Thursday, May 1, 2014

C2 Boxy Bag - FREE Tutorial

I thought it appropriate that my 1st bag tutorial be one of the 1st custom bags I ever made.  

What seems like a bazillion years ago, (back in the "good ol' days" of 2006-wink!) my previous boss asked me to make her a custom bag and told me how she wanted it to look...this was what I came up with for her, and she loved it!  
I affectionately named it the "C2" bag because her first and last name both started with the letter "C".

The design is a basic "boxy" bag, so if you've ever made any form of a "boxy bag" it will be a breeze.  Simply adding some cute straps with gathered ring attachments and hardware turns it into one nifty looking bag!  

I've made this bag for ages, I used to sell it in my Etsy Handmade shop and it was a super popular seller.  I even had a repeat customer recently return after 5 years and request her 3rd one!  
Here is the one I recently made for her in a different fabric:

I'm not very good at choosing "Sewing Levels", but if you are a beginner, this is a fun challenge to tackle.  Learning how to apply hardware right out of the gate is a great way for beginners to make the run into the bag making boat!  If you're an experienced sewer or have made bags before, you'll find this bag comes together in a snap!
If you've never delved into adding hardware to your bags with rivets, rings and grommets, this project is a great jump into doing so!  You'll need tools or attachment kits to attach and set your rivets and grommets~ so check the supply list before starting.

Let's get going!
Note: **This tutorial is PIC heavy!  I wanted to add as many pics as possible for showing steps and details**
The gorgeous fabrics I've used in this bag tutorial are from Camelot Fabrics GRAY MATTERS and GRAY MATTERS MORE fabric lines.  These beautiful fabrics and others from the collection can be purchased from Hawthorne Threads

Fabric A: Your main bag fabric, strap fabric & interior pocket fronts, 1 yard
Fabric B: Interior lining fabric, 1/2 yard
Fabric C: Accent fabric for top band, straps and interior pocket backings, 1/2 yard
♦ Fusible Fleece, 1/2 yard (I used and recommend Heat n Bond's Extra High Loft Fusible Fleece)

♦ Extra Stiff Firm Interfacing rectangle for bag bottom (I used Bosal Craft Tex, you can use Timtex as well) and a rectangle of iron-on adhesive (such as Heat n' Bond Feather Lite), both cut to the size: 11.5 wide x 3.75" tall 

♦ Woven fusible interfacing, 1/2 yard  
(I used and recommend Heat n Bond's Soft White Woven Fusible, you can use other brands such as Pellon SF101 or Bosal Fashion Fuse)

♦ Four - 1" or 1.25" Album Rings (these rings are typically used to bind 3 ring books and albums.  Unlike "Split" rings, you can open them completely wide in the center--see the pic of them in the 'MAKE YOUR STRAPS" section of the tute)
♦ Eight- 1/4" grommets/eyelets (you will need a tool to attach these or an attachment set/hammer)
♦ Four- Rivets, size 8-9mm (you will need a tool to attach these or an attachment set/hammer)
You can use either Double or Single cap rivets.  I use DOUBLE cap rivets in this tute.
5/8 " Roll Stitch Witchery 
(If you don't know what Stitch Witchery is, see explanation in the 'MAKE YOUR STRAPS' section of the tute)
18mm Magnetic Snap

Supplies/Tools Help:

1) Eyelet/Grommet Plier kit: used to set your eyelets/grommets.  
This plier kit can be purchased at JoAnn's/Hobby Lobby in the US or at multiple places online.

2) Large Eyelet/Grommet kit: an alternative to using the pliers to set eyelets/grommets.  
Can also be purchased at JoAnn's/Hobby Lobby in the US or multiple places online

3) Heat n Bond Extra High Loft Fusible Fleece:  you can purchase some from my Etsy store

4) Rivet setting kit example: can be purchased from Craft Stores locally or multiple places online

5) Rivet setting kit example: can be purchased from Craft Stores locally or multiple places online

6) Craft Tex: For your bag bottoms, you can purchase this from my Etsy store

7) Suggestion: Crop-A-Dile: For hole punching  
This isn't required to make this bag if you have another way to punch holes through fabric, but is a quick n' easy way to do so.  This can be purchased from JoAnn's/Hobby Lobby or multiple places online

