A suggestion for "directional" fabric – sidefold bags.

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by beattie beattie 6 years, 1 month ago.

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    Do you have fabric that would look silly with the pictures upside down? Sometimes, just putting the morsbags label on the right-side-up side is enough and you can live with upside down flowers, or teddies, or whatever on the other side. But sometimes you want it to be right.

    There are some options. You could make a two-piece bag with french seams down both sides and across the bottom. If the material is particularly delicious you might want to make it go as far as possible and make bags with plain backs and handles so that as many people as possible get some of the desirable material. Or you could make a bag with the fold at the side instead of the bottom. I’ve taken some photos to show you how.

    I could only find one piece of “directional” fabric today and it’s so good that normally I’d just make the front of the bag out of it, or applique a pirate plus some skulls and crossbones onto a plain bag. But here goes, I made a whole bag out of some of it.


    I cut out a piece of fabric that is 36 inches wide (across the top) and 20 inches long (the drop). Please excuse my dirty carpet.


    I made handles as normal.

    Fold the top of the bag in half and mark the fold with a pin or a draw a line with chalk, pen or pencil a couple of inches from the top of the fabric.


    I use a random piece of breakfast cereal box to measure where to place the handles. We found by trial and error that an ordinary postcard is a useful object to use as a standard measure for placing handles. When they got too battered I made replacements out of a cardboard box. The actual size isn’t important – but the three 1cm apart marks along the top edge are used for placing handles on sidefold bags.


    Measure with your standard object from the edge of the fabric and place the first end of the first handle so that it just touches the measurer and pin the handle end in place.


    Move the measurer to the pin marking the centre of the top edge of the fabric and place it so that you knock 3cm off the length of the measurer.

    I use 3 cm as that’s about how much fabric it takes to make a french seam (the way I do them). Thick fabric takes more, so you’d need to knock off more, or very fine fabric takes less to make the seam, so you only need to knock off about 2cm.

    Here are both handles pinned into place so you can see where they go.


    Sew along the fold holding the handles in position as normal, removing the pins as you come to them and sew along the top edge so that the handles stick up out of the bag, reinforcing them with box and cross, or three lots of stitching over the handles, also as normal.


    Sew on the label, then fold the bag in half, right sides out, and sew down the side seams and across the bottom, reinforcing where you start and finish by sewing backwards and forwards – all as normal, in other words.

    Trim any non-matching bits and sticking out threads, and clip the corner to make it neater – but not TOO close to your stitching.


    Turn inside out and sew the side and bottom again, a bit wider, so as to enclose the raw edges. Turn right side out and admire – all as normal! 😀


    • This topic was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by beattie beattie.
    butterfly bags
    butterfly bags

    I make most of my bags with a side fold. I got into the habit of it because I use a lot of children’s fabric that does have a “right way” up.
    I pin my handles the same distance for the edge on both sides. To make them even, when I do my final seams, I sew up the folded side with a good seam allowance. (Not sure that makes sense when I right it down but it works for me!)
    I love the way we all have our only little ways, shortcuts and tips and all end up making such fabulous bags!


    I agree, Tori, it’s fascinating how people work out their own ways of making lovely bags and make little variations.

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