From My Carolina Home

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The Swing Bag – A Scrap Dance Pattern – with a giveaway!

Wouldn’t you love to have a great travel bag for the holidays, or any travel weekend?  This weekender bag is compact yet packs a punch. You won’t believe how much you can fit into it, and still have organization!  It will hold enough clothes and toiletries for a weekend getaway, just Swing it over your shoulder and dance off to the beach or the cabin in the mountains.  The construction isn’t hard, just follow the steps one by one. The great majority is constructed flat, so it is easy to handle. Use up scraps by making a larger piece of fabric and cutting your focus piece from it. Use charm squares, jelly roll strips, layer cake squares, crumbs or orphan blocks, your only limit is your imagination! For ease of understanding, I’ll use a single focus fabric with a light lining and a dark accent, in adorable sewing prints.  Read all the way to the end for a fun hop and a giveaway too!

Materials List

Focus Fabric – either one fabric, or a scrappy one
One Base – 38 inches x 22 inches- scrappy, orphan blocks, jelly roll strips, charm squares, or single fabric
Two Circles – 12 inches in diameter
Four fabric scraps 2 x 2-1/2 inches for zipper tabs

Lining Fabric – (tip – lighter fabric lining makes it easier to see contents)
One Base – 38 inches x 22 inches
Two Circles – 12 inches in diameter

Accent Fabric
Two Circles – 12 inches in diameter
One small pocket – 10 x 16 inches
One long pocket – 16 x 22 inches

Batting scraps –
one 38 x 22 or a bit larger
two 12 inch circles

One 20-inch heavy duty zipper
3 yards nylon webbing – all one piece (or 3+1/4 yards for a longer drop handle)
Optional – 2-1/4 yards of binding (2-1/2 inches wide, folded lengthwise)


Begin by layering the focus fabric base, batting and lining fabric base together in a quilt sandwich and quilt as desired. Repeat with both focus fabric circles making a sandwich of one focus circle, batting and lining circle.

Fold the accent fabric circles in half, wrong sides together, to create a pocket. Align with the bottom edge of the quilted circle on top of the focus fabric. These pockets will end up on the outside of the bag. Baste in place.

Fold the small pocket accent fabric in half, right sides together, to form a rectangle 10 inches x 8 inches. Sew the sides and part of bottom, leaving an opening for turning. Turn, press.  For the long pocket, meet long right sides together and sew across on the 22-inch side to form a tube 8×22 inches. Turn and press.

Lay your base sandwich on a flat surface lining side up and place the pocket units as follows, using the folded edge of pocket units as the top. For the long pocket, place 6 inches down from the short edge of the base, meeting the side edges. Stitch across the bottom only, leaving the top open. Baste the sides to the sandwich, or stitch for a bit more strength. For the small pocket, place on the other end of the base sandwich 4 inches from the edge. Stitch the one side, across the bottom catching the opening for turning, and up the other side. Leave the top open.

Sew the ends of the nylon webbing together with a half inch seam, making sure there are no twists in the length. Finger press the seam open.

Lay the base on a flat surface, focus fabric side up. Lay the webbing on the base, seam in the center of the base, 6-inches in from each side. You’ll have about 5-1/2 to 8-inches overhang for handles (depending on if you made the bag with 3 yards even or 3+1/4 yards as amended for longer handles). Pin in place along the webbing, to ensure that it stays straight. Put two pins in the webbing to mark 4-inches down from each short edge, this is where you will stop sewing, leaving a portion of the handle free on each edge. Begin sewing along one edge of the webbing, when you get to the two pins, sew across the width of the webbing (backstitch and sew again if desired for extra strength), then back down the other edge. Repeat for the other end, and meet your sewing line back where you started. Tie off, repeat for the other side.

