Tutorial: Lumberjack Bag (The Prototype)

Or, How To Decide To Make A Bag With A Lumberjack On It And Then Spend All Day Working On A Bag You Don’t Really Need But Really, Really Like.

1.5 yards fabric for bag (i.e., the outside. I went with canvas.)
1.5 yards fabric for bag lining (i.e., the inside. I went with flannel.)
Thread – one color that matches your outer bag, another that contrasts it for some detail stitching (i.e., the lumberjack nose)
Felt or Fleece – one color for a lumberjack hat, another for lumberjack beard (These fabrics won’t fray when sewn to the outside of the bag)

Sewing Machine
Paper for pattern
Iron and Ironing board

Step 1: Make your bag pattern.
I went with the “oversized tote bag” look, so my finished bag was about 16” x 16”. If you’re going for a very specific size, remember to account for at least a 1/4” seam allowance. Make one rectangle for the front/back of your bag, one for the sides/bottom and a third for the strap. Cut the strap on a fold to cut down on the number of seams you have to sew.

Step 2: Pin your pattern to your fabric, and cut it out.
Cut out two front/back pieces, three side/bottom pieces and, depending on how many straps you want, two strap pieces.
When you’re done cutting out the exterior bag material, do the same for the lining, omitting the strap pieces. Unless of course you want to line your straps. Overachiever.

Step 3: Sew your straps.
Fold the straps in half longways, and sew down the side opposite the fold.
Fold them in half, and press the seam open and flat. This will make them look way, way better when you’re done. Promise.
With either a safety pin or the super-fancy strap turner your aunt gave you that never seems to work quite right, turn the straps inside-out and press them flat again. The seam should be in the middle of the strap on one side.

Step 4: Sew your bag.
Pin the front and sides of your bag material together, right sides facing each other. You’re going to flip them inside-out soon.
I made this easy on myself by choosing a canvas that doesn’t have a right or wrong side. Leave one side of the bag unsewn so that you have a hole for turnung it right-side out.

Step 6: Sew your lining.
Pin the front and back, sides, and bottom of the lining together, right sides facing each other. Sew together until you have a rectangular bag that is open on top.
If you want to add a pocket to the inside of your lining, now it the time do so so.
Make sure to add it to the inside of the lining, not the side that will be facing your bag’s exterior fabric once they’re sewn together.
Flip the lining inside out.

Step 7: Make your lumberjack pattern.
Mine was based on a card I bought in Chico with my sister. It is the best card I have ever seen. Make the pattern as large or as little as you like. I went for “ostentatiously big.”
Draw the pattern out on some craft paper or newspaper, tweaking it as you see fit. Go for smooth, simple shapes, with as few points and corners as possible. This is for your own sanity. Or, okay, mine.

Step 8: Cut your pattern out.
Goddamn, this looks awesome already.
You do not need to cut out the nose.

Step 9: Pin the patterns to their respective felts.
Cut them out.
Step 10: Add the pattern to your bag.
Pin the pattern to the outside of your bag.
Sew the beard, then the moustache, then the hat, allowing them to overlap as you go.
If you would like to, swap in your contrast thread and sew a nose/nostrils onto the image.

Step 11: Sew the bag’s bottom and last side seam.
Flip the bag inside out and pin the bottom and remaining side together.
Sew the seams to complete the shell of the bag.

Step 12: Sew in the lining.
Turn the lining and the bag inside out, then pin their tops together, matching side to side, front to front, etc. The wrong sides should be facing out of the bag and the lining, the right sides in.
Sew around the edge of your bag, leaving a hole of around four inches unsewn.
Pull the bag through the hole, then push the lining into the bag.
Sew the remaining hole closed.

Step 13: Topstitching.
Stitch around the top of your bag to hold the lining in place. If you would like, you can also sew seams down the sides to prevent the lining from pulling away from the bag.

Step 14: Attach the straps.
Pin your straps to your bag, making sure that the seam side is facing down.
Sew them to your bag, using an X within a rectangle pattern. Or, you know, something else that looks just as cool.

Step 15: Brag.
Or just carry the bag around and wait for the compliments to roll in.


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