Draw-string Shoulder Bag Tutorial

Last fall I had a really fun time making this bag as part of a challenge using Dritz sewing supplies. All along I’ve planned to share a tutorial to make this bag and here it is. (finally.)
Here are the fabric requirements for this drawstring bag version. It’s a great one for using small scraps or mini charms.
  • 32 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” (this is a great pattern for using up mini charm collections.)
  • 1/2 yard of heavier-weight fabric for bag exterior
    • cut one strip 2 3/4” x 33”
    • cut one strip 15 1/4” x width of fabric and sub cut into two pieces 6” x 15  1/4” and two pieces 8” x 15 1/4”
  • 1/2 yard fabric lining
    • cut into two pieces 16″ x 15 1/4”
    • cut 1 1/2” x 10” piece (optional for swivel hook attachment)
  • 1/6 yard contrast fabric for shoulder strap and draw-string
    • cut one strip 2 3/4” x 33”
    • cut one strip 2 1/2” x 42”
  • Fat Quarter for pocket
    • cut pocket 14 1/2” x 11 1/2” (or two if desired)
  • Two 18″ x 16″ pieces of batting
  • 8 Dritz grommets + grommet tools
  • 1 Dritz swivel hook (optional)
*I used 1/4” seams throughout.
Sew the 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” charms into four rows of 8 squares.
Carefully cut each of the four strips in half lengthwise to become 1 1/4” wide strips. Trim
1 1/4” piece off the end of each strip to make them 1 1/4” x 15 1/4”. (I trimmed a different end off the two strips, just to be exciting.)
Sew four strips together, staggering the seams by alternating which side starts or ends with the 1 1/4” piece. Press seams all one direction. This will create two patchwork panels for the sides of the bag.
Sew each patchwork panel between a 6″ x 15 1/4” exterior fabric and an 8” x 15 1/4” piece to create the outside of the bag. Press seams toward the patchwork. (I used a heavier-weight, linen looking woven fabric for my bag exterior.)
Center the exterior sides of the bag on top of a piece of batting and spray baste in place. Quilt the exterior pieces horizontally across the bag. My lines are about a 1/2” apart, but you could do whatever width you like. I used my walking foot for this.

The quilting is optional, but here’s a contrast showing off the great texture that the quilting creates. Also, I suggest using a thread color that contrasts with your bag exterior color.  I originally started by using the same color as the linen, but it didn’t show up or look nearly as interesting.

Place the exterior sides of the bag right-sides-together and sew sides and bottom together, leaving top open.

To make the bottom gusset (or square bottom) of your bag: after sewing exterior pieces together, cut a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” square notch out of the bottom of both corners. Pinch open corner edges together, matching up the bottom and side seams and sew them together. Repeat with other side. Press seams open.

Creating an interior pocket. Cut a 14 1/2” x 11 1/2” rectangle. (Two if you’d like a pocket on each side.)
Fold in half, right sides together to create a 7 1/4” x 11 1/2” rectangle. Sew three sides together, leaving a small opening for turning right-sides out. Clip corners.
Turn pocket right sides out, tuck in the seam allowance at the opening, and press well. Top stitch along one of the long sides of your pocket piece.
Center pocket piece 5″ from the top of one of the 16” x 15 1/4” panel pieces with the topstitched long edge at the top. Pin and sew pocket in place starting at the top of one side (backstitch a few times to secure it), around the bottom, and up the other side. Backstitch a few times at the top to keep in secure.
Put two 16” x 15 1/4” pieces right sides together (make sure the height is 16″ and the width is 15 1/4”. Starting at the top of one side, sew down one side, across the bottom, and back up the other side. Cut a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” notch out of the two bottom corners. Press seams open.
Match up bottom and side seams and sew the opening closed to create the bottom gussets. Turn top edge down 1/2” and press it down.
Turn exterior bag piece right-sides-out. Turn top edge down 1/2” and press in place. Carefully put bag lining inside the exterior piece, match up side seams and clip or pin top edges together.
This is the first time I’ve ever added a fancy attachment to a bag like the Dritz Swivel Hook. (I don’t think I would have done it, had it not been for the Dritz challenge. I had just never thought to do so!) They’re available almost anywhere you can by notions. It was SO easy – now I’ll do this for every bag so I’m not always digging around the bottom of my bag for my keys.
Attaching the swivel hook: take 1 1/2” x 10” strip. Fold in half lenthwise and press. Open up and fold sides in to the press crease, press again. Now fold back together so that the strip is folded into equal fourths. Sew strap piece together with seams on both sides and down the center for added strength. Thread strap piece through the round end of the swivel hook and match strip ends together.
Pin swivel-hook strap ends about 3/4” inside the exterior and interior bag pieces. (I choose to put mine close to one of the side seams.) Now sew top edges of the bag together. I sewed about 1/4” away from the top and then topstiched again around the top edge.
Decorative drawstring: take 2 1/2” x 42” strip of fabric. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Fold sides in toward the center crease and press again. Fold together so the strip is in fourths. Sew two side seams to hold all layers together. Carefully fold up ends and sew them down to finish them.

