Diane Close
United States
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So many people have been emailing me asking how I made this bag:



that I thought I'd give a little sewing tutorial right here on the geek!

First you need to select a fashion fabric for the outside of the bag, and a lining fabric for the inside. Cut two pieces of your outside fabric 11.25 inches long and 10 inches wide. Cut two pieces of your lining 10 inches long and 10 inches wide:



Next, lay your outside fabric fashion-face to fashion-face, so that the wrong sides of the fabric are showing on both sides, and sew a 0.25 inch seam along the bottom edge (one of the 10" wide sides):



It's not necessary, but I like to serge my seams to further strengthen them and prevent unravelling. If you don't have a serger, then a plain sewing seam is just fine! All these seams will eventually be hidden and will not have much wear over the bag's lifetime anyway.

Now, open up your seamed fashion fabric and press open the seam you just sewed:



Here's a close-up of a partially pressed seam:



Next, lay your lining face down on top of your face-up fashion fabric, so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other, and the wrong sides of the fabric show on either side of the "sandwich".



Pin and sew a 0.25 inch seam, sewing your lining fabric to your fashion fabric, on each end. Then open up your fabric and press these seams towards the lining fabric. (I take an extra step and serge all the remaining raw edges, but this is not necessary.) Your bag should look something like this now:



Now fold the bag in half, matching the lining pieces together, making sure the right sides of the fabric are together. Line everything up nicely and mark a 0.75 inch gap for the casing, starting 0.75 inches down from the fashion fabric-lining seam:



Sew all around the bag, using a 0.25 inch seam, remembering to leave the gap unsewn. Also, and this is important, leave about 2 inches of the lining bottom seam unsewn too. This is what you will use to turn your bag right side out:



Here's a close-up showing that unsewn area at the bottom of your bag:



Now, turn your bag right side out, through the hole you left at the bottom. Use an ordinary chopstick to poke the corners so they come out nice and square. Lightly press your bag to flatten and it should look like this:



Now stitch very close to the edge of the bottom lining, all the way across, to seal that turning-hole!



Push the bottom lining inside the fashion fabric, and push it down until you reach the bottom of the bag. You'll notice that about an inch of the fashion fabric automatically turns inside too:



The chopstick shows where you left the gap for the drawstring. But before you add the drawstring, you need to make a seam to hold the drawstring in place. I like to turn my bag inside out for this step, but it's not necessary to do so. You can sew this seam carefully from either side. Just sew in a circle, all the way around the bag, close to the lining seam:



Now your bag is almost finished! You just need to add a drawstring. You have lots of choices here, ribbon, bias cut fabric, rope, etc. Be creative!



Ta dah! Finished! The final bag should look like this:



I purchased the fashion fabric from Hancock Fabrics. It is identified as Hi Fashion Fabrics, Inc., Patt#HF-CM9656 on the selvedge. I'm using dress satin for the lining.



Feel free to use this tutorial to make similar bags for personal use, for yourself and as gifts for your friends. I'd prefer not to see a commercial venture made from my contribution, so if you want to sell your bags I'd much rather you develop your own ideas, methods, measurements, etc. Others here have certainly developed and sold bags before and after me, and all of them had unique things to offer. I love the variety and the creativity out there! thumbsup

2013 edit: If you're selling stuff, please do so in the Marketplace forums, not on this thread. Thanks!
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David Kahnt
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
umm... Diane? if we know someone who doesn't sew.. or have a machine... is there a way of doing this without sewing? A type of glue perhaps that you can recommend?

-DK
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Diane Close
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
DKahnt wrote:
umm... Diane? if we know someone who doesn't sew.. or have a machine... is there a way of doing this without sewing? A type of glue perhaps that you can recommend?-DK


Sorry, but a lined bag with a drawstring simply won't stand up to regular use if you try to do this with glue. It's possible to glue together a light-use felt bag, or even use special craft fusible strips on a light-use unlined cotton fabric. But to hold the weight of tiles plus a lining, and take a lot of use, requires the use of stitches, either by hand or by machine.

The type of stitching used to make this bag, basic straight stitching, is easy to do. You could even do it by hand, though it would take you a while. A sewing machine is first and foremost a machine, so don't be afraid to give it a try.

Trivia: Amazingly, the basic mechanics haven't changed much, if at all, since sewing machines were invented in the 1700's. I have one from 1902, and other than lacking electricity, it works exactly the same as my modern machine -- even being able to use modern attachments on it!
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David Kahnt
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
thanks!

on a side note, talk about a niche market...

