This is a pattern hack of the Sew Sweetness Park West Bag. The modification is to use vinyl for the accents and straps of the bag, add a side-strap, and change up the zipper panel! While this tutorial is free, you’ll need to pick up the Park West Bag pattern in order to complete the rest of the bag.
DEFINITION – Pattern Hack [pat-ern hack]: to modify or write a sewing pattern in a skillful or clever way.
This post is part of an ongoing series from my Pattern Hack Posse, and was written by Crystal. You can find her at The Cloth Albatross.
Hi! I’m Crystal from The Cloth Albatross. Sara has invited me to share a pattern hack for her Park West Bag pattern. If you don’t already have the pattern, you can purchase it here. This bag is nice and roomy (18” W x 13” H x 6” D). The original pattern calls for woven fabric for the accents and handles but I’m going to show you how you can use vinyl on this pattern.
I’ve also added side connectors to the Park West Bag to connect an adjustable shoulder strap. I’ll walk you through making the connectors and where to position them on your bag. For instructions on how to make an adjustable shoulder strap, you can follow Sara’s tutorial here. Your shoulder strap can be completed before or after you construct your bag, as nothing else in the bag’s construction is dependent upon it.
Another small change that I made to the bag is the way the zipper panel is inserted. The original pattern calls for the zipper panel to be sewn to the side of the lining, but I’ve cut the lining panel into 2 pieces so that the zipper panel is sandwiched in between.
You’re welcome to follow one or all of these hacks. I’ll let you know which supplies can be omitted and what extra supplies are needed for each part of the hack.
You may find it easiest to print out the supply and cutting instructions (pg. 1-3) and make notes on them.
In addition to the materials listed, you will need:
- ½ yard vinyl (for vinyl handles, accents and base)
- (2) 1” D-rings or triangle rings (these are for the connectors for the adjustable shoulder strap)
- (2) 1.5” swivel clasps (for adjustable shoulder strap)
- (1) 1.5” slider (for adjustable shoulder strap)
- (8) double-capped 8 mm rivets (for attaching vinyl handles)
*Note that this pattern was written before Pellon introduced Flex Foam, so if you’re using Flex Foam interfacing instead of Annie’s Soft & Stable, you will need double the amount, as it’s half the width.
- In addition to the notions listed in the pattern, you will need:
- Chalk (or other tool for marking vinyl)
- Walking Foot or Teflon foot (for sewing vinyl)
- Leather needle (for sewing vinyl)
- Leather Punch
- Rivet Setter
- FabriTac (or other fabric glue) or Double-Sided Tape (for temporarily holding vinyl pieces)
- WonderClips or office clips
- Do not cut the bottom panel.
- If you’re constructing your zipper panel per the pattern, cut all lining pieces as written. To make a sandwiched zipper panel, cut all pieces per the pattern EXCEPT the (2) lining main panels. Do NOT cut the (2) lining main panels yet.
- Cut the zippered pocket and the zipper tab. Omit all other cuts, as we will be cutting these from vinyl and the measurements will be slightly different.
- If making an adjustable shoulder strap, cut (2) 6” x WOF strips (WOF – width of fabric). You may be able to get away with just (1) 6” x WOF strip, depending on how long you want your strap. The bag is wide, so you’ll need to account for that when deciding how long you want your strap.
Soft and Stable (or foam interfacing)
- Cut all pieces as stated.
- Omit handle Shape Flex.
- If sandwiching your zipper panel, wait to cut the lining main panel Shape Flex.
- Add (1) 6” x 50” (or the length of your adjustable strap)
- (2) 6” x 1.25” side accents
- (1) 18” x 7” bottom panel (we’re omitting the accents on the bottom panel and just doing the entire bottom in vinyl)
- (2) 6” x 20” handles (This handle length is for arm carry. If you would like to shoulder carry with these handles rather than the adjustable shoulder strap, make them at least 27” long.)
- (4) Handle Tabs (using the Handle Tab pattern piece)
Altering Pattern Pieces
- From the vinyl, we still need to cut our main panel accents, and strap connectors. For the lining, we still need to cut our main panel pieces, and Shape Flex. But we need to alter the pattern pieces to do so. For the lining, I didn’t cut until after I was done with my exterior, but if you would like to have your lining precut, skip ahead to “Lining Main Panel”.
Main Panel Accent
Let’s start main panel accent pattern piece. Print 2 copies of the accent pattern piece so that you can tape them together in the center, as it’s difficult to cut vinyl on the fold.
I trimmed ¼” off of the inner edge of the accent pattern piece, as that’s how much is lost to the seam allowance when using woven fabric in this pattern. It’s not essential to trim off the ¼”; if you’d like a wider accent, do not trim your pattern piece. To keep a thin accent, mark ¼” in all around the inner edge of the pattern piece. You will cut (2) vinyl accents with this pattern piece.