Now time for the grommets. Can I just say here that grommets have always intimidated me? Thanks again to the Dritz challenge for finally getting me to take the plunge, because they were SO much easier than I imagined!

I used the 3/8” Dritz Grommets that come in a package of 8. To atatch them you’ll also need the simple Grommet Tools and a hammer. (Again, all of these notions are available widely where ever notions are found.) First mark on your bag where you’d like the grommets to end up. I marked mine starting 1 1/2” inches from the top of the bag and 2” from the side seams, then spread 3 1/2” apart so that the fourth grommet is again roughly 2” away from the seam. You’ll need to make a hole through both layers of fabric. I used a sharp dowel to start the hole and then carefully widened it using the grommet openings. Check out the Dritz website for a tutorial using the grommets and grommets tools.

I used a sharp dowel to start the hole and then carefully widened it using the grommet openings. Check out the Dritz website for a tutorial using the grommets and grommets tools.

Shoulder strap. Match the two right sides together of the 2 3/4” x 32” exterior strap and the 2 3/4” x 32” lining piece and sew then together with two side seams. (Optional – I quilted my exterior piece with a piece of batting, similar to the bag exterior and to give the strap some extra thickness. Do this before you sew the exterior piece to the lining piece.)

Turn strap right-sides out and press. Turn ends 1/4” inside both ends. Topstich about 1/4” away from  the side seams – to look nice and to keep the strap pieces from shifting.

Crease each strap end in half vertically to find the center. Center the strap by placing the crease on the side seam and about 2” down.

Sew strap securely in place.

Thread drawstring through the grommets and you’re ready to go! (Doesn’t that sunshine look nice this time of year?)

For this bag I used mini charms of Carolyn Friedlander prints at quilt market. While I was there I saw Lee Chappell’s amazing bag she made with a similar palette and was inspired to make something like it. (While we used similar colors, our styles and construction techniques are very different.  Lee’s bag is amazing. You can find the pattern here.)

If you decide to make one yourself, I’d love to see your version! Share it on the Flickr group or tag it with #DOQpouchbag on twitter or Instagram!

Easy Mod Messenger Bag tutorial

Today I’m sharing a tutorial for a simple messenger bag, designed for the Riley Blake blog. This design was inspired by teaching my kids to sew. It’s also perfect for beginners. It’s an easy method for making a lined messenger bag with a cover flap.
I used fabrics from one of Riley Blake’s latest collections, Mod Studio by Holli Zollinger. These modern, graphic prints are really cool. The simple bags really let the fabric do the work to create a chic accessory.

I’m especially smitten with the aspen looking “branches” print. (It also comes in red and black on white.) The other prints in the collection are really cool too, with lots of creative potential. (The black branches is available from JAQS Fabrics and Fabric.com)

