Today I am going to share a tutorial for a couple of versions of a quick and easy fat quarter bag made 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 fat quarter bag sewing 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 fat quarter 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.)
How to Make a Fat Quarter Bag: a Step by Step Tutorial:
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 fat quarter 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 fat quarter 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.
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 your fat quarter 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