Thursday, August 8, 2013

Milk Bottle Bag Tutorial/How To Draft A Bag Pattern

Drafting patterns can be relatively simple, especially when it comes to things like bags. Being able to do this can really come in handy, especially when the fabric itself really drives a project's design direction.  

I got some adorable milk bottle print ripstop fabric and discovered it was coated on the reverse when it arrived.  This meant it was fully waterproof and had a nice weight to it (meaning no need for additional stabilizer).  I wanted to make a bag with it, but the fabric is so unusual, I felt it needed a more unusual bag design than the same boring rectangles of most totes and pouches.  So I took a cue from the print and drafted my bag to look like a milk bottle too!

Today I'm going to show how I made my custom shaped bag, but this same general technique could be applied to other shapes too for another unique look, so it's also a "how to draft patterns" tutorial as well.

Materials Needed:

- Fat Quarter of durable outer fabric (this print is from Wholeport)
- Fat Quarter of lining fabric like quilting cotton
- 3/4yd of woven strap material
- 7 inch zipper
- 10 inch x 12 inch piece of Quilter's Layout Grid (aka Grid Nonfusible Interfacing) for making the pattern.  See HERE for more info on this material
- Sewing notions (rotary cutter, pins, pencil, heavy duty/denim needle, zipper foot, hand sewing needle, design ruler)

I decided on the size I wanted my bag to be and added a 1/2 inch seam allowance to all the sides so I ended up with a rectangle that was 10 inches wide by 12 inches high. Using Quilter's Layout Grid, makes the measuring really quick since it has 1 inch blocks pre-marked.  To make the curved mouth & neck of the milk bottle for my pattern, I just traced my camera lens cap on one side:

and used my design ruler to curve the lower edges:

I folded the pattern in half and cut out, so that sides will be perfectly symmetrical:

Then there was a perfectly shape pattern piece to use.  

I cut out two piece from my outer ripstop and lining quilting cotton.  Since my pattern was translucent, it made it a lot easier to line it up just how I wanted with the print design of the fabric:

I also cut a 6 inch by 6 inch square from the lining fabric and pressed all the sides under to create a pocket for the inside of the bag.  Again, my grid pattern piece made deciding the exact spot and precise spacing from all side for the pocket super easy - I just laid it on top and marked the fabric underneath for placement, then stitched the pocket into place. 

To attach the zipper, I pinned it face down to the top edge of one of the outer sides:

Using a zipper foot, I started stitching about an inch below the zipper pull and stitched all the way down.

Then I went back to the top, unzipped the zipper and stitched the remaining section of the zipper into place.  

Next one lining piece was laid on top of the zipper, with the right side facing down, and was stitched on the same seam in the same way.

The sewn on layers got folded back to be out of the way and the same steps were repeated with remaining pieces on other side of zipper.

The bag was then opened up, matching up outside and linings and making sure the zipper was partially open. The strap was inserted at the "bottle neck" portion of the outer fabric, with the raw edges sticking out on either side and everything was pinned together:

Then the layers got stitched together.  I did a 3/8 inch seam allowance on the ripstop layer and a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the lining, leaving a 2 inch gap at the bottom of lining for turning.  I like the lining to be just a little smaller than the outer, so it'll lay nice & smoothly inside.  Then I clipped notches around all the curves, careful to to cut into the seams:

I turned the bag right side out through the gap in the bottom of the lining and hand sewed it closed.  Then I inserted the lining into the bag and it was all set.

It's a great feeling to add personal flair with your own pattern design.  It really makes the project yours from start to finish.  I can't wait to take this new bag out for a spin!

I'm also sharing this with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I selected & received this fabric from my Sponsor, Wholeport, to use as I desired.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.   For my complete disclosure policy, click here. 


  1. Great tutorial! This would be so much fun to make with my daughter for back to school! So glad I found you on Thursday Favorite Things!

  2. I love this tutorial! I plan on making some little bags next week and this will be helpful to help me create a new look of my own. Thank you!!!

    Gina @ Gina's Craft Corner

  3. I love it! I used to make children's clothing and accessories and am currently stepping away from the sewing machine and crochet needles into the world of paint and hardware :) I found your link via LambertsLately link party.I would love for you to join me on Tuesdays at, where I host Tute’s Tuesdays, created to feature great tutorials such as yours ;)

  4. Very cute! I hope you will share it at our bag Brag Tuesdays Linking party! :)

  5. Really cute bag and fabric. Thanks for the directions!

  6. Lovely!!! The fabric is so gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing the great tutorial!
    Have a nice weekend!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  7. We try so hard to hide everything we're really feeling from those who probably need to know our true feelings the most. People try to where to buy mini liquor bottles in bulk, as if it's somehow wrong to have natural reactions to life where to buy mini liquor bottles in bulk


Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)


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