Fabric Requirements:
Outside of bag: 14″ x 42″ print
Lining: 14″ x 41″ solid (or contrasting print)
Pocket: 10″ x 20″ print
Strap: 2 pieces 3 1/2″ x 42″ (or width of fabric)
Match-up bag exterior and lining and trim off selvage edge. Trim lining width 1″ shorter than exterior fabric.
Open up fabrics and match right sides together. Round-off the two corners at one end of the the exterior/lining pieces. (I used a super technical plate as my guide.)
Pocket (optional): The Pocket is not required, but it is a handy feature and a fun way to show-off another cute print. Fold the rectangle in half width-wise and sew 1/4″ seam around three open sides, leaving an opening for turning right-sides out. Trim corners and turn right-sides-out, tuck open edges inside and press. Top-stitch along folded edge.
Center pocket and pin top-stitched edge of pocket 15″ from the edge with the rounded corners. Stitch pocket in place around three remaining edges, closing opening in the process.
Match up lining right-sides-together with exterior fabric. Sew pieces together using a 1/4″ seam, starting at the end of one long side, around the rounded corners and down the other long side. Leave other short-end open for turning.
Clip notches in rounded corners before turning right-sides out.
Turn bag right-sides out. To finish the open edge, fold the exterior fabric down 1/2″ (make sure sides are tucked in to match seam allowances. Then fold again at the edge of the lining fabric. Top-stitch exterior edge in place to hold it down.
Fold bottom (non-curved) edge of the bag up on itself 15″ with exterior fabric facing out. This should leave about 10″ of bag that will become the front flap. Pin sides together. Using a 1/4″ seam, start sewing a seam on one side of the folded edge. (See blue line.)
Sew sides together and continue seam around flap with rounded edges to top-stitch together and down second side sewing other second side together and ending at the folded edge.
Turn bag right-sides out. In side seams will look like “french-seams”. 
Strap: Match up two 3 1/2″ x 42″ right sides together and sew sides together using 1/4″ seams. Leave ends open. (The 42″ length seems just right for adults, but it’s very easy to shorten the strap and custom fit it to your height.)
 Turn strap right-sides-out, press sides, tuck in ends and top-stitch edges.
 Fold ends in half and finger-press to find center. 
Use finger-pressed crease to match-up strap with inside-side seams of the bag. Pin in place about 3″ down from the front edge. Sew a rectangle to secure strap in place.
I sewed mine in place below the front edge of the bag.
And that’s it! A surprisingly-sturdy bag for very little effort. A great lined-bag project for someone who is just beginning to sew. And very easily customize-able. You could make the same style bag smaller by just starting with two smaller rectangles from the beginning.
If you are looking for an even easier beginner version (without the front flap) I made a second bag using my original 32-minute Messenger Bag tutorial.
Plus, it was a fun excuse to play with more of the Mod Studio prints

Handmade Divided Basket and Purse Palooza

I was asked by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness to participate in Purse Palooza 2013 – this is a fantastic round-up of reviews of patterns for assorted purses and bags with opportunities to learn as well as win fun prizes. If you’re interested in learning more about bags, you should check it out. Sara is a super-talented bag designer. She even has a new book coming out in the next few weeks called Big-City Bags: Sew Handbags with Style, Sass, and Sophistication
For my project I choose Anna of Noodlehead’s Divided Basket.  I have loved the look of this fabric basket and wanted to try this pattern for a long time. I was so excited to finally have the excuse to make me do it! I’ve wanted something stylish to carry around my current sewing project and make me at least feel and look a little more organized in the process.
You can read my review and experience making this project at Sew Sweetness. (I finally got some Clover binding clips and loved being able to put them to use on this project.)
Fabrics I used for my basket include: Red exterior – Stamped by Ellen Lucket Baker (which is sadly, pretty scarce these days. I’ve been hoarding it for just the right project.); Canvas handles and divider – Glimma Dandelion stripes in Canvas, Lining- Denim from Amy Barickman’s Crossroads Denim in French Vanilla. The exterior pocket was made from a couple of scraps and remnants. For stabilizer I used Peltex 71F (fusible heavy-weight Peltex) because that is what I had on hand and I like the stability and shape it gives.

Easy Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial

Today I am going to share a tutorial for a couple of versions of a quick and easy bag made from Fat Quarters as part of Elizabeth’s Christmas in July series – to help all of us get started on those handmade gifts early so we’re not sewing zombies on December 24th.
This tutorial is inspired by some purses I made for my daughter’s friends for Christmas a couple of years ago.  They were so quick and so cute and I’ve been meaning to write a tutorial for them ever since. I’m grateful to Elizabeth for this opportunity to finally get my rear in gear and share how I did it.  They were inspired during a Christmas when funds were a little tight and I needed to use resources already on hand (i.e. a giant fabric stash) to create Christmas gifts.  
Each bag uses the equivalent of one Fat Quarter + 1/8th of a yard (or scraps) for the handle. (You could also use sturdy ribbon as handles.)  
Step 1: Cut your Fat Quarter (hereafter FQ) in half to create two 11″ (roughly-might be slightly narrower depending on the width of the FQ) x 18″ pieces. You can use the second piece as the lining of your bag or cut a coordinating piece the same size for a contrasting lining and save the second piece for a second bag.
For this bag we are going to make two short handles.  Cut two 4″ x 18″ pieces of fabric. These can come from a 1/8th yard piece of fabric, you could cut them from one of your FQ’s or you could find them in your scrap bin like I did.

Step 2 – Create the handles. Fold both handles in half lengthwise and press. Open up the handle and press both sides in, meeting at the half-way crease.  Press and fold in half. You should have a handle, 4-fabrics-thick about 1″ wide. Top stitch down both sides of the handle piece right at the edge to make it sturdy and to give it a nice finished edge.

Step 3- Pin both handles to the short sides of the lining piece of fabric. Measure in about 2.5″ from each corner and pin the handles to the the fabric.

