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Author Topic: Making a bag pattern  (Read 1329 times)

Offline Monterey

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Making a bag pattern
« on: January 02, 2019, 12:22:59 PM »
I am starting another shooting bag and while making the pattern I took some pictures so those who are interested in this sort of thing can see a way to make a pattern.  Certainly not the only way but it's easily doable for the first time maker.

So, for starters, I'm using some 60# bond paper for the pattern.  A better way to do this is to use file folders but I thought this might be easier to follow and shows how to do this without purchasing a box of file folders.  A piece of poster board is good for this too as long as it's not too thick to fold and work with.

For starters, a sheet of the bond paper is folded in half and the out line of the back of the bag is free handed onto a folded half.  A common mistake here is to make the bag too shallow.  This pattern is ten inches deep and eight inches wide.  Once you free hand it cut the folded paper and you have the full pattern for the back of the bag.

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Mike Lee

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 12:30:55 PM »
The camera angle makes the back look like it narrows at the top, but it does not.

Next take the back you just cut out and lay it on another piece of paper and trace around it for an exact duplicate. Once the second one is cut out you can remove a piece from the top of the pattern and viola!  You have the front of the bag.  This one is 2 1/4" shorter than the back.  Choose your own length for the front but remember that when the front flap is sewn on you will want to have room to lift the flap and reach into the bag without the flap interfering.

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Mike Lee

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 12:44:00 PM »
A good but unnecessary feature of a bag is a gusset.  It makes for a roomier bag which is easier to reach into.  However, this pattern would be perfectly usable without the gusset and if you are making your first bag you might want to omit the gusset.  OTOH, don't be intimidated by it.  It just requires more stitching.

To pattern the gusset we start with another folded piece of paper and measure 7 1/4" along the fold.  This is an arbitrary length.  Longer gussets make a roomier bag whereas shorter ones expand the bottom of the bag which is where you most need more space.  You could run the gusset all the way to the top of the bag front if you like.

Then another measurement is made at 1" and the shape of the gusset is free handed.  The final pattern will be 2" wide but the seams and the folding of the leather will take up at least 1/2" of that.  Once again, the size is arbitrary but this is a good size to start with if you haven't done this before.

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Once you cut this piece out you will have 1/2 of the length of the gusset so take the half you cut out and lay it on the edge of another piece of folded paper to draw the outline and then cut that piece.  Cut on the inside of the lines just a bit so as to keep the same size.  Once both pieces are cut you tape the butt ends together and there is your pattern for the gusset.

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« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 12:46:12 PM by Monterey »
Mike Lee

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 12:56:04 PM »
Here's what we have so far.  A back, front and gusset.

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A nice addition is an inner or outer pocket.  You can sew the pocket on the inside of the bag or on the outside of the back of the bag just depending on how you want it.  Or you can skip the pocket altogether.  This one is 2" X 2" with a 1/4" extra for cutting out the corners so you can sew it with a bit of space inside.

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At this point we should consider the flap of the bag.  The flap can be made to exactly the same dimensions of the back or it can be varied in size and shape.  The only dimension that matters is the width of the bag at the top where you will sew the flap on.  I'm not going to make a pattern for the flap because I usually don't give it much thought until the body of the bag is sewn up.  Then it's just  a matter of creating the shape you want as long as the top few inches are the same as the back.
Mike Lee

Online doc nock

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2019, 04:05:49 PM »
Very helpful and dimensions and pictures...SWEET!

I think the kit I bought had the back and flap as one piece, but I'm not sure without looking...

I think the "gusset" is important... I wish I'd have made an additional separator in my bag inside so I had front and back..

But I really like your design, Mike...

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2019, 05:28:56 PM »
Next up is what I call the strap starters.  This is unnecessary but they are handy for several reasons.  First off, you don't have to deal with long strips of leather while stitching the full length straps and also this extra piece of leather tends to stiffen the top edge of the bag since this makes a third layer of leather once the flap is stitched to the back.  This piece is stitched in between the back and the flap at the same time the flap is stitched on.

This is easy to do using the folded paper again.  Just use the back pattern to establish the width of the starter and use the fold in the back to establish the fold point for this piece. You can shape the starter as you please.  I suggest you keep the base that gets stitched to at least 5/8".  A couple pictures.

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Once you cut your folded piece you have the full size pattern for the starter straps.  These can be any shape or size you like as long as you leave something to stitch to at the bottom.  These don't have to be a single piece as you see here, it can be two separate pieces as well but since you are going all the way across to stitch the flap, may as well do this at the same time.

