Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Retro Metro Bag

The Retro Metro Bag Tutorial

My very own 31 bag

Supplies Needed:
1 yard canvas fabric
1 coordinating 7” zipper
2 yards ½” twill
2 yards 1” twill
1.5 yards cording
Sheer willpower to figure out my directions and basic sewing knowledge

Step one:  Cut it up!!
Cut out an oval-Mine is 27” across. To make it a perfect oval I used the main basket on my steamer!
Cut out two rectangular pieces  19”x13” (main body of bag)
Cut 2 pieces 3.5”x20. This will be the top edge of your bag that you will fill with cording.
Cut 2 pieces 3x33”. These will become your straps.
Cut 2 pieces 5” x 7.25”. These will become your outer side pockets.
Cut 2 pieces 9”x 8”. These will be your interior zipper pocket.
Cut 2 pieces 3.5”x8”. These will be your pockets attached to the zipper pocket. 

I was cutting as I went because I made up my pattern as I was doing it so no printable PDF of pattern but hey it’s a free tutorial :)

Step two:
I opted to start with something easy : The oval base.
Using WS together serge the edges.

Ta-Da! That wasn’t so hard now was it?
Step three:
Serge your main bag pieces top and bottom then serge the sides together.

I bought a serger a lot for this project!  I have to say I love my Brother 1034-D and would buy another in a heartbeat if it broke.  It is not necessary for this project but it does make things infinitely easier.
Step four: Side pockets
Serge the edges of your side pockets. Fold in the sides and stitch. Fold down the top edge and stitch down.

Fold the pocket in half and center on the side seams of the bag body.

 Unfold and pin in place.  I stitched ¼” from the edge and the very edge of the pocket. I stitched twice just for extra stability and strength. Baste stitch the bottom of the pocket to the main body of the bag.

Step five: Inner pocket(s)

Cut off 2” off the top of your 9” side of the 9x8 so you have one 7x8 and one 2x8. Serge the edges. This is where you will add your zipper in the normal fashion.


Take your 3.5 x 8 inch pieces and serge the edges. Turn down the top 8” edge and stitch down to create your hem. No need to fold the side seams and stitch in.

  Layer your inner pockets and stitch down the center so your lower one creates two credit card slots.  Hem the serged lower edge of the credit card slot/pocket.


**As a side note when serging my edges I NEVER take it off and restart; I leave a little tail and make just enough to turn the piece and start the next side. I took pictures of this to  show what I mean…Well at least I hope they are helpful!

Attach the credit card pocket/slot bit to the zippered pocket front. I didn’t measure this exactly-I baste stitched it a finger width below the zipper at the credit slips side seams and double stitched the lower edge.
 With RS together of your pocket serge the edges. Turn pocket and iron flat.


After adding the zipper of course the back piece of the pocket is a tad longer-I just let the serger cut that little pit off to make it even.

Step six: Attaching the inner pocket
Fold the bag panel in half to find the center as well as folding the pocket to find the center. Again with the no measuring. I just picked where I wanted the pocket and pinned it in and double stitched the edges.

Step seven: Making and attaching piping

Take your two 3”x 23” pieces and stitch together at the very edge and ¼” in from that line.

 Center your piping in the long strip and using your zipper foot stitch it in close to the cording. 

I never did this before and it was SOOOO easy-DO NOT be intimidated!!

In one step I folded down the top edge of the bag and stitched the piping on.  With pinning it really isn’t that hard.

In this step I switched back to the regular foot just because. I could have used the zipper foot again though.

Step eight: Make pleats
On either side of the bags side seam I made small pleats that included the side pockets and baste stitched down. I made my pleats going toward the side seam. I also made small pleats on the front and back of the bag, two on each side. I did not do these ones until I started pinning the oval base of the bag to the main body of the bag. The size of your oval will determine if you need these and how big they will need to be. 

Step nine:
Attach the base to the body of the bag.

Step ten: Make your straps!


With RS together fold in half and serge. Turn your straps and iron flat with seam in the center.
Center your 1” twill to the strap and pin in place. Stitch down.

In my pictures you will see that the twill is not as long as my strap! I not once but twice switched the top edge of my bag piece and the strap pieces-Even after I wrote on the pieces.
 It’s a danger when sewing late at night!! 

 I attached the straps with about 3 inches going into the bag and double stitched it in right at the top edge just below the piping and again at the bottom edge. I chose to attach it just outside the corner of the inner pocket and did the other side to match.

Step eleven: A little something
Take your ½” twill and attach to the top edge (outside) of the bag. This part is not true to the original bag but I felt like the bag needed just a little something more.

Step twelve:


  1. Great tutorial Susun & welcome to Blog Land!!! hehe!
    Consider me your first follower ;-)
    Thanks for following Cass Can Sew x

  2. YAY!!! My first follower. I don't know if I've ever been so excited! Ha

  3. Great tutorial! Made one today and it turned out great!

    1. Awesome!! I'm so excited and happy that you like it.
      You never quite know if it is helpful or easy to follow until someone tells you. I appreciate the comment and would LOVE to see a picture!!

  4. Piping makes such a difference and I love how you've added it to the top of the bag...

  5. I was planning on making this bag. I was trying to figure out the size of the oval in the bottom of the bag when I came across your blog. I am making it! Thanks for doing the hard work for me.

    1. I'm glad I could be a help! Please share with me your complete project, I would love to see it:)

  6. Made one today. Easy to follow for a beginner such as myself. Thank you