Brancaster Bag Sewing Tutorial April 1, 2022 17:06
The Brancaster pattern is a Tote bag with lots of optional add on features making this my all time favourite DIY DAY OUT BAG!
Recessed top zip and optional extra pockets make this bag so handy. I even designed the strap to carry a mat depending on what you are using your bag for, picnic, swimming, yoga? The possibilities are endless.
This bag can be as simple or complicated as you like.
For experienced stitchers the extra details will appeal, but if you are a beginner why not make the main bag and lining with no extras for practice and then pimp your next bag with the optional details as you build your skills.
You can make this bag with guidance on one of my Pattern Workshops or read on for the full instructions.
Before you start you will need to draft your pattern pieces to the measurements below.
Or grab a copy of my print at home PDF SEWING PATTERN.Maxi size:
- Main - 28x25" (cut 2)
- Lining - 28x24" (cut 2)
- Outer pocket - 10.5x21" (cut 1)
- Inner pocket - 8x4" (cut 2) 8x15" (cut 2)
- Main - 22x21" (cut 2)
- Lining - 22x20" (cut 2)
- Pockets are same as Maxi
Your pattern will also come with Graphic Instructs which you can print or view online.
For this project you will need to following kit:
- Fabric 1 - Maxi 0.65m / Tote 0.56m (Main bag outer and optional inner zip pocket)
- Fabric 2 - Maxi 0.65m / Tote 0.56m (Lining bag and outer pocket)
- 1.5" (40mm) Cotton webbing for straps 70" x2 (140" total)
Alternatively make your own straps finished size - 1.5" wide / 70" long x2
- Zip 1 - Closed ended nylon zip - Maxi + Tote 9" (for optional inner zip pocket)
- Zip 2 - Open ended sports zip - Maxi 20" / Tote 16" (for optional recessed zip closure)
- Fabric scissors / Rotary Cutter
- Sewing Machine
- Zipper foot (Note: only if adding zip pocket and closure)
- Clips / Pins
Cut out all your fabrics in advance. Choose a good pair of sharp fabric scissors or rotary cutter which is my preferred cutting tool.
Now let's get sewing!
If your chosen fabrics fray easily finish your edges now with a zip zag stitch or overlock/serged edge.
Your Brancaster is made up of 2 bags the main outer and the lining, let's start by making the lining.
1. SEW side seams RST (right sides together) 5/8" or 1.5cm seam allowance and PRESS seam allowances open.
2. SEW base leaving a gap approx 4" in the center and PRESS
3. SEW corners across base seam (matching base and side seam on top of one another)
(Optional) INNER ZIP POCKET
1. SEW zip tape to TOP of pocket lining and outer fabric by sandwiching the zip in between the fabrics RST (Right sides together). Start with small top pieces and note pattern direction. Sew using a zip foot.
2. SEW zip tape to long BOTTOM pocket pieces.
3. PRESS fabrics close to zip teeth (don't melt the teeth)
4. OPEN ZIP half way
5. Fold main fabric (1) up and OVER the zip. Fold lining fabric (2) up and UNDER the zip, match corners and PIN or CLIP.
(Trust me at this point!)
6. SEW down either side of your layered pocket.
7. TRIM excess zip tape and clip corners.
8. TURN front Fabric (1) out over the whole thing. Ta Da!
9. BASTE/TACK pocket to Lining bag RIGHT SIDE
(Optional) OUTER POCKET/S
The outer pocket is a handy little detail for easy access to a water bottle, phone or purse/wallet.
1. FOLD outer pocket piece in half WRONG sides together
2. TOP STITCH top folded edge 0.5cm
3. Lay pocket face down onto outer bag noting base line on pattern. STITCH along baseline side to side across pocket.
4. FOLD pocket up and PIN ready for the straps.
You have a few different options with the straps here depending on whether you have added an outer pocket or want to leave a gap for a picnic/yoga mat.
You can use the webbing that I recommended above or make your own 1.5" straps.
1. PIN a strap to each main outer bag side using guide on pattern. MATCH straps at base on each main Bag piece.
Side option A - to catch in an outer pocket: SEW along outer edge of strap up to 17" from base seam, sew horizontally across strap and SEW back down the inner edge (catching your pocket sides)
Side option B - leave a gap for a mat instead of the pocket
SEW a cross detail at top and base line on strap.
SEW main bag pieces at base first matching straps / PRESS seam allowance open.
TOP STITCH strap wastage down at base seam.
SEW main bag pieces then at sides RST / PRESS seams open
JOIN base corners
(Optional) RECESSED ZIP CLOSURE
For this you will need an OPEN ENDED ZIP
1. Measure zip end to end (exclude excess tape either end)
2. CUT 2 strips 3" wide and same length as zip + 1", fold in half and NOTCH at center mark.
3. Sew raw ends of one strip (1/4" seam allowance).
4. PRESS seams open, TURN loop so that the seam is centred underneath as shown above.
5. INSERT zip face up (be sure to have joining seam underneath)
6. SEW using a ZIPPER FOOT
7. TURN zipper out, PRESS and TOP STITCH (3mm stitch length) open the zip for the last inch to get around the bulky pull.
8. REPEAT to the other side of zip
9. Split zip and tack/baste the strip to right side of main bag, centralize and match any notches.
1. INSERT lining bag into outer bag RST, tuck in straps so they inside and not visible
2. MATCH side seams and SEW around top edge through all layers
3. TURN through gap in lining (Note - Lining bag is less deep so it should pull 1" of outer pattern down inside the bag)
4. If you added the recessed zip check that you have inserted this the right way? If not now is the time to fix that!
5. FOLD, press and clip/pin the top edge of your bag (Note Lining bag is less deep so it should show 1" of outer pattern down inside the bag)
6. TOP STITCH in the ditch (5mm stitch length) lift straps up so that they DO get caught in the top stitch.
LASTLY - Close up the gap in your lining with 0.5mm top stitch
Well... how did it turn out?
If you are super pleased with the result please comment below and share your make with me over on Instagram @frecklesandcocraft #frecklessewingpatterns.
I will also make a video course to support this project so if you are interested go SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel