Welcome to the second post of the Sporty Strap Pack sew along! This is the one-shoulder backpack pattern featured on the cover of our book On the Go Bags, co-written by Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags.
Janelle kicked off our sew along with several helpful posts for those of you sewing the Airport Sling Bag, (another one from the book!) which you’ll find here:
- Post #1: Supplies, Cutting & Interfacing
- Post #2: Creating the Passport Pocket
- Post #3: Finishing the Bag Exterior
- Post #4: Finishing the Bag & Link Up Your Photos
Sporty Strap Pack:
- Post #1: Supplies, Cutting + Interfacing
- Post #2: You are here!
You may have already joined the On the Go Bags Facebook group, but in case you haven’t, check it out for all of the sew along info.You can share your bag progress, ask questions, and even enter to win prizes just for sewing along! We’ll do about 2 weeks of instruction for each bag, and then you’ll have 4 weeks to finish for a chance to enter your bag for giveaways.
Here’s the bag again, featured in Keep on Groovin’ from Riley Blake Designs.
Making the Straps
In the last post, we got all of our pieces cut out and stabilized or interfaced. Here are the right sides of the strap pieces. You’ll see the 2 small and 2 large ones. The nylon strapping gets pinned onto 1 of each, with the longer strapping pinned to the shorter strap, and the shorter strapping pinned to the longer strap.
In the Facebook group this week, Melissa asked me if the stabilizer for the curved strap goes right up to the end of the fabric (as pictured above), or if it gets pushed back a 1/4″, to allow for an easier time sewing the seam allowance. My answer: Push the stabilizer 1/4″ back from what is featured in the picture, so it’s not butting up against the edge of the strap. This will go through your sewing machine easier.
Truthfully, I didn’t trim back my stabilizer on any of my Sporty Strap Packs, because my sewing machine sews right through them! I reduce bulk after sewing with a pinking rotary cutter, so the straps lay nice and flat after topstitching. But that suggestion on cutting back the stabilizer to be a little smaller than the straps will help you out if your sewing machine has a rough time going through multiple layers. 🙂
Here are the interfaced sides of each strap after they are sewn to the matching one. See that little nylon strapping hanging over the edge? We’re gonna trim that off next.
I like to use a pinking rotary blade to trim off the entire curved edge of both straps, including the nylon strapping. You can also notch the curves with regular scissors or pinking shears.
Now turn those straps right side out, press….
…. And add your two layers of top stitching! Mine are about 1/4″ from the edge, and another 1/4″ inside that.
If your nylon strapping didn’t stay perfectly centered, you can rip out some stitches in the end and reposition the strapping to try again. Make sure to do this before topstitching, though.
Here is how they look attached to the outer panel of the Sporty Strap Pack. I recommend pinning and basting in place. Make sure you baste them to the panel that has the neck slightly slanted to the right side. (See the note in the book about the notches on the pattern piece if you need more help figuring out which side is which.)
Making the Flat Pocket (and Pocket Flap)
I’ve used contrasting pockets on this bag, but you can also choose to match the fabrics for the outer bag and pockets, like the one on the book’s cover.
When we were writing the book, Janelle came up with this neat idea to have one curved pattern piece that coordinates with multiple patterns. So all you need to do to “curve” the bottom corners of your pocket flap is find the appropriate curve line on the pattern piece and line it up as shown. Repeat with the second corner of your pocket flap.
To find the center point of your pocket flap and flat pocket, fold them in half and use your finger to make a crease. Then apply the magnetic snaps as explained in the book. If you’ve never used a magnetic snap, I think you’ll find them quite easy to master, and they add a lot of bang for your buck as far as making your pockets look professional.
Here are both my curved pocket flap and flat pocket pieces with the magnetic snap attached. Note that I’ve inserted the magnetic snaps into the stabilized pieces. I make the tiniest hole with my seam ripper, and then force the magnetic snap prongs through the layers. This way, I can avoid having to use fray check. But that’s always an option if your holes end up being very big and you want to prevent them from tearing.
After the magnetic snaps are in place, stitch the flat pockets together leaving a gap in the top side (see the pins). Do the same with the pocket flap. See where I’ve pinned it? The top flat side is where you’ll turn it.
Now turn that flat pocket right side out, and add two lines of topstitching 1/8″ from the edge, and 1/4″ from the top edge to close that turning area. Place the pocket on your bag front (the one with the straps attached) as shown, using the measurements from the book as your guide.
Pin the pocket in place and stitch around the three bottom sides.
After that pocket is stitched on, place your pocket flap on the bag so that the metal snaps connect. Pin the flap in place and use a single line of stitching 1/8″ from the top edge to attach it to the bag front.
Here is the flap opened after sewing it to the bag. Plenty of room between it and the top of the pocket, which is great for stashing your cell phone or keys securely!
Making the Elastic Pocket
Remember that corner template? We are going to use this again. Refer to the book to make sure you are cutting the correct curve for the elastic pocket. Curve the two bottom corners of both pocket pieces. This will be along the 10″ side.
Now stitch them together, leaving a gap in the curved bottom for turning.
Turn the pocket right side out. Here, I am using a frixion pen to mark a straight line 3/4″ from the top, which will create my elastic casing.
Rip out a few stitches on both the right and left sides of the pocket, just above the line you sewed in the last step. Insert your elastic and safety pin, referring to the directions in the book for completing the elastic pocket. I hope these photos help give you extra visuals to explain the process!
Here is the almost finished elastic pocket. Just stitch to secure the longer end, and trim off that elastic.
Next, pin the elastic pocket to your bag lining piece which has the neck curved slightly to the left, as shown above. See your pattern piece and notches for further clarification. Remember, the bottom of the pocket is still opened, with the seam pressed in 1/4″. We’ll be stitching that down as we sew all around the pocket’s left, bottom and right curve.
Here’s picture of the gathered pocket sewn onto the lining and the flat pocket sewn onto the outer bag with straps. Although, the pocket flap should also be sewn on… I just hadn’t gotten a picture of that yet.
We’ve accomplished a lot today!
If you have any questions about the Sporty Strap Pack Sew Along, feel free to ask them in the On the Go Bags Facebook group! I’ll respond to any questions on the group or will incorporate them into future sew along posts.
Thank you for sewing along with us. It means so much to me and Janelle, and we are humbled and grateful every time we see one of your creations!