Deedle&Thread

Sewing, Beading, Inspiration and More.

Snap Bag Tutorial

Snap Bag

Snap Bag

What you can’t see here is that this bag stays closed by recycling a used tape measure from a home improvement center. Fortunately, my husband had one he was happy to donate. The measurements are 8″ Width x 6″ Height x 2″ Depth. As with any sewing project, there is room to personalize and modify to your specific needs. The dimensions can change if you wish, but I recommend making one first and then you will know what measurements need to change for the second bag. Add embroidery, eliminate the 2″ box pleat, use up to three fabrics, or omit the prairie point handles and sew a loop, hair tie as the handle, etc. The choice is yours.

Examples of Snap Bags as gifts

Examples of Snap Bags as gifts

Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed

1.) Quilted Fabric (or fabric and batting to quilt your own) 9″ x 14.5″ This is the outer bag fabric.
2.) Lining Fabric 9″ x 18.5″ This fabric covers the measuring tape across top of bag.
3.) Side Loop Handle 2.5″ x 4.5″ Can be lining or outer fabric-your choice.
4.) Wrist handle (Optional) 11″ x 2.5″.
5.) Handles (Prairie Points) Cut Two 4.5″ x 4.5″ (Same fabric as lining)
6.) Coordinating thread for both fabrics
7.) Fusible Interfacing 9′ x 2″ (Use up small scraps of left over interfacing and piece together)
8.) 1′ Tape measure from hardware store. (Check to see what screwdriver or tapered cross tip screwdriver to have handy to undo outer case of tape measure)
9.) Roll of tape (either electrical or blue painter’s tape to cover tape measure ends)
10.) Sharp, heavy duty utility scissors (to cut tape measure)
11.) Ruler (to draw quilt lines if quilting your own fabric)
12.) Chalk or water soluble marker (to draw quilt lines)

Prepare your pattern pieces

Prepare your pattern pieces

Step 1 Prepare Pattern Pieces using tissue, medical paper, newsprint, etc.
All measurements are based on a 1″ tape measure. Adjust if you use a 3/4″ measuring tape. My Sharpie drawings are not as clear as the measurements stated above, so this is just to show you what the pattern pieces should look like.

Cut out pieces

Cut out pieces

Step 2. Cut Out Main Pattern Pieces To Tissue Measurements EXCEPT Batting And Outer Fabric If You Are Going To Quilt It. Leave some extra fabric and batting on all sides until quilt stitching is completed. Trim to pattern piece dimensions after quilting.
IMG_2013Step 3. Using The Ruler, Draw Line From One Corner To the Other In 1″ Lines Using a quilt guide or lines drawn on the fabric, stitch the quilting lines to sew batting to outer fabric. Click here to see another example of quilting your own outer fabric.

Faint chalk line from corner to corner

Faint chalk line from corner to corner

You can barely see the chalk line-this is what you want. Pin batting along the line to secure. Move pins as you sew each line until all stitching is complete.
Step 4. Stitch quilt lines. I like to set my stitch length to 3.0 and use a quilting bar that I can set to the 1″ mark, helping me to speed up the sewing process a little.

1' quilted lines

1″ quilted lines

Trim off excess

Trim off excess

Step 5. Trim off excess to match the pattern tissue measurement (9″ x 14.5″). I used a rotary cutter and ruler but scissors work just fine.

Press the 2" strip of interfacing

Press the 2″ strip of interfacing

Step 6. Press the 2″ fusible interfacing to the top edges of wrong side of lining. This is where I use up the leftover small scraps of interfacing from other projects. This will also help the tape measure from cutting through the edges of bag.

Turn top edge down 5/8"

Turn top edge down 5/8″

Step 7. Layer lining and quilted fabric, wrong sides together and press lining down 5/8″ towards quilted piece. Set aside for a moment.
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Step 8. Prepare prairie points by folding the 4.5″ square in half.
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Step 9. Fold up lower left corner up to center. Press.IMG_2086
Step 10. Fold up right corner and bring to center, creating prairie point. The folded edges should be parallel to each other and touching and raw edges should be even. Press.

Pressed 1.25" over quilted fabric edge

Pressed 1.25″ over quilted fabric edge

Step 12. Fold down the top edge 1.25″ to cover raw edge of quilted front. Center prairie points and insert raw edge here under the folded edge. Secure with fusible tape or pins to keep anything from moving before the stitching. Refer to finished bag photo if needed to see placement.

Stitch through all layers

Stitch through all layers

Step 12. Stitch close to folded edge, leaving room for tape measure to slide through. Test before stitching. (Prairie points don’t show here, but they are sewn on both top edges in the center to be used as handles/decoration.)

Side Loop

Side Loop

Step 13. Prepare Side Loop. Fold loop, right sides together and stitch down long die leaving ends open. Grade seam allowances.

Safety pin to help turn

Safety pin to help turn

Step 14. Attach a safety pin to one edge of the tube. Use the safety pin to turn the tube right side out by sliding through to other side.

Side Loop ready for pressing

Side Loop ready for pressing

Step 12. After loop is right side out, press flat. Remove pin. Fold in half bringing raw edges together.

Baste loop

Baste loop

Step 15. Baste Loop to front of bag. With raw edges together, place loop 1/2″ right below top band. Baste with an 1/8″ seam allowance. This will be sewn permanently when side seams are sewn up.

Sew up side seams

Sew up side seams

Step 16. Sew up ONE SIDE SEAM only. I ran my finger down inside the bag from top to bottom to smooth out any tucks. Pin. Stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance making sure to back-stitch enthusiastically at the top edge.
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Step 17. Cut tape measure into two (2) pieces measuring 8″. Test length by inserting into the casings to see if there is at least a 1/4″ seam allowance. If not, trim to fit. Remove tape pieces.
Step 18. Using utility scissors, slightly round edges to remove sharp edges/corners.
Step 19. Tape edges with electrical tape or painter’s tape. This is a very important step. I did not do this on my first bag and the corners are working their way through the material.

Sew up side seams

Sew up side seams

Step 20. Insert tape measure pieces back into casings (like Step 15) pushing them in as far as possible to give ample room to sew on remaining seam allowance. NOTE: MAKE SURE THE TAPE MEASURE PIECES ARE INSERTED WITH THE BLANK SIDES OF TAPE (“C” SHAPE) FACE THE LINING SIDE. THE NUMBERED SIDES (“U” SHAPE) ARE FACING THE QUILTED SIDE OF BAG. The “C” shape sides of the tape kissing each other create the ‘snap’ .
Step 21. Prepare to sew up other side seam. Fold bag in half RST, pin, making sure the side loop is on the inside of the bag and all raw edges are even. Make sure there are no tucks. The top edge gets the most wear-and-tear so once again, back-stitch enthusiastically.
Step 22. Serge or zig zag raw side seams to cleanly finish.
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Step 23. Prepare mitered corners.
Keeping the rights sides together, pull apart bag at lower edge fold (base of bag) with one hand on front of bag and one hand on back of bag until the side seam looks like the picture. My thumb is on the side seam and my index finger is on the base of the bag. This creates a triangle-looking area on the inside of the bag, but a nice miter on the outside, allowing the bag to sit up by itself. Measure across 2″ or 1″ on both sides of seam, pressing seam allowance to one side. Mark the line.
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Step 24. Sew across triangle/miter. Trimming corner is optional. I left my triangle in place to give the base of the bag more substance. Repeat for other side.IMG_2066
Step 25. Turn right side out. This will take a little muscle because the tape measure doesn’t want to bend this way. Work it until the bag inverts. Add seam sealant to upper seam allowances.

20 Comments

  1. Shirley

    I love my bag and use it all the time! This will be my Christmas gift for the girls in my family. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Susie Westbrook

    Such a cute bag. Using the tape measure is a stroke of genius! I’m using this pattern to make travel/cosmetics bags for myself and my daughters.

    Reply
    • Dana

      Hi Susie-
      This is the most popular post on my blog and I’m glad you like it. Let me know how the bags turn out. Thanks for commenting.
      -Dana

      Reply
  3. Barb

    Thank you. I made several of these today and loved the pattern. When I inserted the tape measure in the way you stated, I found it very, very hard to snap it open. So, I had the number side face the lining as was directed by another tutorial, and it was much easier to open.

    A tip I read somewhere was not to use a measuring tape from the Dollar Store. It isn’t strong enough in case anyone was going to buy one there.

    Reply
    • Dana

      I’m so glad you made a few of these. You are right; the blank tape sides facing, forming a “C” shape does make the bag pretty hard to open. The tabs HAVE to be there to pull open. I’m glad you experimented and found another way to make it work. Apparently, the tape measures can vary in strength. Thanks for the tip about Dollar Store. I used an old construction-grade one discarded by my husband, so I suppose it was tougher than usual…it is a great gift for guys!:) Thanks for responding back!

      Reply
  4. Dolores

    Great Idea! Tried to print off instructions but web site address is showing up all over the instructions. I guess the only way to save instructions is to book mark site.

    Reply
    • Dana

      Dolores- I’m sorry you had difficulty. My son has been doing some major technical updates on my site which may have made your printing difficult. Maybe try again with copy/paste?? Bookmarking is a successful way I keep track of my favorite blog posts, also. I will follow up if I have any other tips.

      Reply
  5. Dianna

    I love your sweet bags. The colors grabbed me first then the prairie point. I have seen these before and i already have the tape. I believe tomorrow this will be my first project. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Dana

      Good luck with the bags! I’m so glad they caught your eye and you’re going to give it a try. (rhyme unintended). Thanks for sending me a comment.

      Reply
    • Dana

      Hi Jenny,
      Thank you for commenting. I’m glad you like the bag. I hope you can make many for gifts and maybe one for yourself.
      -Dana

      Reply
  6. Roseanne

    Hi Dana,
    I’m on one of the quilting boards and a member just posted several of these bags that she made, along with a link to your tutorial. I would like to share this link to my blog readers – and of course, give you credit. I hope you don’t mind?! I think the bags are very cute. ~smile~

    Reply
  7. Mari Teague

    Hi, I really love your demo – but I didn’t see if the inside seam on this snap bag is visible. When you open the bag, can you see the seam inside? Thank you

    Reply
    • Dana

      Hi Mari-
      Yes, the seam is visable when you open the bag. I serged mine, but covering it with bias tape or fabric would be a nice touch. Good luck and thanks for asking. -Dana

      Reply

So, what do you think ?