Introduction: Pretty Fabric Bag

About: I'm an artist, designer and maker, living near the sea in Ramsgate, Kent, UK. Head to my website for more tutorials, for a weekly blog and links to my fabrics, quilt/sewing patterns and classes:…


A fat quarter (21 x 18”/ 53cm x 46cm) of printed fabric for the outside of the bag.

A fat quarter (21 x 18”/ 53cm x 46cm) of contrast fabric for the bag lining.

Matching thread.

A button.

(The fabric used here for the outside of the bag is available from Amanda Jane Textiles at:


A rotary cutter and mat, a sewing machine, pins, needle, small scissors.

Step 1: Cut the Straps

Select fabric for the outside of the bag. Cut two strips 2” (5cm) wide from the long side of the fabric to make the straps.

Step 2: Iron the Straps

On the ironing board, fold each strap in half length-ways. Open out and fold each side into the central fold and press again. Re-fold. You will have four layers of fabric.

Step 3: Stitch the Straps

Machine stitch on both sides of each strap, just in from the edge.

Step 4: Make the Loop

To make a loop: from the lining fabric, cut one strip 1” (2.5cm) wide and 5” (13cm) long. Fold and iron as for the strap, but only stitch a single row down the centre.

Step 5: Cut Out Bag

Cut out bag: cut two pieces 10 x 12” (25 x 30cm) from the outside fabric and two pieces the same size from the lining fabric.

Step 6: Mark and Pin Sides

Put the right sides (printed sides) together of the outside fabric and pin. Mark the seam line ½” (12mm) from the edge with tailors’ chalk round three sides, leaving the top open. Put the right sides of the lining fabric together. Mark and pin as before.

Step 7: Machine Stitch

Machine stitch the outside fabric.

Step 8: Trim and Press

Trim the corners and press the seams open with an iron, then iron them flat onto the wrong side of the exterior fabric.

Step 9: Mark Out Lining Fabric

Measure in 3” (9cm) from each side at the bottom edge of the lining fabric. Mark a gap 3” (7.5cm) wide

Step 10: Stitch Lining Fabric

Stitch the lining fabric as before, but leave a gap at the bottom edge. Backstitch a few stitches when you come to the gap. Press as before.

Step 11: Mark Top Edge

Turn the outside of the bag, so the right side is showing. Mark a line ½” (12mm) from the top edge on each side with tailors’ chalk. Mark a line ½” (12mm) from the top edge on each side of the wrong side of the lining with tailors’ chalk.

Step 12: Mark Position of Loop

Mark the central point on this line and place the loop here, with the raw edges of the loop and of the bag lining up and the loop going downwards. Pin into place, pinning through just one side of the bag.

Step 13: Mark Position of Handles

Measure 2” (5cm) in from the left side seam and the right-side seam on each side and mark with tailors’ chalk. Pin the two ends of a handle at the marked points with the raw edges aligned at the top and the handle going downwards. Pin the other handle to the other side of the bag.

Step 14: Stitch Handles to Bag

Place the bag over the arm of the machine and stitch round the marked line at the top of the bag, securing the handles and the loop as you go.

Step 15: Inserting Bag Into Lining

Drop the outside of the bag, right side showing, down into the lining which should have the wrong side showing.

Step 16: Pin Outside of Bag to Lining

Line up the side seams of the outside and the lining. Pin to secure. Pin the top of the exterior fabric and the lining together all the way round.

Step 17: Stitch Round Top of Bag (again)

Place the bag over the arm of the machine and stitch carefully all the way round, removing pins as you go. (Take care that the handles are well down inside the bag, so only the ends are caught in the seam.)

Step 18: Turn the Bag to the Right Side

Reach in through the gap and the bottom of the lining and carefully pull the bag through.

Step 19: Stitch Up the Gap

Hand stitch the gap in the lining closed.

Step 20: Insert the Lining

Push the lining down into the bag. Press well with an iron.

Step 21: Top-stitch

Add a row of top-stitching around the top edge of the finished bag, stitching through all the layers.

Step 22: Mark Position of Button

Mark the centre of the bag exterior on the side without the loop. Then mark the position of a button at a suitable point on this line, so that when the loop is around the button, the top edges of the bag are held closed.

Step 23: Add Button

Stitch on the button using a double thread. Finish off well.

Step 24: Take Your Bag Out!

This bag is just the right size for a party, a wedding or a night out.

Bag Contest

Participated in the
Bag Contest