To make a side connector piece, we’re using the handle tab pattern piece. We’re going to trim ¼” off of the piece but NOT the top edge. The length of the top of the connector will remain the same; it’s the portion that wraps around the d-ring. You will use this piece to cut (4) side connectors.
To cut your vinyl, turn it right side down so that the woven backing is facing up. Trace your pattern pieces onto the back of the vinyl. I like to lay my pieces next to one another to conserve on vinyl and so that I have to make fewer cuts. I cut all of my vinyl pieces at the same time but if you’ve already cut your handle tabs, you’ll have 8 fewer pieces traced on the back of your vinyl.
You should have (4) side connectors, and (2) main panel accents. (I have my handle tabs laying out in this picture too.)
Prepping the Vinyl
Handle Tabs and Strap Connectors
Let’s prep our vinyl (AKA – bring on the glue). Get all 8 of your Handle tabs and your 4 strap connectors (the handle tabs will go on the front and back panels of your bag and the strap connectors will go on the side panels). We’re going to glue 4 sets of handle tabs wrong sides together (WST) and 2 sets of strap connectors WST. You can use FabriTac or even a glue sick to do this. It’s just to temporarily hold the vinyl in place so that it doesn’t shift when you sew them together.
After your glue has set for a few minutes, look at your connectors to see if any of the edges are uneven. If you see any backing from the bottom piece peeking around the edge of the front, trim it off with sharp scissors.
Get your chalk or leather marking tool and mark a straight line ¼” below the straight edge of the top of the connectors and tabs (see pic). This line is to show you where to stop sewing on each side of the handle connector. We want the portion of the connector around the D-rings and rectangle rings to be sewn but we don’t want to sew around the rest of the connectors and tabs until we’re sewing them onto the bag. So right now we’re just going to sew the top portion of them and stop on each side at the line we have drawn.
Using a longer stitch length (3.5 – 4 mm), stitch your tabs and connectors to the line. Leave your threads long so that you can tie them off.
Main Panel Accents and Side Accents
Get your exterior main panels and main panel accents. We’re going to glue the accents down to the front and back panels. You can use clips here instead of gluing them down. I just find that vinyl has a tendency to shift so I like to glue it down before sewing so that I don’t get any stretching or shifting.
Get your exterior side pocket pieces and side accents. My side accents I just clipped rather than glued since they’re straight across with no curves, but you can glue these if you like.
Topstitch around the inner edge of both main panel accents. Baste the outer edges. Topstitch the bottom edge of the side accents and baste stitch the other 3 edges.
Sewing Handle Tabs and Strap Connectors
First we’re going to need our glue again. We’ll definitely want the FabriTac for this step, as a glue stick won’t have a strong enough hold. Get your handle tabs, strap connectors, rectangle rings, and d-rings. We’re going to slide our hardware onto the tabs and connectors.
Depending on the thickness of your hardware, the connectors and tabs should be folded over ~3/4”. The stitch lines that you made should end ¼” below the hardware on the front side.
Clip the hardware in place and let the FabriTac set for a few minutes. We don’t want to leave the clips on for too long or they will leave permanent indentions in the vinyl. We just want enough hold to make sure that the vinyl doesn’t pull away from itself before we sew it down. Get your side panels. Fold them in half to find the vertical center. Mark 1.5” down from the top edge.
Put some glue in the center of your strap connectors (the ones with the d-rings) and remove the clips. Press the strap connectors down onto your side panels. The top straight edge of the connector should be even with the line that you drew in the previous step.
Get your main panels and your main panel pattern piece. Use your pattern piece to mark your handle tab placement on the front and back panels. Your handle tabs are ¼” wider than the pattern piece shows. This is okay. Just center them where they’re supposed to be, or cut an extra ¼” out around the tab placement guide.
We’re going to glue our handle tabs down the same way that we glued our strap connectors down. Put glue in the center of your tabs and remove your clips. Push them down onto where you’ve marked their placement.
Since the glue has been setting on our side connectors while we placed our handle tabs, we can sew them down. Use your chalk to mark a horizontal line ¼” down from your hardware. Sew straight across that line and then all the way around the handle connector.
Repeat the same method for your handle tabs.
You’ll finish your side pockets per the pattern’s instructions, but when you’re finished, all of your vinyl accents should look something like this:
If you want, you can wait to construct and attach your handles after you’re finished with your bag. I think next time I will do that so that the handles aren’t in my way when I’m turning and topstitching the bag. So if you would like to wait to construct these, skim through the instructions and come back and follow them after your bag is completed.
Get your 2 vinyl handle pieces (6” x 20”). Mark a line down the vertical center.
Now we’re going to fold one half of the vinyl to the center line that we drew. Double-sided tape (DST) works better to hold this in place but I ran out so I used FabriTac. Some people also have trouble with DST gunking up their needle, so use whichever you prefer. If you’re using glue, you’ll need to clip the edges down for a few minutes while it sets.
Repeat to fold the other edge in.
After the glue sets for a few minutes, we’re going to fold our vinyl together at the center and clip it together. The only raw edges you should have are at the ends.