-DK
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JessA
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Awesome tutorial! Thank you so much!

I have to agree with Diane's assessment on gluing the bag. I think you could hand sew this, if you wanted to make one bad enough. It would take awhile, but the nice thing about a lined bag is that your stitches would be hidden, so if they aren't tiny, even and pretty, it wouldn't matter.
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Cynthia Landon
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
I love it. How long does it take for you to make each bag? Thanks for sharing your steps. I might borrow my mom's machine and give it a try. They look so great!
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Diane Close
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
cynthialandon wrote:
I love it. How long does it take for you to make each bag?


Thanks! And thanks also to you and Jatoha for the tips too!

It took about two hours to read directions, lay out, carefully measure, modify/customize and assemble the first bag. Now I can do them in about 20-30 minutes! I don't think I'll be able to get much faster than that though.
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Dan Poole
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Cool!!! That is a beautiful bag, certainly a lot better than the default boring Ra bag. At the risk of sounding sexist, this is beyond the scope of a lot of guys here (myself definitely included), since this project doesn't involve card sleeves, terrain construction or painting robots.
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Hertzog van Heerden
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
wow thanks a lot for posting :-)

can't wait to get started...
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E.R. Burgess
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Hertzog wrote:
wow thanks a lot for posting :-)

can't wait to get started...


Ditto...er...can't wait for my dear wife to get started...

...Sheylon
www.boardgamebabylon.com
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Diane Close
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Wow, I've been getting a lot of email showing everyone's fantastic creative efforts -- congratulations to you all! As some have mentioned, the RA bag is a large tile bag, bigger than most games need, but the perfect size for RA.

If you want to create a smaller bag for your other games that have tiles, then here's a smaller size that works well: Cut your outer fashion fabric 10.25 inches long by 9 inches wide, and cut your lining 9 inches long and 9 inches wide. The rest of the instructions in this tutorial can be followed identically for making this smaller bag; there's no need to change anything else!

Happy game bag sewing everyone! laugh
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Mark Slater
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
A Friend of mine is making a bag for my Zooloretto.

She found some nice materials for it on http://www.thetabbycat.co.uk/catalog/default.php?cPath=196

Also, a nice Ra! bag fabric http://www.thetabbycat.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=...

Reef Encounter bag fabric
http://www.thetabbycat.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=...

She will be modifying her technique with your method. I`ll post a pic when it is done (waiting for the material to arrive)
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RIK FONTANA
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Excellent Di. Thanks much.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
After seeing my GF and her mother make two of these bags, I've come to some sort of realisation about them. Because of their 'flat' design, they should not be made too small. This Ra-bag will be about 9,5 in wide, and unless I miscalculated, just over 10 in high, but if you have big hands, this might actually be too small, and provide an uncomfortable and constrained feeling when taking tiles from the bag. (Although, admittedly, an extra inch or 2 already should probably solve the problem for my coal shovels.)

I used to keep my Ra-tiles in a bag with a flat bottom, and despite the fact that the current bag looks better, I actually prefer the old one for rummaging around in. Because its shape is already a cylinder, it will not deform when you put your hand into it; unlike these flat bags, where the fabric will do all sorts of weird things to accomodate both hand and contents. The flat bottomed-bag can thus also be made smaller. Making a lined bag with a flat bottom where all the seams have been hidden as well as they have been as in this specimen is a lot harder though, and I still haven't figured out a way to assemble all the cloth pieces without an ugly final pinch-seam remaining visible. Perhaps it cannot even be done with a machine---that would be a major bummer as I cannot envisage people doing this by hand for fun .

Either way, pay attention if you have large hands meeple.
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Diane Close
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
cymric wrote:
Making a lined bag with a flat bottom where all the seams have been hidden as well as they have been as in this specimen is a lot harder though, and I still haven't figured out a way to assemble all the cloth pieces without an ugly final pinch-seam remaining visible.


I think you'll find a good solution here. That style of bag is a lot fussier to make by machine, but it can be done, fully lined, with all seams hidden. You have to measure and sew really carefully though, so everything lines up properly in the end.
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Hmmm... Interesting. Looks like I'm not a total idiot when it comes to this sort of thing; I was already pondering moving away from a cylinder to a square. The problem now is to convince my GF to attempt this design---I don't think I will be very succesful, though.

