges of the pocket. Pin in place and then bend the webbing round to lie along the other handle placement line to cover the other side of the pocket and pin that in place too.

Mark 2.5cm down from the top edge of the bag. (If you sew all the way to the edge the lining wonít be able to attach to the bag).

Sew up one side of the webbing handle across the top at the marked point and down the other side. Repeat for the other side of the bag. You can choose to attach a second pocket or just keep that side plain.

Place a bag base right side down on top of the right side of one of the outer bags. Make sure the cut out corners are at the top. Sew across the seam.

Press the seam down towards the base. Then top stitch along the seam line on the base side of the seam. Repeat for the other bag outer.

Place both outer bags with the right sides together. Sew down the sides and across the base but DONíT SEW AROUND THE CUT OUT CORNERS. (I canít tell you how many times I have done this while listening to something REALLY interesting on the radio!)

Press the seams open. You can also top stitch either side of the seams. It can be a bit tricky dealing with the bulk of the fabric but do persevere, as it will hold the seams flat when you come to sew the lining in. Sewing down one side then back up the other is an easier way of doing it.

Now to flatten and sew across the corners, make sure to try and get the side and the base seams right on top of each other.

Make sure to reverse at the start and end of the seams to lock in the sewing. This is what creates a nice strong corner to your bag.

Thatís the bag done, now for the lining.

Place the upper inside pocket along the top edge of the lower inside pocket, making sure the right sides are together. Pin in place.

Lay the zip centrally along the seam line and mark the where the zip stopper and zip head are.

Sew along the seam line with a normal stitch length, but when you get to the first mark reverse a few stitches then increase the stitch length to the longest and sew up to the second mark.

Change the stitch length back to normal sew a couple of stitches, reverse back to the mark then carry on to the end of the seam. This allows for the longer basting stitches to hold the seam closed as the zip is inserted.

Press the seam open and flat and transfer the zip opening marks to the right side of the fabric.

Lay the zip face down on to the seam allowance making sure the zip teeth are directly on top of the seam. Pin in place and hand baste through all thicknesses of fabric to hold the zip in place. Make sure you sew across the ends of the zip at the marked zip opening to avoid hitting the zip stopper when sewing around the zip.

Attach the zip foot to your machine and make sure the needle is on the right of the foot. Starting just before a corner, sew clockwise around the zip 8mm from the seam of the zip. Pivot when you get to the end marks and turn the corner to sew across the zip. Keep going until you get back to the beginning and overlap your stitching slightly.

With a seam ripper or small scissors carefully undo the basting stitches and release the zip opening. You should have a beautifully centred zip now.

Fold under 1cm along each edge of the pocket.

Transfer the pocket placement line onto the bag lining. A quick and easy way of doing this is to fold over the top half of the bag pattern along the placement line. Lay this on top of the bag lining, you can clearly see the placement line but are still able to mark it onto the fabric.

Place the inside pocket so the top edge lines up with the placement line and pin in place.

Top-stitch around the edge of the inside pocket. You can sew a double row for decoration as well as to make sure the pocket remains strong.

Place the two bag linings with the right sides together. Pin and sew down the sides and base as before, but NOT the cut out corners.

Flatten out the corners making sure that the side and base seams are directly on top of each other.

Sew across the corner seam and make sure to reverse at the start and finish going right up to the edges of the fabric.

Keep the lining inside out and the bag the right way around. Now put the bag inside the lining. The two right sides of the bag and lining should be together.

Tuck the handles down in between the bag and the lining.

Pin the bag and lining together all the way around the top edge. Mark a gap of 10cm between one handle.

Sew all the way around the top edge of the bag leaving a gap between one handle.

Put your hand through the gap and reach down to the bottom, grab hold of the lining and pull it back through the gap.

The rest of the bag will follow so just ease and wiggle it through.

When completely turned through tuck the lining down inside the bag and roll the seam around the top edge so that the seam is right on the edge of the bag. The gap will still be visible so tuck in the seam allowances and press the seam.

Edge stitch the seam all the way around the top edge of the bag making sure to pull the handles back out of the way. I found it easier to swing the needle over to the left so I could sew nice and close to the handles. As you sew around the top edge you will sew over the gap closing it.

Give everything a good press. Now you have your finished Arden Bag!

We would love to see what fabric combinations you use so please let us see your finished bags on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

You can find everything you need to make your Arden Bag in our Emporium. Including both the printed and PDF versions of the pattern.

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