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Cooper versions 1 & 2: Assembling the body


Are you ready to start making your Cooper bag today?

I know some of you are still gathering up supplies. Don’t worry about it too much. This bag is a pretty quick sew, so you should have lots of time to catch up if you’re not quite ready to start.

In this post, we’re going to cover making the front and back for both versions 1 (messenger) and 2 (backpack). If you’re making version 3 (satchel), you’ll be starting with the front, which will be covered today in a separate post.

All set?

One more note: For your reference, we have a separate post today all about installing magnetic snaps. We’ll be referring to it at the end of this post.


Assemble Front Bottom Pocket


1. With right sides together, stitch the two front bottom pocket (D) pieces together along the top (unnotched) edge.


2. Press the seam allowance open.


3. Flip the front bottom pocket (D) pieces so that the wrong sides are together. Press.


4. Edgestitch close to the fold along the top edge.

cooper-sewalong-day-15 (1)

5. Topstitch 1/4″ from the fold along the top edge.


Here is how your front bottom pocket (D) piece should now look.


6. With right sides facing out, pin the front bottom pocket (D) piece to one of the body (A) pieces, matching notches along the bottom edge.


7. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, baste front bottom pocket (D) to body (A) along the sides and bottom edges. This forms the front of the bag.


The front of your bag should now look like this.

Attach Back Bottom Panel

1. Lay the second body (A) piece right side up. This will be the back of the bag.

cooper-sewalong-day-11 (1)

2. With right sides together, align the top edge of back bottom panel (E) along the dotted placement line on body (A). Stitch in place.

cooper-sewalong-day-13 (1)

3. Flip back bottom panel (E) down so the right side is facing up. Press.

cooper-sewalong-day-17 (1)

4. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, baste the back bottom panel (E) to body (A) along the side and bottom edges.

cooper-sewalong-day-14 (1)

5. Edgestitch close to the fold along the top edge of back bottom panel (E).

cooper-sewalong-day-15 (1)

6. Topstitch 1/4″ from the fold along the top edge of back bottom panel (E).

cooper-sewalong-day-16 (1)

This is what you should now have as your back.

Sew Front Body Pocket

cooper-sewalong-day-10 (1)

1. With right sides together, stitch the two front body pocket (H) pieces together along both long edges.

cooper-sewalong-day-11 (2)cooper-sewalong-day-12 (2)

2. Turn right side out and press.

cooper-sewalong-day-13 (2)

It should now look like this.

cooper-sewalong-day-14 (2)

3. Edgestitch close to the fold along one long edge of front body pocket (H).

cooper-sewalong-day-15 (2)

4. Topstitch 1/4″ from the same fold.

cooper-sewalong-day-16 (2)

5. Pin front body pocket (H) between the dotted pocket placement lines on the front body (A) piece. The topstiched edge should face the top of the bag.

cooper-sewalong-day-17 (2)

6. Edgestitch front body pocket (H) to front body (A) along the bottom edge of the pocket.

cooper-sewalong-day-18 (2)

7. Topstitch 1/4″ from the fold along the bottom edge of the pocket. Press.

 Sew Body Straps

cooper-sewalong-day-19 (2)

1. With wrong sides together, fold the seam allowances of each body strap (L) lengthwise, so they meet in the center. Each strap should measure 1″ wide. Press.

cooper-sewalong-day-10 (2)

3. Place folded edge of body strap (L) on the right side of front body (A). Align notches on the straps with the notches at the top and bottom edges of the bag. When correctly placed, the straps will cover the edges of front body pocket (H).

cooper-sewalong-day-11 (3)

4. Edgestitch each body strap (L) to front body (A) along the long edges. Start from the bottom and stitch up both sides of each strap to avoid puckering and bubbling.

cooper-sewalong-day-12 (3)

You have now constructed the front of your bag!

Install Magnetic Snaps on Body

The last thing you need to do is install the female side of each magnetic snap on the front of your bag.

We have a separate blog post covering the topic of installing magnetic snaps. We show it using the flap as an example, but the process is the same on the front of the bag.

The next step for the backpack will be creating and attaching the straps on Wednesday. For the messenger, the next step will be finishing the body and strap on Monday.

The Cooper Sewalong

  1. The Speedy Cooper Sewalong & Contest (20 Comments)
  2. Bag making supplies and resources (46 Comments)
  3. How To Install Magnetic Snaps (5 Comments)
  4. Cooper versions 1 & 2: Assembling the body
  5. Cooper version 3: Assembling the front
  6. How To Create Adjustable Straps
  7. Cooper Version 2: Backpack Straps (5 Comments)
  8. How To Install Jiffy Rivets (2 Comments)
  9. Cooper Version 3: Attaching Satchel Handles
  10. Video: How to square the bottom of your bag (4 Comments)
  11. Finishing the body and flap
  12. Cooper Version 1: Messenger Strap
  13. Lining your Cooper bag (5 Comments)
  14. The Cooper Sewing Contest: Vote For Your Favorites! (30 Comments)
  15. Cooper Sewing Contest: The Winners! (3 Comments)

The Cooper Companion

Interested in making the Cooper bag? Get this in-depth guide to bag making, and we'll walk you from start to finish. With over 400 photos, this guide takes you through all three variations (messenger, backpack, and satchel), along with perfectly illustrated instructions for added details, techniques, and variations.

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