8) Suggestion: Leather Hole Punch:  
This isn't required to make this bag if you have another way to punch small holes through fabric, but is a quick n' easy way to do so.  This can be purchased from JoAnn's/Hobby Lobby or multiple places online

9) Woven Fusible Interfacing: 
You can purchase Heat n Bond Soft and Bosal Fashion Fuse from my Etsy store

Cut your pieces

-Main Bag Outside pieces: Using above pic as guide, from the FOLD of your fabric, cut a trapezoid shape as shown.  Bottom will be 8 inches across, measure up 11 inches and cut a 9 inch line across the top.  Match your top and bottom points up and cut a diagonal line on the side.  Pics show what your shape will look like cut (still in half) and then unfolded.
- Straps- cut two strips for outer straps 2.5" wide x 28" long
- Inside pockets Fronts - cut two rectangles 9.5" wide x 5.5" tall

-Main Bag Interior Lining: Use your Main Bag Outside trapezoid pieces you just cut as templates and cut two interior pieces in the same trapezoid shape as your outer bag pieces.

- Straps - Cut two strips for strap accents 1.5" wide x 30" long
- Bag Top Band Binding - Cut two strips 4" wide x 18.5" long
- Inside Pockets Backs - Cut two rectangles 9.5" wide x 5.5" tall

Cut two trapezoid pieces (use your already cut pieces as a template)
Cut two strips 1" wide x 24" long for your straps padding
*keep a scrap piece of fusible fleece for your magnetic snap attachment

Cut 4 trapezoid pieces (use your already cut pieces as a template)
Cut 2 rectangles 9.5" wide x 5.5" tall for inside pockets interfacing
Cut 2 strips 1 1/8" wide  x 25" long for straps interfacing

*You should already have your rectangles of Craft Tex/Timtex and iron on adhesive cut to 11.5" wide  x 3.75" tall.

Make your Straps
As a matter of habit, I always make my bag straps 1st.  Gets them out of the way!
•Take your Bag Outer Strap strips and Bag Accent Strap strips and press/iron them.
•Fuse the Woven Interfacing strap strips to the WRONG side of both outer straps
•Fold in the ends of your outer straps 1/4" and press
•Fuse your Fusible Fleece strap strips on top of your woven interfacing on the WRONG side of each strap (on top of the woven interfacing)
   **TIP** Interfacings/Fleece cut shorter than your strap length will keep the ends from being bulky!**

•Fold in the sides of your Outer Strap Strips so that they meet and press (make sure to keep the 1/4" ends you folded and pressed still folded)

•Now take your Accent Strap Strips and fold them in half long-wise so that they meet and press

•Here is where you will use the Stitch Witchery!  Take your Accent Strap Strip and lay it across your Outer Bag Strap Strip over the fold, centering it.  Place Stitch Witchery underneath your Accent Strap piece and iron to fuse the Accent Strap into place on your Outer Strap. MAKE SURE you fuse the accent strip to the side of the strap that you folded in with the raw edges and NOT to the "smooth side".
5/8" rolls of Stitch Witchery can be purchased in the NOTIONS Section at your local sewing/craft store or from multiple places online
 **Strap Making TIP** I loooooves me some Stitch Witchery!  Fusing your accent strap strip to your outer straps with Stitch Witchery will not only serve as a time saving basting step (no need for pins or clips!) will also keep your accent fabric from shifting when you topstitch it!!****  

•You should have a tad of Accent Strip fabric hanging off the ends of your straps.  Fold that extra accent fabric into the Outer Strap Fabric opening at the end of the strap.  Once folded in, press.

• Topstitch 1/8" your Accent Strap fabric all the way around your strap.

• This is what your straps will look like when topstiching is finished!

• Now fold the strap ends up 1" (towards back of strap) and press

• Take a piece of Stitch Witchery the width of your straps and place on the back end of your straps behind the 1" you just folded up.  Press well, making sure the Stitch Witchery fuses.  The Stitch Witchery is 5/8" wide-MAKE SURE NOT to fuse the actual "Fold".  You should have a little space where the fold meets that you can see all the way through.

• SEE the little SPACE in your strap end?  Good!

