When neon reemerged a few years ago, we all assumed it was just a brief flashback to the big-hair days of the 1980s. But since then, neon has shed its irony, and even its nostalgia, to take its rightful place at the palette table. Paired with neutral tones and in small doses, neon is way beyond Flock of Seagulls at this point. Bold and beautiful, neon is here to stay, so join the fun!
Our Neon Inside Out Bag lays bare the hidden details of a conventional tote, exposing crisp seams and jumbo pockets for a super smart finish. Michael Miller’s new eye-popping Neon fabrics and bias tapes outline the details with just enough intensity to put a spring in your step, while Globalweave’s very sturdy Tight Weave Linen in an incisive white sets the stage for all this color drama! (A helpful hint: To avoid bleeding and color transfer, launder your unfolded Neon Solids fabric separately before you combine it with light colors.)
We designed this tote for the real everyday world of commutes, babies, classes, meetings and all the other mayhem that is modern life. Each outside compartment is designed to organize all the things that normally get lost at the bottom of your bag, like your keys and cell phone, your measuring tape and crochet hook. And the bag itself is just the right size for transporting your current craft project, plus the book you’re reading, the cardigan you need for your air-conditioned office, and even the ingredients you picked up for dinner!
Starting to feel the need for some neon? Get started right here! And to stock up on some shocking sewing staples, also check out Purl Soho’s fabulous new neon collection of trims and ribbons!
For each 14-inch wide by 16-inches tall bag you will need:
- Bag Fabric: 1/2 yard of Globalweave’s Tight Weave Linen
- Neon Pocket Fabric (second and fifth bags from the left, shown above): 1/2 yard of Michael Miller’s Neon Solids in pink or yellow.
- White Pocket Fabric (first, third, and fourth bags from the left, shown above): the remainder of the Bag Fabric, Globalweave’s Tight Weave Linen
- Solid Neon Trim (second, third, forth, and fifth bags from the left, shown above): 3 yards of Purl Soho’s Neon Bias Tape in pink or yellow.
- Polka Dot Trim (first bag on the left, shown above): ¼ yard of Michael Miller’s Neon Dot fabric and a 25mm bias tape maker to make 3 yards of your own bias tape. (Make the tape according to the bias tape maker’s instructions before you proceed with the pattern.)
- Handles: 2 yards of Sangle Cotton Webbing in White.
- Bag Thread: 100% Cotton Thread in color 1006.
- Bias Thread for Solid Neon Trim: Mettler Neon Thread in Chrysanthemum (pink) or Sour Apple (yellow) to match the bias tape. (If you are using the polka dot fabric to make bias tape, your Bias Thread will be the same as your Bag Thread.)
Cut two 21-inch lengths from the webbing. These are the Handle Pieces.
From the Bag Fabric:
- Cut a 14-inch by 34-inch rectangle. This is the Bag Panel.
From the Pocket Fabric:
- Cut a 14-inch by 20-inch rectangle. This is the Pocket Panel.
The Bag Panel looks the same on both sides, but we will be referring to a right side and a wrong side. To avoid confusion you might want to pick a side to be the wrong side and make a mark on it with a removable fabric marker.
On the wrong side of the Bag Panel, along one of the 14-inch sides, pin the raw ends of one of the Handle Pieces 3 ½ inches from each corner. The handle should be lying on top of the Bag Panel as shown in the picture above. Make sure the webbing isn’t twisted.
With the wrong side of the Bag Panel still facing up, pin the other Handle Piece to the opposite 14-inch side of the Bag Panel in the same manner. Again, make sure the webbing is not twisted and that the handle lies on the Bag Panel.
Using the Bag Thread, sew the Handles Pieces on with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Cut two 14-inch lengths of bias tape. Maintaining the handles’ position on the wrong side of the Bag Panels, pin the bias tapes over the 14-inch raw edges of the Bag Panel, including the raw ends of the Handle Pieces. Edge stitch the bias tape on using the Bias Thread, making sure to catch both sides of the tape as you sew.
Fold over and pin these finished sides 1 inch with the right sides together. The handles should now be flipped off the bag. Using the Bag Thread sew the fold and handles down ¼ inch from the top edge and then again directly above the bias tape. Do this on both ends of the Bag Panel.
Cut two 14-inch lengths of bias tape and pin them along both 14-inch edges of the Pocket Panel. Edge stitch it on using the Bias Thread. Make sure to catch both sides of the tape.
Press the Pocket Panel wrong sides together so that one side is 8 inches and the other side is 12 inches, making a clear crease at the bottom fold.
Press the Bag Panel in half wrong sides together so the top finished edges match up perfectly and there is a clear crease at the bottom fold.
With both pieces facing right side up, pin the Pocket Panel to the Bag Panel along their bottom fold creases, making sure to line up their side edges as well.
Using whichever thread matches the pocket, sew the pieces together along this pinned bottom fold. Now one side of the bag will have a 12-inch pocket and the other side will have an 8-inch pocket.
Use a hera marker or an erasable fabric marker to mark a line down the center of the right side of the 8-inch pocket (7 inches from each raw edge). Pin this side of the Pocket Panel just to the top layer of the Bag Panel along this mark.
Using the thread that matches the pocket, sew the Pocket Panel to the top layer of the Bag Panel along this marked line. Sew a few stitches past the edge of the Pocket Panel to secure it well.
Press and pin the bag together along the left and right sides. Make sure to pin through all of the bags layers, including the Pocket Panel.
Using the Bag Thread, sew the pinned sides together with a scant 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Note: Stitching the bias tape onto the sides of the bag is the most challenging part of this bag. If you are a confident bias tape sewer, you can go ahead and just sew it on as you normally would. Otherwise, the method detailed below will make it a little easier.
Cut a 17-inch length of the bias tape. Open one side of the tape and pin the open edge to one of the raw side edges of the bag, leaving a 1/2-inch tail of bias tape at the top and bottom of this edge.
Using the Bias Thread, sew the tape along this edge with a scant 1/4-inch seam allowance. Make sure you are sewing through all of the bag’s layers as you go, including the Pocket Panel.
Flip the bag over and pull the folded edge of the bias tape around the raw edge of the bag, thus encasing the raw edge. Pin the tape down, making sure the folded edge covers the stitches from the previous seam.
When you get to the top and bottom tails of bias tape, fold the ends inside before pinning the tape down in order to hide the raw ends.
Using the Bias Thread, edge stitch the bias tape on, making sure you catch both sides of the tape as you go.
Sew the bias tape to the opposite side of the bag in the same manner and… you don’t even have to turn it inside out, you’re all done!