Sew and flip fabric strips to a muslin foundation for an eclectic bag with a decidedly feminine flair.

July 29, 2015

Designer: Bari J. Ackerman


• 1⁄2 yard muslin (outside pocket lining, bag front foundation)

• 1⁄4 yard lilac print (bag front)

• 4-2-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" strips assorted prints in pink, cream, and lavender (bag front)

• 1⁄4 yard multicolor print (outside pocket)

• 3⁄4 yard yellow print (bag back, lining, inside pockets)

• 1⁄8 yard yellow tone-on-tone (handles)

• 1⁄2 yard fusible fleece

Finished tote: 12×12"

Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics. Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

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Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for pattern pieces.

From muslin, cut:

• 1 of Pattern A

• 1 of Pattern B

From lilac print, cut:

• 1-5×12-1⁄2" rectangle

From multicolor print, cut:

• 1 of Pattern B

From yellow print, cut:

• 3 of Pattern A

• 2 of Pattern C

From yellow tone-on-tone, cut:

• 2-3-1⁄2×20-1⁄2" strips

From fusible fleece, cut:

• 2 of Pattern A

• 2-3-1⁄2×20-1⁄2" strips

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Assemble Bag Front

1. Place lilac print 5×12-1⁄2" rectangle right side up on muslin A piece, matching centers.

2. Place one assorted print 2-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" strip facedown on lilac print rectangle, matching right-hand raw edges. Stitch in place (Diagram 1).

3. Press assorted print strip open. Matching raw edges, sew another assorted print 2-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" strip to right-hand edge of first assorted print strip (Diagram 2). Press open as before.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to add remaining assorted print 2-1⁄2×12-1⁄2" strips to left-hand side of muslin A piece.

5. Sew a scant 1⁄4" from curved edges of muslin A piece (Diagram 3). Trim strips even with edges of muslin A piece.

6. Fuse one fleece A piece to wrong side of muslin A piece to make bag front.

Make Outside Pocket

1. With right sides facing, join multicolor print and muslin B pieces on all edges, leaving a 3" opening for turning (Diagram 4).

2. Turn right side out through opening; press. Hand-stitch opening closed to make pocket unit.

3. Fold pocket unit in half; finger-press to create a centerline. Mark upper edge 1" on each side of centerline (Diagram 5). Fold marks to center, forming a pleat.

4. Topstitch 1⁄8" from upper edge to secure pleat and make outside pocket.

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Assemble Bag Back

1. Fuse remaining fleece A piece to wrong side of a yellow print A piece.

2. Center outside pocket on fused yellow print A piece 2-1⁄2" from upper edge (Diagram 6). Topstitch pocket in place, leaving upper edge open. Reinforce upper corners with a small stitched triangle to make bag back.

Prepare Handles

1. Fuse a fleece 3-1⁄2×20-1⁄2" strip to wrong side of each yellow tone-on-tone 3-1⁄2×20-1⁄2" strip.

2. With right sides together, sew together long raw edges of a Step 1 strip (Diagram 7). Turn strip right side out and press, centering seam on underside.

3. Sew five rows of stitching 1⁄4" apart on Step 2 strip to make a handle.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to make a second handle.

Prepare Lining

1. Sew together yellow print C pieces along straight edge. Press seam in one direction, then press yellow print pieces flat so wrong sides are together. Topstitch 1⁄8" from seam along straight edge to make inside pocket.

2. Aligning rounded edges, position inside pocket on right side of a yellow print A piece. Join edges with a scant 1⁄4" seam. Draw a centerline and stitch to divide pocket (Diagram 8), reinforcing at upper edge with a small stitched triangle.

3. With right sides together, sew together Step 2 unit and remaining yellow print A piece, leaving upper edge open and a 4" opening at lower edge for turning, to make bag lining.

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Assemble Bag

1. Referring to Diagram 9, position handle raw ends on right side of bag front, 3" on each side of center. Baste in place. Repeat to add handle to bag back.

2. Sew bag front and back together, leaving upper edge open, to make bag body. Turn right side out.

3. With right sides together, slip bag body into lining, matching side seams (Diagram 10). Sew together upper edges of bag body and lining.

4. Turn bag right side out through lining opening. Machine-stitch opening closed.

5. Insert lining into bag body. Press bag upper edge and topstitch 1⁄8" from upper edge to complete bag.