• Punch a small centered hole (I use a Leather hole punch on the smallest hole setting) in the folded part of your strap end.
    **STRAP MAKING TIP!** Using Stitch Witchery on the ends of straps to fuse them saves you from having to STITCH across straps  to secure them.  "Strap Stitching" for the purpose of securing, can look unsightly!***

• Once your hole is punched, you will attach your rivets-  Shown in the pic are DOUBLE CAP rivets.  You will have the male portion of your rivet (with the pole) and the female version (back).  If you purchase the rivets, purchase them with an attachment kit.  It typically has the pieces shown in the first pic above.
**Note: if you are using SINGLE cap rivets instead of DOUBLE cap rivets, the MALE will need to go through the back side of your strap and the FEMALE on the top.

• Place the MALE part of your rivet through the hole you punched

• Flip the strap over and attach the FEMALE portion of your rivet onto the back of the MALE  (Good rivets will make a slight "snapping" noise when the male is attached to the female.

• Place the back of the FEMALE rivet into the concave rivet base (called the ANVIL)
• Take the CONCAVE rivet setter pole top and place it over the MALE rivet top.  Hammer 2-3 times or until set.
• Your rivet is now set!  Repeat this process for the other 3 strap ends...

• Once your rivet is set, open your album ring and slip it through the small opening on your strap end
• For the time being, leave the album ring open
• You're now done with your straps!  All 4 strap ends should look like this!
 ***STRAP MAKING TIP*** See how wonderful the straps look without visible "stitch lines" to secure them? If your Stitch Witchery is fused well and your rivet set right, it will be plenty strong enough to hold your straps and look more professional in the process!***

*Note* There are actual rings for purse making that you can purchase that do the same thing as these Album Rings...they are called "Gate Rings"...but they are super expensive~ These album rings provide the same purpose, look great and work just as well!

Construct Main Bag
• Get your Main Bag Trapezoid pieces (Exterior and Interior).  Fuse 1 trapezoid Woven Interfacing piece to each fabric trapezoid piece on the WRONG side of the fabric.  
Then take your Fusible Fleece trapezoid pieces and fuse them on top of the woven interfacing (on exterior pieces only).  For now, set these 4 trapezoid pieces aside.

•Take your pocket front and back pieces and place wrong sides together.  Fuse your pocket woven interfacing piece onto your pocket front (You may want to clip the interfacing out of the corners before stitching)

•Now stitch using a 1/4" seam around the pocket leaving an opening in the bottom of the pocket (approx 2-3 inch opening)

•After you've sewn around you pocket, clip the corners. (*Note: I clipped out the interfacing corners before sewing around my pocket)
• Reach into the opening at the bottom of your pocket and turn it right side out

• On the bottom of your pocket where your opening is, fold the raw edges under 1/4" to hind them and press your pocket.
• Topstitch across the top of the pocket using a 1/8" seam.  Repeat this process to make your 2nd pocket.

• Center your pocket on your Bag Interior lining fabric 2.5" up from the bottom (Just eyeball your centering).  Topstitch the pocket to the bag lining with a 1/8" seam allowance along the sides and bottom of the pocket.
Now make you middle pocket dividing line by figuring out where you want your pocket divided.  On one pocket, I stitch right down the center of the pocket---on the other pocket,I stitch a little over the middle so one pocket is bigger than the other.  This pocket sizing is entirely your preference.  Repeat this process for the other pocket

• Take your Bag Top Band Binding pieces and fold them in half lengthwise.  Press.

• Place your Bag Interior lining piece on your Bag Exterior piece WRONG sides together.
Then, pin or clip your Bag top Band Binding piece along the top edge of your outer bag with the raw edges of the binding strip towards the top.  

• MAKE SURE you pin/clip your Bag Binding across the top with your lining piece and your bag exterior piece!  On the lining side, stitch a 1/2" seam from the top edge.  You will be stitching through a "sandwich", of which the layers are: 1) your lining piece, 2) your bag exterior and 3) your bag binding strip.
•After stitching, on the RIGHT side of each bag side, fold/press the top band UP (it will now be taller than your bag top edge)

This is what your outer bag piece, lining fabric and top band will look like stitched with the top band folded/pressed up.