Using a longer stitch length, stich around all 4 sides of your vinyl handle. Your raw ends will likely be a bit uneven. Trim with sharp scissors to make them even with the stitch line.
Most home machines are not made to stitch through all the layers and thickness that are in double-fold vinyl handles, so we’re going to secure them to our bag with rivets. Rivet placement is somewhat dependent upon the thickness of the vinyl that you’re using, so use these measurements as an estimate to temporarily mark placement and make sure you’re happy with them. Adjust as necessary.
You will need a leather punch or something to make holes in your vinyl before placing the rivets. You can get a small punch that you need to use a hammer with or a revolving leather punch that works like a hole punch.
I marked my hole placement just inside my stitch line on each side (1/4” in). This will depend on your seam allowance because you don’t want to punch through your stitching and risk having your stitches pop out. So use these measurements as approximations. Mark (2) holes 3/8” in from the short end of your strap and ¼” in from the edges. Mark another (2) holes 2 1/8” in from the short end of your strap and ¼” in from the edges. Fold your strap around your rectangle ring and check your placement marks. If you’re happy with the positioning, punch the holes.
After you’ve punched your holes, we’ll put our rivets in. Your rivet’s post should be just visible out the top layers of your handle. You don’t want too long of a post because it will bend when you go to set it and not set properly.
Your rivet setter will have a small metal disk and a post. The post will have a concave end and a flat end. Make sure the concave end is against the rivet cap when you’re setting it. The concave end prevents the cap from getting smashed when you hammer it in.
Before you hammer your rivet, make sure your cap clicks into place on your post. Set the backside of your rivet against the concave side of the disk and place the concave end of the setter on the front cap of the rivet. You will be hammering the flat end of the post. Hammer until the rivet sounds solid. Repeat for all 8 rivets.
Shaping Bag Exterior
Because of the thickness of the vinyl near the seams, your bag’s front and back panels will want to pull towards the side panels. To shape the vinyl, you’ll want to clip it overnight but you won’t want to leave indentations in the vinyl, so we’ll clip it from the inside. If you used a wider accent than me, you might not have as big of an issue as I did, since the vinyl will be further away from the seam allowance. Anyway, this is what I did to train my vinyl to lay flat. With your bag’s completed exterior turned wrong side out, clip the seam allowances open all around the sides.
While the exterior of the bag is taking shape, we can construct our lining.
Lining Main Panel
To alter our pattern piece to make a sandwich zipper panel, we need upper and lower lining panels. We’ll need to cut up our pattern piece to do this. So we’ll be cutting our bottom lining piece before we cut the pattern piece for our top lining piece.
Get your main panel pattern piece. Mark a horizontal line that is 1.5” down from the top edge of the pattern piece.
This is where your zipper panel will be sandwiched BUT we need to account for the seam allowance on both the upper and lower portions of the lining. To simplify it a bit, I am using a ¼” seam allowance, that way we don’t need to change any of the cutting measurements for the zippered panel. Mark ¼” line above and below the line that you just marked. You may find it helpful to use a different color for each line.
The lining bottom will be the TOP line. Fold the pattern piece at the lining bottom line.
Using the lining bottom piece, cut 2 lining pieces and 2 Shape Flex pieces. After the lining bottom and interfacing is cut, you will need to cut the top lining piece off of the pattern piece, since you won’t be able to fold the bottom out of the way. The top lining piece is the BOTTOM line.
Cut 2 top lining pieces and 2 Shape Flex. I used exterior fabric for the top of my lining.
Fuse your Shape Flex to your top and bottom lining pieces.
Turn to page 11 of the Park West pattern. You will follow the instructions to construct the zippered pocket and since Sara has used measurements from the bottom of the lining panel, this will not affect the placement of your lining zippered pocket. However, on pg 12, your zippered pocket won’t be as far from the top edge. This is okay because we still have to attach the top of our lining.
On page 13, you will begin following instructions to construct your zipper panel. The only thing that you will not do is in step 45 (pg 14), do NOT turn the long edge of your zipper panel under by ¼”. The long edges opposite the zipper will be left raw. These are the edges that are going to be sandwiched between our top and bottom lining panels.
Construct the zipper tab as instructed.
At page 16, this is where we will diverge from the pattern. Get your completed zipper panel, and top and bottom lining panels. Mark their centers.
Align the straight bottom edge of the top lining panel with the raw straight edge of the zipper panel. Place them right sides together (RST) and baste together with an 1/8” seam allowance.
Get your bottom lining panel and align the raw zipper panel edge with its top straight edge. The bottom of the zipper panel should be RST with the lining panel.
Sew all layers together with a ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance towards the top lining panel and topstitch.
Repeat for the other side of the lining.
Here is what the zipper panel and lining looks like from the other side:
To finish your bag, begin following the pattern again on page 16 at step 55.
I hope that you’ve found this pattern hack helpful! And thank you for having me Sara. If you post on Instagram, be sure to tag your finished #parkwestbag.