Step 4- Place the outside fabric right sides together on top of the lining piece and handles. Pin short sides and sew 1/4″ seam allowance down both sides, over the edges of the handle straps, careful not to catch any other part of the handles in your seams.

 Step 5- Press seams open and bring seams together, matching them up at the center. The bag’s outside fabric and lining fabric should be folded on top of itself, right sides together. Now pin the long, open sides together.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along both sides, leaving a 3″ opening in the lining to turn the bag right-sides out.

 Step 6 – Pull the bag right sides out through the 3″ opening and top-stitch the opening closed. (This doesn’t have to look pretty because it will be inside the bag.)

Step 7- Tuck the lining inside the bag and press the bag carefully, paying extra attention to the seam around the top of the bag. Make it look nice and crisp. 
Step 8- Top-stitch around the top edge of the bag.  This will help secure the handles’ attachment and give the bag a finished look.  I did it twice. 

Step 9- Now to give the bag a nice boxy bottom, we are going to add something called a gusset.  Don’t stress, it’s much easier than it looks. Turn the bag inside-out and line up the side seams perpendicular to the bottom edge, creating two triangles at either end of the bag.

 Step 10- Measure down 1″ from the point and draw a line perpendicular to the side seam.

Step 11- Sew directly on the line, back stitching at both ends.  Repeat the same process with the bottom corner on the other side of the bag.  You could hand-tack down the gusset flaps if you’re picky, but don’t have to worry if you’re not as they will be hidden in the bag.

And there you have a quick finished bag!  Once you have made one, it’s very quick and easy to mass-produce a lot of them.

 Now here is a slight variation to create a bag with a longer strap and a little more of a ‘purse’ shape.

Repeat Steps 4-8 above to create the body of the bag, leaving out the handles.

To add a decorative ribbon or trim I measured down 2.5″ from the top and drew a line with an erasable fabric pen.

Line up the trim along the drawn line and pin in place.
Topstitch trim to the bag.
Repeat Steps 9-11 to add the gussets to the bottom of the of the bag.
For the handle of this purse, use a 4″ x 42″ piece of fabric.  Use the same method as above to create one long purse strap. (Fold in half and press, open up and fold edges toward center, press, fold in half again and topstitch both sides.)
Trim the strap to the desired finished length. I think I trimmed mine down to 38″ for a tween-y girls purse. Tuck bottom raw edges inside the purse strap. 

Pin the end of the strap about an inch down and directly next to one of the side seams on the outside of the bag.

Fold the side of the bag on the opposite side of the seam on top of the purse strap.  Seam should be on the inside edge of the strap with equal parts of the bag holding the strap end in place. 
Sew a square holding two sides of the bag with strap end in between in place. Repeat the same steps on the other side of the bag, with the other end of the strap.

When the bag is done, you can always add a cute embellishment of some kind to ‘bling-it-up’ if you want.

And that’s it!  Again, once you’ve made one, you can whip out a bunch more in no time.  They’re great gifts to have on hand for all those little-girl Christmas or birthday gifts. (Or you could make a ‘satchel‘ version for boys too!)

Be sure to visit the other guest-bloggers for Christmas in July to see the awesome ideas and tutorials they have for you!
Monday 7/16 – Don’t Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 – Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 – Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 – Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 – Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 – Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 – Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 – Diary of a Quilter (here!)
Thursday 7/26 – Felicity Quilts

And finally, as part of this series, Elizabeth has arranged a fabulous giveaway for you of a $20 Gift Certificate from the online fabric retailer, Pink Chalk Studio! Lucky you! Pink Chalk has so many pretty choices.

To enter, leave a comment on this post. One entry per person.  If you want to, tell me something handmade you’d like to make this Christmas, but it’s not required.  Giveaway open until Saturday, July 28 at midnight MST.  Please be sure that I have a way to contact you if you win!


WINNER: Heidi StaplesJuly 25, 2012 11:54 AM

I’ve got a lot of things in mind to make for Christmas, but nothing definite yet. Darling tutorial! Thanks for the giveaway!

Summer Go-Anywhere Bag

I was excited when Jen from Ellison Lane Quilts asked me to share a new project to inspire some summer-time sewing.  I’ve wanted to make a new bag for myself forever, and this was the perfect opportunity to try something new. 
For this bag, I chose Anna’s Go Anywhere Bag pattern. I recently given a charm pack of Lotta Jansdotter’s new prints from her Bella collection by the nice people at Windham Fabrics. The colors screamed summer to me, so I decided to try piecing a portion of the bag using them coupled with a few other fabrics from the stash. 
To make the pieced exterior pockets, I sewed the charm squares together to make a panel slightly larger than the pocket lining. 
Then, to give the bag some extra weight and body, I quilted the pieced panels onto some lightweight batting. (I did not put a backing fabric behind the batting.) From there I cut out my front and back pocket pieces from the quilted panels and followed the rest of the pattern instructions.

