itaSTYLE: How To Insert Tutorial

itaSTYLE: Ita Bag Tutorials-itaSTYLE: How To Insert Tutorial


Welcome to itaSTYLE! The series where we talk about all things itabag.

Hey Co-Kan Flock! Last itaSTYLE article was about whether you should insert or not. I discussed very shortly a common practice of how inserts are made to readily available materials to the average person. It wasn’t too in depth as we just listed out materials and other possible ones. I’d like to get into a tutorial how we do our inserts here at Co-Kan since they’re in all our decorated bags. We also been getting a lot of questions on our Insert Backings that are being sold. It’s a good time to do this!

STEP ONE: Gather Your Materials


Supplies, check! 🗹🗹🗹

Today we’re going to be reconstructing my sweater JJ bag on a black OTB Messenger!

I would recommend doing it on a table, but any workspace you prefer to be at is fine! I’ve worked on the floor before and seen others just do that since it can be more comfortable.

STEP ONE: Working On Your Insert

Inserts are life! Let's work on it first. :)

Inserts are probably the first thing to work on!

Here I have the Co-Kan Itabag Insert Backing. At this point, use what material you plan on using be it cardboard, foam board, foam sheets, crocheting webbing, and more. I see so many types of backings people use to get creative with! So just do you, there is no wrong way.

Don't burn your fabric while you iron. lol

Don't burn your fabric while you iron. lol
I burned while taking pics for this tutorial. Oops.

Before everything, I go pick out my fabric for my bag. I try to go to to the theme of the character or to match the bag color. I buy fabrics from Joann’s since I live close to one. I love Joann’s because they have sales often. Search what you got in your area! You can try your local fabric or arts & craft store. I’ve seen fabrics at Walmart though their selection is very limited.

NOTE: Be sure to know the measurements of your insert or the window opening of your bag! Buy a little extra so you can wrap it around your insert.

Now that you have your fabric picked out, Joann’s recommends to wash your fabric then iron it. Those instructions are if you’re going to make clothing out of it so you can avoid shrinkage. I like doing this way anyway since the fabric becomes less starchy, but I have tried it without wash and with. There isn’t much a difference.

Anyway, usually fabric at the store gets really wrinkly with many hands passing through it and how it is stored. I recommend ironing out the wrinkles or else it will show behind your merchandise. If you don’t really care, then that’s fine too.

Trying out a rotary cutter and loving it! Fabric has been cut to size for the insert.

Fabric cutting time! Using a rotary cutter this time around. ♥

Alright, time to cut some of the fabric you have chosen. I usually like to lay the insert down on the fabric to see how much I need. Cut a little more because you’re going to need to wrap it around the insert. You can use scissors to cut, but I have a rotary cutter so I’m going with that instead! I am also using a ruler to try to help get myself a straight cut. Haha.

Time to tape the fabric to the insert.

Now we're in a sticky situation. ;)

Time to wrap the sides. There are many ways to wrap up the sides! Using tape is pretty common since everyone has that lying around. I recommend using artist tape, masking tape, painters tape, packing tape, and even duct tape if you really want to! I find regular Scotch tape used for taping paper up or wrapping gifts to be a little flimsy but give it a try! You can also super glue, hot glue, or use fabric glue to permanently hold the fabric down to the insert if you wish. It is your choice.

Wrapping around rounded corners. (Part 1) Wrapping around rounded corners. (Part 2) Wrapping around rounded corners. (Part 3)

How I fold around corners! owo

Since inserts are not always a 90 degree angle on the edge, there are ways to fold and tape to help it look clean from the other side. I tend to do 2-3 folds on the corner depending how arched it is while taping down each fold. You really want to do a tight wrap! I’ve never had any issues with sagging fabric when I pin directly to the fabric after doing a tight wrap, more on that in a moment.

Behind the insert: Not always pretty. lol One insert done. Rinse and repeat on the other.

Ta-dah! One insert finished. Rinse and repeat.

STEP THREE: Decorating Your Insert

Moving onto the merch, bby. ♥

Time for the fun part! Bringing your collection to life. ♥w♥

Woohoo. Insert is done. Now time to start decorating. Usually, I do a combination of how I decorate bags such as hang things from a chain and also pin things down. That makes it a little harder for a layout because you have to keep putting your insert in and out to make sure everything is in the right place as you decorate. Since this is a tutorial, I’m just using can badges which makes things much easier — somewhat (can badge pins are awful to pin—I'm sure there are easier ways to attach them).

Need to work on a layout. (Part 1)

Look at my silly burn mark. lol :')

So, I like to put the insert inside the bag with the vinyl cover flopped open. Then I can see where buttons can be put around obstacles such as the hoops at the the top I won’t be using. I keep arranging until I feel satisfied. When done, be sure to take a photo! You may forget what your layout looks like when you start to attach things to your insert! It’s happen to me and many people I know. Better safe than sorry since it can take so long for you to decide on a layout.

Layout made. Take a pic to refer to it later!


Now to pinning! We get a lot of questions on how to attach things to our Itabag Insert Backings. What I’m using is Styrene, which is a somewhat flexible hard plastic. You are not able to pin through it like you would on cardboard or foam. The only way to pin is pinning on the fabric!

“Won’t the fabric sag without being able to pin through onto the backing?”

We’ve gotten this question a few times. From my experience, not if you’re using cotton fabric. There are a lot of fabrics out there that are more light, stretchable, and thin that may not be able to support the weight, like polyester or nylon. Also, it depends how heavy and how much merch you are cramming onto the insert. We suggest using chains to hang your heaviest items, such as large acrylic keychains. But a bag full of can badges and rubber straps won’t amount to much weight even with 20-30 items. And remember to do a tight wrap on your fabric!

Before pinning, gotta get protected! Rinse and repeat until all your buttons are covered if you going this route.

Before pinning, do any extra steps to your can badges like covering them!

If you love specific can badges like I do, you'll want to protect them. Can badges exist for this purpose. I'm using the badge covers we carry at Co-Kan in this tutorial. The tricky part about putting them on is getting that top flap over. When you initially insert the can badge into the cover, try to get it all the way to the bottom. You'll have more room to pull over that top flap.

Poke your can badge into the fabric. Don't be afraid to stretch the fabric to close the pin.

Hardest part is pinning these cursed can badges.

Since you are doing a tight wrap, you are going to need a little finesse when hooking your pins to the fabric. When closing official merchandise can badge pins, don’t be afraid of pulling on your insert’s fabric to close it. If you have fan merchandise, we’ve found the pins on the back are way easier to close!

Phew. Half way there. Be sure to keep checking how it looks in your bag as you go.

Keep focus! You're almost done.

During your time decorating your insert, be sure to put it in your bag every so often to see how it is fitting. Adjust as you go so you don’t have to redo everything later!

FINALLY! One side finished. The other side won't be so bad.

BLESS. Done and done, bby! ;)

Alright! That’s it for this tutorial Flockers! I hope this was informative. Comment if you have questions or would like to share your process.

Happy Itabagging!

That concludes this article of itaSTYLE.
Stay roosted for our next issue! 

— Sonya from the Co-Kan Flock ♥

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