Two Tone Bag with Chain Strap Tutorial

25 Apr

Two Tone Suede Bag


This lovely bag can be made in any size and is really simple but looks great. So what do you need?

I made this one out of my enormous fabric stash. I had some suede lying around that I wanted to use and the stripey stuff was left over from some cushions I had made. I also got my hands on some amazing proper vintage blue print that was given to me by a friend of my Mums. Those who know me know I don’t band about that ‘vintage’ term lightly. Real deal here! I also had some bobbly trim in one of my baskets full of sewing bits n bobs. I did have to go and buy the chain but you can get it from any B&Q. Hombase type shop. You will also need a closed end zip(the kind that doesn’t come apart). The size of this will determine the maximum width of the bag so have a think before you buy one. I used a 25 cm zip.

things you need to make a bag

  • 2 Lining pieces 42cm x 27cm
  • 2 Outer pieces 32cm x 27cm
  • 2 Outer contrastin pieces 12cm x 27cm
  •  1 25cm closed end zip
  • 1m chain(cut to size in shop!)
  • 27cm trim(optional)
  • extra little bit of fabric to attach handles

Chain and clippers


So I went to my local Homebase and found this nice black chain. It is pre cut in 2m length so I also got some wire cutters after a member of staff pointed me in the right direction. I thought I would probably use 1 m for this bag and the rest for another. I got home and tried to cut the chain. Turns out you could anchor a cruise ship with this stuff and my cutters won’t even cut a flaming marshmallow in half so I had to just use it all. Lesson learned! Get them to cut it for you in the shop. They have industrial looking cutting machines.

First thing we need to do is cut out all our pieces. Although I used suede in mine you don’t have to. I would actually say if you are not a confident sewer don’t use it at all. It’s not easy stuff to work with. You don’t have to use a contrast at all. You can cut another 2 pieces the same size as the lining. This works fine! Use a set square to cut your rectangles, otherwise they will be weird 4 sided shapes that won’t fit together. If you don’t have on you can get one here!

Use a setsquare


Firstly you want to sew your contrasting front pieces together so that your front pieces are the same size as your lining. your seams allowance is 1cm. places pieces right sides together and attach.
Sew front pieces together

Then they should all look like this:


Now we want to insert the zip. Place a lining piece in front of you right side facing up then place the zip right side up on top matching the raw edges.

inserting zip

Then place your outer piece right side down on top. I like to refer to this as a ‘zip sandwich’ because, well it IS a zip sandwich and I’m always thinking about food.

inserting the zip

Now you want to pin and sew between the top raw edges and the teeth. You will want to use a zip foot on your machine as a normal foot will not let you anywhere near those teeth. If you sew on the wrong side of the teeth you’ll soon know about it because the next step won’t make any sense. If in doubt, pin it turn it out and see if the next part makes sense before you sew it. Or just unpick it, it’s good practise!

Next step, turn your pieces out so your zip is exposed. Your lining and outer pieces should now be attached to the zip like so.

Inserting a zip

Now we are going to do EXACTLY the same step again so lay your lining right sides up in front of you. Now take the zip(that is now attached at one side to the other pieces of fabric) and place the raw edge of the zip against the top raw edge of the lining piece. Then take your outer piece and lay it over the top, right sides together/down and make that zip sandwich! Sew across the top in the same way as before.

Inserting a zip

inserting a zip

Now you have inserted your zip wahey! It really wasn’t that difficult was it? Now you want to take the two lining pieces and put them right sides together and take the two outer pieces and place them right sides together. Take your chain and thread a little bit of fabric or sewn bias binding through a ring at either side. This is how we are going to attach the handle as obviously we can’t sew through the chain. I used a little bit of scrap fabric, folded all my raw edges in and stitched it to make almost a little tiny tote bag handle. It is about 6cm long.

DSCN0715 DSCN0716

Now here is where a lot of people make mistakes. It is really easy to sew these handles in the wrong way so that they are actually on the inside of the lining instead of the outside of the whole bag. So flip back one of the outer pieces and position your handles as show below. I measures down 10cm from the zip.


Now flip that outer piece back and find the handles in place. Pin all the way round the outside, so all the raw edges together. Make sure the zip is nice and flat as we’ll be sewing over those ends. Sew all the way around the outside in one continuous row of stitching leaving a gap of about 10 in the lining. usually



Now I know what you are thinking, WOW LOOK AT THAT ILLUSTRATION! This girl is a graphic design genius! Yes this is a photo of a pencil drawing. Life is too short to relearn Illustrator every 6 months. ANYWAY, start sewing the middle of the lining and sew right around the outside. then you can turn it out through the wee hole you have left in the lining.

Inserting a zip


And you are done!

zipped bag


2 Responses to “Two Tone Bag with Chain Strap Tutorial”

  1. RedSetter May 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Jenny, you are priceless! I’m still chuckling at your description of the chain weight and the ineffectual cutters. Great wee tutorial. I know I should know better but the zip order always confuses me so great reminder.

    You do seem to have a thing about boats, don’t you? I recall a class comment from you about trusting our instincts when we were talking about the kind of piping to get “If it looks like it will pull in a ferry, it’s too thick…!” Classic!!

    • Sew Confident May 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      Haha! I’m glad it made you chuckle. I guess I do have a thing about boats, despite being the least outdoorsy ‘boatsy’ person ever. I went on a ‘booze cruise’ once, it has obviously had a lasting effect on me! x

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