Now open up your bag exterior and lining (keeping that top band folded UP) take both your bag pieces and place them RIGHT SIDES together (see above pic) matching up the top binding bands evenly--again, making sure those bands are facing UP.  This is very important!

•Pin or clip in place all the way around the two pieces leaving an opening at the bottom lining pieces (leave opening approx 3-4").  Stitch all the way around using a 1/2" seam on the LINING and a 1/4" seam on the outer bag exterior.  Follow the guide on the pic above.

***BAG MAKING TIP*** Sewing your interior lining with slightly larger seams will aid your bag lining into fitting and falling into your bag better***

• Time to make those boxed corners!  Using a ruler, mark off a 2" square on each of the 4 corners of your bag.

• Once you've marked off your squares, form the "boxes".  To do this, pull the corners out, matching the side seams (do this by peeking on the INSIDE of your bag).  Please, please, please MATCH your seams!  I see boxed bags all the time whose seams don't match!  Taking just a minute to match your seams makes the bottom of your bag look so much better!  Match seams on all 4 corners, pulling your squares out.  When you match your seams, the lines you drew for your square should meet up making a nice straight line.
• This is what your outer bag corners will look like with seams matched--clip in place

• This is what your inner bag corners will look like with seams matched--clip in place

• For the OUTER bag corners, stitch straight across the line.  
For the INNER (lining) bag corners, stitch JUST ABOVE the line (about 1/4" above)
***BAG MAKING TIP*** Just like you did with your lining seams, sewing the boxed corners of your lining with slightly larger seams will aid your bag lining into fitting and falling into your bag better***

• Trim all four of your bag corners about 1/4" away from the stitch lines

• Trim the Bag Top Binding off the sides of your bag to about 1/4"

• Reach inside the opening in the bag lining and grab your outer bag pulling it through the opening to turn it right side out

• This is what your bag will now look like. 

• This is why we can't forget the small details during bag making...You can now see how important it was to match up your side seams where your top band is.  It should match up and be nice and straight as shown!  Now, push your lining down into your bag.

• Fold over the top band into the inside lining.  Pin or clip this fold down

• Continue pinning/clipping the fold over of the top band all the way around. 

• Your top band should now be folded over into the lining side of your bag.  Here is a pic of what it looks like from the outside.

Guess what?  It's time for Stitch Witchery again!
• Lay your bag down on one of it's long sides.  Pull off some of your clips/pins and put a strip of Stitch Witchery in between your bag lining and the top band that you folded over (see pics) Pull the top band down over the Stitch Witchery and iron to fuse

• Continue this process around the entire perimeter of the top band~ removing the pins/clips as you go.  The corners where the side seams meet may be a tad tricky~ just tug your lining fabric down smooth underneath.

• Make sure that your iron is hot so that it fuses well.  You may need to use your other hand after inserting the Stitch Witchery to hold down the top band until you can get the iron over it to fuse--BE CAREFUL of your fingers if you're using steam!

• Fuse well!  Once you get around the entire perimeter, re-iron the top band again to ensure fusing

*Note* You can topstitch around this top band if you want to, or like the look of the topstitching around the band-although it's not necessary because the Stitch Witchery will hold just fine.  

Once your top band is fused down with the Stitch Witchery, you'll need to mark where your grommets will be placed.
Mark in 3" and again at 5.5" from the side seam of your bag.

• Know your grommet sides!  On the left side of pic is MALE grommet, on the right side is FEMALE grommet.
• Now punch a hole where your markings were made.  (at 3" and 5.5" in from side seam)   Punch the hole so that your hole is made with half the hole in the top band and the other half into the main bag fabric (see pic!)

I use a CROP-A-DILE hole punch from 'We r Memory Keepers' on the 3/16" hole setting.  This is a scrapbooking tool, but I've used it for years--it makes great grommet sized holes through multiple layers of fabrics easily.
• Clip your grommet hole every so slightly 

• Place your MALE grommet inside this hole, then apply the female grommet to the other side.  Use your grommet tool to press down/squeeze on the grommet to attach it.  
If you don't have a tool, you can still apply these grommets with a grommet attachment kit (sold at both JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby) just follow the manufacturers instructions of your grommet attachment kit
Repeat this process until all 8 grommets are applied.

