I remember the first time I saw a Gothic Lolita Bible. Up until then I was not interested in goth at all. Marilyn Manson was definitely not my thing and I thought all the black and chains and fishnets were kind of boring really – uninspired. But when I cracked open that Gothic Lolita Bible I saw what goth should and could be. Gothic with a capital G if you will :3 This was Victorian-inspired, elaborate, detailed clothing and costumes. It was breathtaking really, and I had a brief stint where I made a lot of Lolita-style costumes that I still love.
The red I used here was a leftover from a costume I made last Halloween, and I had a lot of different ideas in how to use it. It was when I saw all these bits of hardware and lace that needed a home that I tried to find what they could go with, and this red was the best and only answer. The strap was the last bit of a leather trim I purchased many years back for another costume, and it was the perfect length for a handle, so that felt like kismet. The lace was a leftover of some Lolita-style bunny hats I made a collection of a little while back. I still have so much of that lace left 😄 So expect to see more later! And lastly the buckles were leftover from some other bags I had made. I really like the look of them so I was itching to find a way to use them up.
I think the look all came together quite nicely! And it reminds me of a lot of the bags you’d find in the Gothic Lolita Bible so I feel like I’ve succeeded!
Materials & Tools:
• ⅔ yd. of medium to heavyweight fabric for main bag (denim or canvas would be good, I interfaced twill)
• 10” x 10” scrap of light to medium weight contrasting fabric for tabs (light twill or linen would be good, I used interfaced twill)
• 1 yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used quilting cotton)
• Two 1” D-rings
• Two 1” hook rings
• 3 yds. of 1” lace
• 26” long strap piece (I used a leather trim, but webbing or decorative ribbon would also be nice!)
• Sewing needle
• Matching sewing thread
Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern
1. To start this bag we’re going to begin with the flap. It has two rows of gathered lace attached to it. Start by cutting off 16” of your 1” lace and run two rows of gathering stitches down it so you can gather it down to the size you need. Pull at the bobbin threads until it’s gathered to about 8” and it should line up nicely with the pattern guideline for the short line that starts in the middle and goes off to the edge. Sew it in place along the top edge of your lace, with the free edge of your lace pointing towards the bottom of the flap.
2. Next we’re going to apply the following layer of lace over it to form the criss-cross pattern. Repeat the same process with the previous step, except with a 32” piece of lace, and gather it down to about 16”. Again, line it up against the pattern guideline and sew it in place along the top edge, layering it over the previous bunch of lace.
3. Now it’s time for the lace that forms the trim of the flap. Use your remaining lace (about 60”), and gather it down to about 28”. Then baste it around the bottom edge of your flap. Leave the top straight edge free, as that’s where the back of your bag will be.
4. To get all that lace looking neat and pretty, we’re going to cover the raw edges by sewing in the flap lining. Layer your lining piece over the lace and sew around the bottom and side edges. Again, leave the top edge free so you can turn it right side out. Trim your seam allowances, turn it right side out, and press the flap from the lining side gently so you don’t squish your lace too much ^-~
5. Next we’re going to make the tabs that go on the edge of the flap. Take your 2 top tab pieces (you’ll see mine were interfaced because my fabric was a bit stretchy) and fold under the short edges by ⅝” and iron the folds flat. Then fold under the long edges by ⅝” and iron them flat. Then fold the whole piece in half widthwise to create a neat little 1” x 1½” square with (hopefully) no raw edges showing.
6. Slip your hook ring into the tab so it nestles in the fold. Then align it up with your flap guidelines so the clasp points downward. Sew it in place with a box stitch. I used my zipper foot here to get close to the hook ring without hitting it, if you have one it’s a big help. Repeat this with your other tab on the other side of the flap.
7. Now for the tabs for the bottom of the bag. These come together much more simply. You just have to take your 2 bottom tab pieces and fold the long sides under by ⅝” and iron the folds in place. Then fold the whole thing in half and iron it flat. Lastly, you’ll need to sew the two folded edges together to complete it.
8. Fold the finished tab in half and slip your D-ring into it so it nestles in the fold. Take your bag front and align the tab with the pattern guideline to get the proper placement, then sew it in place with a box stitch where the pattern indicates. Again, I used my zipper foot here 🙂 Repeat this with the other tab on the other side of your bag front.
9. Now we’re finally getting into the shape of the bag 😀 We’re attaching the gusset, so you’ll want to start by lining up one end of your gusset with one top corner of your bag front. Continue lining up the edges all the way down, and you should be able to match the notches at the center bottom. Again, keep moving up the other side and the other edge of your gusset should match up with the other top corner. You might need to clip the seam allowances of your gusset by about ⅜” to ½” so it curves nicely over the curved bottom corners of the bag front. Pin the edges in place and sew them together, just be careful over the bottom straight section where you’re going through the tabs and there are a lot of layers of fabric. When you finish, repeat this with the other side of the gusset and your bag back.
10. It’s really starting to come together! Next you need to baste your bag flap to your main bag. With right sides facing, baste the upper raw edge of your bag flap to the bag back, making sure that it’s centered along the back piece.
11. Next we’re attaching the strap. My strap was finished as is, though it did have a right side and a wrong side. Be sure that you baste it with right sides together – one end attached to one side of your gusset (centered in the middle) and the other end attached to the other end of your gusset. Be sure it doesn’t get twisted along the way.
12. Next I worked on making an inner pocket for the bag. So you’ll want to layer your two pocket pieces together and sew around the entire perimeter, being sure to skip over the opening indicated by the pattern guidelines for turning the pocket right side out. Now you’ll want to trim your seam allowances, turn the pocket right side out, tuck under the seam allowances in the opening, and press the whole pocket flat.
13. Hopefully you can tell what I did here amidst this sea of black, but I attached the pocket to my lining. Following the pattern guidelines, line the pocket up to your bag back lining piece, and sew along the sides and bottom, leaving the top free. Doing this should also sew closed the opening from the previous step 🙂 After this step, you’ll need to go back to step 9 and repeat the same procedure with your lining pieces. Be sure to leave an opening in one side of your gusset so you can turn the back right side out when it’s complete.
14. You’re almost there! The last major step is sewing the top edge of the bag. Start by nestling the main bag into the lining with right sides together, then line up the upper raw edge. Sew along this entire perimeter and it should look something like this. Turn the entire bag right side out from the opening in the lining, and press the top edge firmly so it’s nice and crisp. Turn under the seam allowances in the lining opening and sew them closed with either a hand-sewn ladder stitch or with your machine. Now brush off your stray threads and strap this puppy on because YOU’RE DONE!
And there you have it! I love all the lace and metal detailing – it would be a perfect complement to a gothic Lolita outfit I think ^-^
Do you have any opinions? Any favorite Lolita look that you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments!
If you do wind up making the project, I’d love to see it! And I’ll send you free patterns from my Monthly Crafting Challenge!