I was wondering if anyone knows the technical terminology for the various techniques/strategies/stitches used in the following pictures?

It looks like each panel in the first picture are separate panels sewn together. In the second picture it looks like the front, back, and bottom are one piece and the sides are separate but I can't say for sure with my extremely low knowledge of sewing. Am I far off in my assumptions?

I'm just looking to make these for personal use because I'd like reduce the amount of waste I generate.

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  • 1
    I am just curious: why do you need the technical terminology, if you only want to create those products? Most of the details are clearly visible in the pictures, so you only need to start doing it.
    – virolino
    Oct 29, 2019 at 8:12
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    Agreed, the only technical term you need is "pattern". There is no magic involved in sewing these bags, you only need a pattern describing the shapes and sizes of the individual pieces and where to sew them together. Whether you hand-sew them, use a sewing machine or use any fancy techique doesn't really matter for the finished product.
    – Elmy
    Oct 29, 2019 at 13:21
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    I thought that by knowing technical terminology I could then research those terms, understand why a particular design pattern or stitch was used, gather insight on how it was built, and ultimately build a better product. I currently have no sewing experience so what is clearly visible from the pictures is not easily reproducable. Perhaps I should have thought about the wording of my question more carefully. Not only am I interested in sewing this type of bag but I'm just as interested in the decisions behind why this particular pattern or why a particular stitch X on panel Y was used.
    – evans863
    Oct 29, 2019 at 21:08
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    With no sewing experience, I'd suggest, instead of jumping straight into trying to "develop a better product," you start simple by following some basic instructions for a very basic item (i.e. pillowcases, simpler bag designs, etc). There's still no "technical terminology" involved other than the most basic sewing education.
    – Allison C
    Oct 30, 2019 at 15:24
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    Please note that the sewing pattern on the sides, the one reminding of the "peace sign", is actually not mandatory. Its purpose is to aid while folding the empty bag.
    – virolino
    Oct 31, 2019 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


So there is a lot to unpack here, hah. But seeing from other comments that you are new to sewing, I can understand how it can be a little daunting to try and make a direct replication of something you've found online.

There is no formal "technique" you will need to follow, but rather a knowledge and understanding of the materials you will need to sew a project. Here is a rough guide to the process I follow when trying to replicate something:

  1. Determining if you want to try and hand sew by hand or a sewing machine. I would go with a machine since this bag looks like it has nothing more than straight stitches.
  2. Material of the bag. There is a lot to consider here - the amount of weight you want the bag to be able to carry, do you want it waterproof, do you want it easily washable? Picking your use for the bag will help determine the type of fabric you will want to use for your project. I would go with a thicker cotton, cotton blend, maybe a thicker flannel if you want to replicate the fuzziness of this particular example. These fabrics are also kind to beginners. An additional item to consider is if you want your sides to be able to stand up like that, you might need what is called "interfacing" and it comes in iron-on or sew-in and it can help add rigidity to the sides and bottom support of your bag.
  3. Construction layout of the bag. You will want to self-draft a pattern or try to find one on the internet that you can copy and test out measurements on before you start cutting and sewing together. This is as easy as getting some paper or cheap muslin cloth and drawing some shapes and pinning them together to see if you like how it is looking, and determine how you want to assemble the bag.
  4. Taking your pattern/muslin draft and cutting out the real fabric and going through the final assembly.

Other assorted musings about the provided image:

  • The zig-zag cut at the top is called "pinking" and there are special scissors that do that called pinking shears. They are typically used to cut fabrics that have a tenancy to fray, and not necessarily used for decoration.
  • You'll want an iron to be able to flatten seams (where the fabrics are sewn together) and to create those creases on the sides of the bags. Irons will typically come with heat settings for the types of material you are using.

I hope this can give you a good starting point!

  • Welcome, this is a great first answer! :)
    – Erica
    Oct 31, 2019 at 9:35
  • Nicely put. :) I'll note, though, that the pictured examples don't look particularly "fuzzy" and are likely made with a bottomweight that's standing due to the seam construction and weight of the material. (Bottomweights make great bags due to their durability.)
    – Allison C
    Oct 31, 2019 at 12:47
  • The material in the images about is duck canvas for what it's worth. Also, thank you @ninjabrer for the tips! I appreciate the constructive feedback.
    – evans863
    Oct 31, 2019 at 14:04
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    @evans863 duck canvas is in fact a type of bottomweight, making it a good choice! Other bottomweights include heavy twill, denim, and other thick fabrics (think fabrics for pants or skirts--literally "bottoms"); they're durable enough to stand up to the stress of use on reusable fabric bags.
    – Allison C
    Nov 4, 2019 at 16:07
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    One specifically unique feature of this pattern is that box gusset which is mitered also - a “mitered box gusset”? (This is not an official term.) Here is a tutorial which covers three types of bag bottoms, including boxed corners and a gusset base: thesewingdirectory.co.uk/bag-bottoms
    – Laurent R.
    Nov 6, 2019 at 4:46

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