Karen Bag

Karen’s bag for exercise class

I made this bag in December 2015 from brocade or tapestry fabric because I needed a smallish, strong bag that could safely hold a full bottle of water plus hand weights for an exercise class.  The fabric was a remnant that I bought for $5 at a crafts bazaar.  The lining (not shown) was from a Japanese silk brocade panel that I found in the bottom of my mother’s sewing cabinet.  It must have sat in that cabinet for over 40 years.  It might have been a panel that’s normally used for an obi — a decorative and functional outer belt to hold kimonos closed — although the fabric felt a little more flexible than some obi fabrics that I’ve felt.

The bag is approximately 12″ x 11″ x 5″ with a band or rim stitched to the upper edge into which the handles were sewn.  The lining begins where the rim was stitched to the bag.  I like this construction because you can’t easily see the lining this way.  I adapted a pattern I found on the web at the Pink Penguin blog (http://ayumills.blogspot.com/2010/08/tutorial-lunch-bag.html).  The adaptations I made were to enlarge it and eliminate the drawstring cover.  The really interesting thing about this pattern is that the 5″ depth is created by stitching two rectangles together, folding the stitched corners so that points form, and then stitching across the folded corners.  Quick and easy and strong to hold all the weight!