These are set up for 1" width to the straps.  Plan in advance what type of fastener you will use and make your straps a width that will work with the buckle or whatever system you use.  You can punch holes in these and lace the main strap to the starters which makes a kinda cool look although it's not as simple to adjust.

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That's pretty much it.  You may want to welt the seams.  You won't need a pattern to cut out your welt strips since you pretty much patterned them when you cut out the back and front of the bag.  Simply go back to the leather you cut them from and cut your welts along the edge of the cuts you made for the front and back.

Happy to answer any questions and love to hear suggestions from other dabblers too!
Mike Lee

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2019, 05:38:10 PM »
Very helpful and dimensions and pictures...SWEET!

I think the kit I bought had the back and flap as one piece, but I'm not sure without looking...

I think the "gusset" is important... I wish I'd have made an additional separator in my bag inside so I had front and back..

But I really like your design, Mike...

Thanks, Doc.  One thing I didn't mention is that this is meant to be stitched inside out and then wet and turned after it's all stitched.  Gluing the parts together with contact cement makes it much easier to stitch.

This and just about any bag can be done as a double bag too and also with or without gussets.

Quite a few years ago my grandson wanted to make a bag and he wanted it large!  So we made a pattern for a large gusseted double bag.  He worked on it after school for a long time.  These are labor intensive but fun to make.  His was way bigger than is needed but, as I told him, if he ever decided to become a mail carrier he will have bag. ;D

Here's a couple pictures of that bag.

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Mike Lee

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2019, 02:10:11 PM »
Wow...your Gson truly has a "everything that is possible" could go in his possibles bag... I don't know I'm still man enough to tote such a honking big thing full of drivel...

Even toting a stickbow, 4 arrow quiver, and a tree stand with a small day pack wore me out last I was hunting much back in PA...

Mostly I carried water, lunch and extra clothes as weather could be unpredictable...

My "kit" said to sew inside out and then turn right side out and once done, it didn't look lovely but I had to use a small punch and fake sinew,,, so it wasn't as precise as yours...

Nicely done!

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 02:41:42 PM »
You will find saddle stitching with some appropriate thread to be a bit hard on the hands but the finished seams look better.  My seams leave a lot to be desired but they are improving. 

It's easy to overdo the "stuff" when you get into this leather thing.  A set of saddle stitching needles, thread, awl and a soft pine board to punch on is the basic stuff to stitch with.  My seams improved a lot when I started using contact cement to hold them together while the holes were punched.  First lesson I learned there was that contact cement blocks dye!!  Dye it before it's glued.  ;D

Here's a couple more that I've done.  The little double bag is my own design but the others were mostly inspired by the Northampton Bag in TC Albert's book.

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« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 02:43:16 PM by Monterey »
Mike Lee

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 05:36:29 PM »
I use two needles and nylon fake sinew, but that kit bag I used a wheel punch and the holes were a bit too large me thinks... I've since gotten a TANDY 4 hole punch that makes smaller holes... when I turned it right side out, I could see much of the stitching, perhaps it was the leather, or my choice of hole locations or their size, but it was a bear to turn right side out!

The  KIT destructions never mentioned wetting the leather... That's pretty slick to use the glue... nice tip on the pre-dyeing, too! :)

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 05:45:40 PM »
Turning a bag dry would be tough.  And hard on the seams too.  A single hole awl is pretty easy to use.  Tandy sells the replacement blades ( I think that's what they are) for their handles for about $3.50.  easy to epoxy into your own  homemade handle.
Mike Lee

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2019, 08:34:47 PM »
You speak of things I don't know... Single hole awl?

I have an awl, but it doesn't have any replacement blade...just a tapered steel point... I'll have to check out Tandy's website to see that which you reference....

Offline Monterey

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2019, 10:57:55 PM »
I was just trying to differentiate between a tool that will punch multiple holes at once and an awl for punching one hole at a time. It seems like you already have one.

These are the ones I'm referring to that you can use to set in homemade handles.
https://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/awl-blades
Mike Lee

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Re: Making a bag pattern
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 09:05:24 AM »
I was just trying to differentiate between a tool that will punch multiple holes at once and an awl for punching one hole at a time. It seems like you already have one.

These are the ones I'm referring to that you can use to set in homemade handles.
https://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/awl-blades

I wasn't sure when I looked and using your terms, it didn't come up in their search feature.  I got a non interchangeable one with 4 prongs that make small diamond shape holes when I was over Knoxville way a year ago...

Thanks for clarifying...

If I did that type work more regularly, it'd make more sense to order one out;  I seem to do stuff rather occasionally, when the mood strikes me or a need surfaces