Using focus scraps, add tabs to the ends of the zipper. Begin with one end, placing right sides together and stitch across making sure to get close to the zipper teeth, but not over. Align the second piece right sides together, and sew on top of the previously sewn line to ensure your needle doesn’t hit the teeth. Fold fabric away from zipper creating the tab. Repeat for opposite end. Trim to width of zipper.

Pin zipper to one short end of base, right sides together. Sew 1/4-inch seam from edge. Tip, start with the zipper half closed. Sew almost to the pull, stop needle down and lift presser foot, unzip the zipper placing the pull behind the foot where you’ve already sewn. Continue sewing.

Lay the base flat, wrong side up, fold zipper to the wrong side, creating a channel for the edge.  Stitch in the ditch to encase the raw edges.

Bring the right side of the base under the project to meet the other side of the zipper, right sides together. Sew.

Turn right side out, and fold zipper to create channel and stitch in the ditch in the same manner.

Meet the edges of the channels on each end of the zipper and stitch down close to the raw edge.

Open zipper and turn bag inside out. Fold the circle in half to find the midpoint which will be the top point and the bottom point. Lay bag out, and find the midpoint fold of the bag. Match this point with the midpoint of the bottom of the circle including pocket right sides together. Match the center of the zipper with the top edge.

Pin all the way around, easing in if needed. Sew with 1/2-inch seam, going slowly, and readjusting the project as needed to keep the seam under the presser foot flat.

Optional – finish seams with binding as usual, sewing by machine. Turn right side out. Remove pins holding handles.

The long pocket inside is now divided into three smaller sections by the application of the webbing handles.  The smaller pocket is higher up inside to hold lighter easy to lose items.

After the initial bag was done, I showed it to some friends who suggested a few improvements.  So, the pattern has several options for extras in pockets and details.  Purchasing the pdf file on Craftsy for the very low introductory price of just $2 will give you more photos and more detailed instructions.  Click on Swing Bag for the pattern link. The pattern will remain up here through the first of August as part of the Christmas In July Blog Hop hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  In August, the pattern will be taken down from this post and only be available in my Craftsy store at its regular price.  I really appreciate any purchases as that is the way I pay for the costs of the blog, so I can bring more great free patterns, giveaways and projects to readers.  I also invite new readers to follow my blog for a wide variety of subjects, crafting and cooking, sewing and quilting, gardening and photography, mountain living and more.

And have fun with the  Christmas In July blog hop which will have new posts every day for 12 days.

Here are the participant blogs, have fun!!  And read down below for the giveaway!

Friday, July 14th
From My Carolina Home– You are here!


Saturday, July 15th


Sunday, July 16th


Monday, July 17th


Tuesday, July 18th
Wednesday, July 19th 


Thursday, July 20th


Friday, July 21st


Saturday, July 22nd 




And as if great holiday ideas and a tutorial weren’t enough, this year Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict arranged something special!  The lovely folks over at Free Spirit Fabrics have donated not just one item for a giveaway, but THIRTEEN!  And it’s pretty drool-worthy stuff, too – it’s Tula Pink’s new holiday line, Holiday Homies!!!

Sarah has six design rolls, six layer cakes, and one fat quarter bundle to give away – and here’s how she’s going to do it!  Visit each stop on the hop, including this blog, and leave a comment on each post for the day.  At the end of the hop,  Sarah will do a giveaway for each day by putting everyone’s name in the hat who commented that day (from all that day’s hop-blogs), and drawing a winner for that day.  That will be twelve winners – the design rolls and layer cakes.  Then she’ll put all the names from all the days in a hat and draw out a grand prize winner for the fat quarter bundle!  Only one prize per person, though – let’s spread it around a bit!  So carve out a bit of time to visit all the blogs and comment – it makes the time bloggers spend on each post worth it when we see what people think about our work!

So, make a travel bag, visit blogs, comment to enter for hop prizes, do you think that will keep you busy for a weekend?  What else is on your to-do list?  Are you starting on your holiday sewing yet?



Finished or Not Friday