I hadn’t come across snap bags before I was asked to write up a tutorial for one and I’m really thrilled with how it works. You can make styles of bag using the same idea of metal tape measure lengths providing the snap closures. Not only does the tape measure keep the bag shut but it also provides a very satisfying snap sound when it closes.
I thought that I would probably want to make more than one of these bags so I cut an 8.1/2″ strip across the width of the fabric in both the top fabric and the lining fabric. Cut the strips into four equal lengths and you should have four pieces of fabric roughly 8.1/2″ by 11″ in each fabric. That’s enough for two snap bags. I made a very simple snap bag with the other pieces of fabric: click on simple snap bag pattern for details. with rights dies together and using a 1/4″ seam, sew two of the pieces of top fabric together along one of the 11″ edges and do the same with two of the pieces of lining fabric.
Make the snap bag
Place these two panels of fabric (snap bag lining and top) with right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam up each side – that’s along the 8.1/2″ edges – to create a tube. turn the tube right side. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but you should have a 17″ by 11″ tube with the side seams sewn and the top and bottom edges unsewn. Decide what handles you want to use for your snap bag. I chose plaited handles for my snap bag. Place the two ends of each handle about 2″ from the edge as shown.
Place a 3″ by 11″ strip of contrasting fabric with right side down on top of the bag panel and handles. Repeat at the other end of the bag panel with both the handles and the contrasting strip of fabric. Sew across the top 1/4″ from the edge, taking care to catch all layers in your stitching.
Add metal tape for the snap
Turn the snap bag over so that you are working on the lining side. Fold under a small hem on the pink strip and fold down to cover the seam by about 1/4″. Pin in place and then sew. I find it best to sew from the front of the snap bag so that I can keep the line of stitching an even distance from the original stitching.
In the video I have put the metal tape in before sewing the side seams, but I have since realised that it is easier to sew one side seam first and then insert the metal tape. I have also realised that for an 11″ bag I would need 10″ lengths of tape, not 11″ as I’ve said in the video.
With the right sides of the snap bag facing each other and the lining on the outside, stitch a small seam down one side of the snap bag. Prepare the metal tape measure: cut two 10″ lengths of tape measure. I was worried about how to cut the metal, but an ordinary pair of kitchen scissors worked fine.
Try to snip the edges to round them a little and wrap the ends in insulating tape or something similar to blunt them. They can be quite sharp and this step is really important both to protect the fabric of the bag and to protect anyone using the bag.
Finishing the snap bag
With the front side of the tape facing the top fabric (the outside of the snap bag) slip the tape measure into the tube created by the pink fabric. In the photo on the left the tape is being pushed into the pink tube neares the table. that’s why the numbers on the taps are visible. The photo on the right shows the tape sliding into the top pink tube so the numbers are not showing. slide the tape as far as it will go.
Sew the remaining side edge of the snap bag. Turn the bag right side out and start snapping!
Here’s the video: