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Crafting at Home With Harriet: IKEA bag

May 06, 2020 - Lucy Fernandez
Crafting at Home With Harriet: IKEA bag
This lockdown-make was inspired by Harriet's daughter who was keen to hack an Ikea bag into something. Crafting at home is brilliant because you can turn something you already own into something way better. IKEA bags are great for this because most people have one tucked away, and it's such an iconic design. The bright blue plastic and the webbing said “new handbag” to me so Harriet has invented this little shoulder bag, based loosely on her current handbag which ticks all the boxes in terms of size and compartments. This make is easily customisable so if you need to drag more stuff around than Harriet does, you can adjust the size to fit everything you need! 

Harriet's written out a step-by-step guide for us below, so let's get cracking...


An Ikea Bag
Seam ripper (optional)
Sewing Machine



Start by unpicking the seams stitched into the Ikea bag and unpick the handle webbing so you are left with all the parts separate. Then you can run a VERY cool iron over the bag to flatten it out if yours, like mine, has been screwed up in the cupboard.  


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



Then take your ruler and a pen and mark out the bag pieces. If you're feeling nervous/a craft beginner you can cut these out of paper first to make a pattern, but I skipped that  and drew straight onto the bag.

Cut out the following shapes, allowing a 1cm seam allowance;
Front panel: 27cm x 14cm
Back panel: 27cm x 14cm
Front pocket: 27cm x 10cm
Bottom Gusset: 10cm x 51cm
Top Gusset x2: 27cm x 6cm

Next, cut the webbing:
Front Pocket: 1 x 27cm - aligning the logo in the centre
Gusset: 2 x 10cm - this is where you’ll attach the handle.
Zip Loop: 1 x 12cm 
Leave the other long strap intact as that will be your bag’s handle.


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



The first thing to stitch is the front pocket. Turn down the long edge 1cm and then run the webbing along the edge, pinning in place. Then sew down both long sides of the webbing to hold in place. Attach this to the front panel of your bag by sewing the three edges that will be in the seams of the bag. You should end up with a pocket that starts 4cm down from the top edge of the panel. Note: My machine was not happy about sewing through the plastic fabric and was pretty loopy underneath. You can help your machine out by  putting stitching paper underneath the fabric which helps to pull the thread through.


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



Next, sew the two smaller gusset pieces to either side of the zip. To do this, turn the long edge of the fabric in 1cm and pin one side in place at a time then sew the zip to the edge. (My mum will hate this bit as I didn’t put the zip foot on the machine! She was a couture dressmaker and is an avid perfectionist still. Sorry, mum.) Repeat on the other side.  I then trimmed it to make sure the finished Top Gusset was the same size as the Bottom Gusset piece.


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



Attach one end of the zip panel to the rest of the gusset, making sure the seam is on the inside.  Attach the handle to that side by measuring down 3cm from the seam and running one of the smaller pieces of the IKEA gusset and tucking the long length underneath it in the centre. Remember to ensure it’s square on the smaller piece and running towards the zip part. Secure by stitching down both edges on the webbing.


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



Repeat on the other side, but on this side when you sew the other end of the gusset to the zip panel, insert the 12cm loop of webbing to the seam so it’s easier to open and close your bag. You should now have a loop of gusset on one side and the handle stitched securely on both sides.


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



Pin the now complete loop gusset to the front panel of your bag. Do this by aligning the two top corners to each side where the zip panel joins the gusset.  Now, pin down both sides and along the bottom - try to make sure your pins go in the direction you will pull them out when it’s on the sewing machine. They should fit pretty snuggly, but if not unpin and adjust.
Repeat this on the other side, so you end up with a pinned together ‘box’.  Make sure that the straps are safely tucked inside and the zip is open just enough so you'll be able to turn it the right way out once your bag is stitched together.


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine



Sew all the way around the outside approximately 1cm from the edge, taking care in the corners. At the corners, I stopped stitching and used the wheel of the sewing machine to make sure the needle was all the way down through the bag.  Next take up the foot and rearrange the bag seam 90 degrees so you’re ready to stitch the next straight bit before you drop the foot and continue to sew. Repeat on both sides. Before you turn the bag out the right way, you can trim off the ends of the cotton and and neaten up any stray edges.  Now turn your bag inside out, paying careful attention to the corners and voila, it’s done


IKEA handbag by Harriet Vine


Matching it to your socks and hair is optional, but highly recommended. Tag Harriet in your makes at @harrietvine on Instagram and use #TattyDevine.
Lucy Dickson