For the body of my bag I used a heavier linen-type fabric I got a while ago at Ikea. (I would love to find some more of that.) The lining is from Denyse Schmidt’s Aunt Edna collection at JoAnn. It was just the right chartreuse to go with the Bella collection. I added a covered button to hold the back pocket closed.  Ta-dah! I’m excited to carry my new summer bag around Quilt Market this weekend!

Ellison Lane Quilts
To see lots of other summer sewing inspiration, visit these blogs:
May 9: Sew Crafty Jess 
And then don’t forget to enter your own projects in the contests at Ellison Lane Quilts June 10-17. There will be fabulous prizes! Go here for all the details!

Oil Cloth zipper purse tutorial by Sachiko Aldous

Today I am so lucky to have a guest post from the very wonderful, Sachiko Aldous of Tea Rose Home. I am so grateful that she was willing to share a guest post today as I get ready to head out the door to Quilt Market in Kansas City. (If you are going to be there, shoot me an email! I’d love to meet-up!)

I first met Sachiko last year at a humanitarian event tie-ing quilts for the victims of the earthquake in Japan. The earthquake hit Sachiko’s hometown and directly affected her family.   I’ve always admired Sachiko’s amazing talent. Since that time I’ve been able to get to know her personally as well, and she is such a genuine, kind, beautiful person.  Sachiko has an amazing collection of ideas and tutorials – including a tutorial for the sweater refashion in the picture below. Oh. My. It is amazing.

I think you will love her tutorial today. Thank you Sachiko!

Hello everyone, I am Sachiko from Tea rose Home! I am visiting Amy’s lovely place here today while she is away. I am a busy mom of three kids, but when I am not doing mommy things, I do…


 Make Jewelry… 

Make quilts…

Make kids’ stuff…
and much much more.  :)  I hope you will stop by sometime and say hello.

Today, I am sharing some tips on how to sew with oil cloth/vinyl coated fabric.  Do you fear them or don’t know what to do with them?  No worries, when you know these little tricks you will be sewing with oil cloth in no time.  I have made, bibs, bags and pouches in the past, and I just LOVE them.

Here are some tips I can share with you through my experiences;


1. Let’s talk about the needle, you want to use a size 16 needle (denim needle), especially when you are going to sew many layers.  When I first started sewing with oil cloth, I didn’t really think about this and broke so many needles, I am so grateful that I didn’t go blind from this.

2. Use larger stitches.  Usually I sew with 2.5 stitch length on my sewing machine, but with oil cloth I adjust it to 3.0.  When the stitches are too close together, the puncture from the needle might weaken the fabric and cause ripping. Trust me…it happened to me.

3. When you are sewing on the right side(printed side) of the fabric, the presser foot might stick and it is really frustrating to sew.  There are many method to help with this, and I tried baby powder once, but I didn’t care for it.  I felt like the cleaning was a pain.  I use tissue paper-the kind you use for gift wrapping.  You simply place it between the presser foot and oil cloth.  It makes a big difference!

4. Psst… The great thing about these types of fabrics is that they don’t fray, so if you want to serger it, or use pinking scissors that’s fine, but you don’t have to!

{Project}—Little Pen case

* You need (I used what I had on hand, so you can always change the measurements of the fabric and zipper)

2 — 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ oilcloth
7″ zipper
Matching thread

* How to

1.   Mark 5/8″ from outer edge on the 8 1/2″ side of the fabric.  Leaving the middle part open, just sew both sides.

2. Lay the fabric flat as the picture shows, open the seam.  Pin the zipper onto the seam. 

3.  Change the presser foot to the zipper foot, and place tissue paper between the presser foot and oil cloth.

4. Sew all around the zipper.
5. Tear off the tissue paper.

6. First, open the zipper (otherwise you can’t turn the fabric inside out after you sew all around it), Put together the right sides of the fabrics and pin.  Sew all around it.
7. Pinch the corner of the bottom to give the pouch a boxed bottom.  Mark 1″ from the tip of the corner and sew.
8. Turn the fabric inside out. Sew to the end of the zipper

Time to have fun!

I hope you enjoyed my post.  Thank you Amy for letting me come over today!
I love it! Now I want to make a dozen little zippy oilcloth purses. (She makes it so simple!) Thanks, Sachiko!