Thanks for pointing out the link; it hadn't occurred to me at all that someone might already have solved the solution and posted a tutorial about it on-line .
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Mark Campo
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
ah sowing expert can i ask slightly off topic, but bag themed still..

is it possible to make a bag, pouch, out of a banddanna? that will open out flat,i.e make a board, but when i fisnish i can pull 1 or 2 draw strings and make the board a pouch to hold a few parts?

dont think lineing will matter...?
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Diane Close
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
Milarky wrote:
is it possible to make a bag, pouch, out of a banddanna? that will open out flat,i.e make a board, but when i fisnish i can pull 1 or 2 draw strings and make the board a pouch to hold a few parts?


Depending on the look you want, that should be pretty easy to achieve. If you use velcro to close the sides, you can easily open the bandana out flat again. A commercial example of this can be found here. Also, here's how to do this same type of bag using separating zippers. Be sure to check out the folding/marking diagram too, as that really gives you an idea of what's going on with this project.

Or consider this version that packs into its own pocket.

Otherwise, consider using grommets and doing something like this round version.

I hope these links give you some useful ideas.
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Robert Schultz
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
My wife picked up a bag that unfolds to become a towel. It's used for trips to the pool or beach. Perfect for carrying stuff and then opened for use in drying off after a swim. I don't see why the same thing couldn't similarly be used for holding game bits and, when opened, also serve as the gameboard. Now, I couldn't tell you where she found this thing or where to begin looking, or even give you a detailed description of how exactly it is constructed (to me, it's like magic). Just wanted to let you know it's out there and definitely possible.
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Will
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Re: RA bag creation tutorial
pdclose wrote:
DKahnt wrote:
umm... Diane? if we know someone who doesn't sew.. or have a machine... is there a way of doing this without sewing? A type of glue perhaps that you can recommend?-DK


The type of stitching used to make this bag, basic straight stitching, is easy to do. You could even do it by hand, though it would take you a while. A sewing machine is first and foremost a machine, so don't be afraid to give it a try.

I want to second this. I'm somewhat of a sewing machine n00b, its my sister and my mom that are good at sewing. But once you try its really pretty easy. If you stick with normal straight stitching , the machine does most of the work for you, and the little feet under the needle move the fabric for you, so really you just have to push the pedal (not too hard, don't press too hard, otherwise it goes too fast ), keep the fabric reasonbly straight as it sucks it in, and let go of the pedal as it finishes.

Diane, your bag looks fantastic, makes me want to go and make one
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Paul
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robdnose wrote:
My wife picked up a bag that unfolds to become a towel. It's used for trips to the pool or beach. Perfect for carrying stuff and then opened for use in drying off after a swim. I don't see why the same thing couldn't similarly be used for holding game bits and, when opened, also serve as the gameboard. Now, I couldn't tell you where she found this thing or where to begin looking, or even give you a detailed description of how exactly it is constructed (to me, it's like magic). Just wanted to let you know it's out there and definitely possible.


I imagine you could print the board on an iron-on-transfer to apply to an appropriately colored piece of cloth.

Come to think of it, that might be a good way to get game-themed fabric -- make your own. Anyone know how much iron-on images resist wear and washings?
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Celina
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My experience with iron-ons is that they crack & peel pretty fast if they are folded, washed, etc. We do a lot of t-shirts in this family, they tend to last about a summer or 2.
This place
http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome
will print fabric to order. This is the easiest option for fabric that feels like fabric. The colors are fast (don't run).
It is also possible to print on fabric using your printer. You can buy the fabric already prepped or you can iron it on to freezer paper yourself after soaking it in bubble jet set. It is a bit of a pain to do it yourself, but I was happy with the results. Not all the colors are fast (some ran a bit for me), and I am using a canon pixima printer. Here's the link for the prepped fabric or the chemicals to do it yourself.
http://www.cjenkinscompany.com/
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Chris D'Andrea
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Wow thanks now if I can only get my wife to get the Sewing Machine out of the garage I would be in business (figuratively). is well deserved.
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Jeff Corrie
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Time to train up to apprentice in tailoring, sigh.
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Andrew Pidcock
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DKahnt wrote:
umm... Diane? if we know someone who doesn't sew.. or have a machine... is there a way of doing this without sewing? A type of glue perhaps that you can recommend?

-DK


Hot glue is an excellent substitute for sewing =) Hot glue binds fabric to fabric extremely well, and while the stiffness might be unpleasant in a soft fabric garment, it's fine for a bag

Hot glue works best on porous or textured surfaces (wood is another good one) or anything thermal-reactive that will melt slightly (a low temp thermal plastic) and worst on anything smooth or non-porous, eg., don't bother trying to hot glue smooth metal, after the glue completely cools and grows slightly stiff (say in a week) it pops off clean
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