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Friday, 20 April 2012

Olympic Countdown - 14 weeks to go - Union Flag Shopper

This week saw us pass the 100 days to go until London 2012! Its getting closer! This week I will be sharing the Union Flag shopper although I did not take all the photos for a comprehensive tutorial for it when I made it but I will do the best I can do explain the steps!

I will not be publishing the pattern I used for the Union Flag here as I bought it and it is therefore copyright, however, I would recommend the really easy pattern I used. It is from Goose Chase Quilting if you are ever in Cheltenham! I love this shop - it is so small on the inside but full to the brim with gorgeous quilting fabrics!

If you cannot get hold of this pattern there are patterns for Union Flags on the web, so use one of those to make a square Union Flag (measurements for this tutorial are based on a 15 x 15" square).

The bag is designed with the Olympics in mind... a zip across the top is a measure against pick pockets, as is the inside zip pocket! The handles are strong enough to carry water, tickets, purse etc etc! and they are low enough that one can wear the bag on the shoulder even over a coat (because this is England so you never know, we could have sun or rain!)

1  15" x 15" Union Flag
13 1/2" x 15"  + 12" x 28" + 1" x 6" blue fabric
13 1/2" x 30" lining fabric
1 x 14" zip
Materials for inside zip pocket


1. Cut your Union Flag square down to a rectangle measuring 13 1/2 " x 15"

2. Cut a rectangle 13 1/2" x 15" out of blue fabric for your back - I used reverse applique here to add the words 'London 2012' - this tutorial on Sweet Verbena is very useful for explaining this technique. The only change I made was to to stitch all around the letters as this bag does not use knit so if you don't stitch, it will fray!

3. Cut two rectangles 13.5 x  15" out of your lining fabric - I used Sew Mama Sew's tutorial on how to sew an inside pocket to add one to one of my lining pieces - I will be posting a tutorial for this next month!

4. Cut 2 small strips of fabric 1"x3" - press in half and open up. Fold edges into middle fold and press as shown in picture Repeat on second strip to create zip tabs.

5. Trim you zip so it measures 13 1/2 ".... Sandwich the end of the zip in a zip tab and sew

6. Cut two strips 6" wide by 2 x the desired length of you handle (I did mine 6 x 28 " and my handles are fairly long). Press in half long edge to long edge, open out. Bring long edges into fold and press. Fold this over so all raw edges are concealed. Sew down each long side. Repeat with second strip to make handles.
( I find this a much easier handle technique than turning a long tube inside out!)

7. Lay a lining piece face up on your work surface, next lay your zip face up, aligning the edge with the top of your lining. Lay your handles in position and pin in place (2 3/4" from the centre of the zip). Finally lay your blue outside piece face down on top of the zip. Pin and sew straight across using zipper foot on your sewing machine

8. Open out so zip is exposed

9. Lay second lining piece face up on work surface. Next lay zip, unsewn edge to the top of the lining and Lay your handles in position and pin in place (2 3/4" from the centre of the zip  ). Finally, place second outer piece face down on top. Use zipper foot and sew across the top.

10. Open out and pin two lining pieces together and two outer pieces together as in the picture - make sure zip is at least half open

11. Starting 2/3 of the way across the bottom lining seam start to sew around the whole bag (you will sew up the side of the lining and then down the side of the outer and round until all edges are sewn except 4 inches on the bottom of the lining. When you are sewing over the zip tabs, make sure you push them down towards the lining (you will need a decent needle to sew over this bit as it is very thick)

12. Turn bag right way out from the gap you left in the lining seam

13. Whip stitch up the gap.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

Have a great weekend

Love Rebecca

Linking to...
Six Sisters
Family Ever After
Naptime Crafters 
The Grant Life  
Sew Much Ado
Rae Gun Ramblings 
A Creative Princess 
Positively Splendid 


  1. Awesome tutorial, this reminds me that I've got a Union Jack scarf waiting to become at least a pillow case... Thank you for visiting my spring trees printable :)

  2. This is fantastic! What a great project. And well done on being the only other person (seemingly) in the world to correctly call it a Union Flag rather than a Union Jack.

  3. Of course I love this! Anything British and with the Union Jack on it. :-) Nice job!

  4. That is so cute, and I love the unexpected interior fabric! Love it!


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