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Curved bag flap tutorial

How to sew a curved bag flap 

When you are sewing a bag the easy option is to go for a boxy style, rectangles and squares being sewn together which results in a bag like our petite cross body bag or triangle travel tote.

However, you may prefer to get some curved edges into your bag to give it a softer look.  One of the most common places you see this is in a bag flap, as per our messenger bag project shown below or our clutch bag project. Because the flap only attaches to the body of the bag in one place, you can keep that straight for an easy seam and then make the rest of the flap curved.

 

How to sew a curved bag flap 

The simplest way to get the perfect curved corners for your bag flap is using something you can find in every household, a plate! That’s right you don’t need any fancy rulers or templates. If you want a small curve use a side plate, for a larger gentler curve use a dinner plate.  If you want a small curve (as in our padded satchel project) you can use a glass to cut around.

 

How to get a curved edge on a bag flap 

To cut the curve just place the plate on top of your fabric aligned with 2 edges which meet in a corner and cut around the plate. If you are worried about the plate shifting whilst you cut use a chalk pen to trace the line remove the plate and then cut with scissors or a rotary cutter.

 

How to notch a curve when sewing 

You then place your two fabric pieces (one lining one exterior fabric) right sides together and stitch around the edge, remembering to leave a gap for turning through.  It’s easiest to leave the gap on the straight edge of the flap which will be attached to the bag body. 

Don’t forget if you want to add some body to the flap you need to add iron on interfacing, fusible fleece or even bag foam to your exterior piece before you stitch it to the lining.To help ensure a smooth curve it is best to notch the curved corners before you turn the fabrics through. I also use a bamboo point turner to help ensure smooth edges.

 Bag making tips for beginners

 
Once turned through top stitch around the edge to help it keep its shape.

Sewing curved pockets 

You don’t have to keep the curves just to the bag flap, use the same technique to make your pockets curved too as seen on our padded satchel project. For these smaller curves you will want to use a glass to trace around rather than a plate.

 How to sew a bag with curved pieces

 

Why not test out your bag making skills with our padded satchel project shown above. It would make a great school bag, nappy bag or large handbag. Or for a quicker and easier make try this medium messenger bag. 

For other bag making technique guides or tips do visit our bag making techniques series. 

 Bag making techniques