When all 8 of your grommets are attached, it's time to make the markings for your magnetic snap.  Use the magnetic snap back facing for placement.
Center by measuring in approximately 3" from the grommets closest to the center
Mark on your fabric inside the openings of the magnetic snap facing to show where the button will go.  REPEAT this process on the other side of the bag

•Take your scraps of fusible fleece and cut them just a tad larger than your magnetic snap backings.  Mark inside the slits onto the non fusible side of the fusible fleece.

• Using a sharp pair of scissors, clip the slits you marked.

• Go back into your purse lining and clip the slits you marked on the lining front/back
BE CAREFUL not to clip your outer bag!  Pull the lining away from the outer bag before clipping.  If you have some FRAY CHECK, apply it to each of the slits you just clipped on your bag lining.  This will help keep your slits from fraying when you use and pull on your magnetic snap.

• Place the magnetic snap through the slits.  Then looking into the inside of the bag, (see pic), place the magnetic snap facing on top of the slits and push the side prongs down toward the snap's center.  Repeat this process for the other half of the magnetic snap on the other side of the bag lining.

We're in the home stretch now!
• Time to put in your bag bottom

• Take your 11.5" x 3.75" rectangle of Craft Tex or Timtex and apply your iron on adhesive to one side.  Let it cool for a minute and remove the paper backing from the adhesive.

• Place your Craft Tex/Timtex piece into the bottom of your bag, adhesive/fusible side down.
Ironing this on can be tricky!  I use a hand towel, stick it in the bag, turn it upside down and press/iron the bottom of the bag.  This will activate the adhesive and fuse your Craft Tex rectangle to the bottom of your bag creating a base.

• When your bag bottom is in, close the opening in your bag lining.  Pin or clip closed (folding in the raw edges) and stitch with a 1/8" seam allowance.  Once the opening is stitched, push your lining back down into your bag.

Last but not least, attach your straps!
Take an open album rings from one of your straps and feed it through your grommet holes, gathering together your bag in the process--then simply close your album rings.
Repeat for all 4 straps.....annnnnnd you are DONE-ZERS!  Woot!

You now have a super cute new bag!

Here are more views!

The possibilities are endless!  Play with design!  Here are others I've made using two fabrics in a split fabric design using cotton and corduroy:

Here's the split fabric design again, in an enlarged size to make a tote bag!

Have fun!
If you make one and would like to share/show yours off, please feel free to post your pic on my FB page or send it to me in an email!  I'd love to see!

Happy Sewing!



  1. Excellent tutorial & great bag! Lots of pictures are so awesome because sometimes much easier to understand than the wording, especially for beginners!! And on how to use some of the supplies and assembling them. Thanks!! Keep 'em coming :)

    1. Yay! Thank you so much, Sue! So pleased to hear your feedback! I agree about the pics, I'm a very "visual" person, so pictures help me so much more than words! Enjoy!! :)

  2. Thanks so much for this very detailed tutorial, I appreciate all the extra tips! I would love a mini tutorial on how to make a detachable wrist strap/wristlet to attach my keys to, similar to the handles on this bag with an accent strip but just closed into a loop. Hope that makes sense!

    Thanks again!

    1. You're very welcome, Annie! So glad you stopped by!
      Hmmmmm, a wrist/strap keychain is a good idea! Think I'll have to do a tute for one! Stay tuned!

  3. Great tutorial ! Thanks ! The bags are really splendid I love the straps with the rings and the use of rivets ! It's so original !

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and compliments! & you are so welcome! Let me know if you make one! :)

  4. Thank you for a Fantastic tutorial!! I cant wait to have the time to make this great bag!!
    Wish it had a PDF to download so i could save it for late viewing/printing.

  5. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.

  6. Loved everything except the eyelets and grommets. That was not my thing. But the bag came out beautiful.


  7. Bag pretty much anyway. I like that the bag can be seen on the web here too. I know that women must like my bag.


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  9. I found a lot of interesting stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From tons of comments on your post, I guess I'm not the only one who has all the relaxation here! Please continue to uphold. I think I need to learn a lot to get a good writer like you.


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