Tag Archive for purse

Mosaic Tiles Messenger Bag Tutorial with Katy of The Littlest Thistle

Hi, I’m Katy from The Littlest Thistle, and I’m really happy to be here today with another Mosaic Tiles block project from Lindsay’s new book, Modern Bee.

I know how hard Lindsay worked to make her book dream become a reality, and I’m delighted that it came together in such a lovely book. For my stop, well, I’m a bag lady at heart, so I’m afraid my project was only ever going to find its way into a bag somehow!  I love how this Mosaic Tiles block isn’t a traditional symmetric block, making it a perfect project to put on a bag for a nice, modern young lady.  It finishes up at 12″ x 12″ x 3″, with an adjustable strap and a simple button closure.


To make this bag, you will need:

  • Scraps for coloured squares in the block
  • 1 yd main outer fabric
  • 1 yd lining fabric
  • 1 1/2 yds 35″ wide OR 2 1/2 yds 22″ wide fusible woven interfacing, such as Vilene G700 or Pellon SF-101 Shapeflex
  • 1 1/2 yds thick fusible fleece, such as Vilene H640 or Pellon TP971F Fusible Thermolam
  • 1 large button
  • 1 1 1/2″ strap slider + 2 1 1/2″ rectangular rings to match
  • 1 14″ zip  (please note that mine was longer and had to be cut down)

From this, you will need to cut:

From scraps:
  • 9 x 2 1/2″ squares
From main outer fabric:
  • 2 x 2″ WOF strips, subcut one to get 1 x 1 1/2″ x 11″ strip for side of flap
  • 1 x 1 1/2″ x 11″ strip for side of flap
  • 1 x 1 1/2″ x 13″ strip for bottom of flap
  • 1 x 4 1/2″ x 13″ piece for top of flap
  • 1 x 13″ x 16″ for flap lining – O1
  • 1 x 13″ x 13″ for back – O2
  • 1 x 10 3/4″ x 13″ for bottom of front zip pocket – O3
  • 1 x 3″ x 13″ for top of front zip pocket – O4
  • 3 x 4″ x 13″ for base and sides – O5
  • 1 x 6″ x WOF for strap – O6
  • 2 x 3″ x 6″ for strap ends – O7
From lining fabric:
  • 3 x 13″ x 13″ for back/front/back of front pocket – L1
  • 1 x 10 3/4″ x 13″ for bottom of front zip pocket – L2
  • 1 x 3″ x 13″ for top of front zip pocket – L3
  • 3 x 4″ x 13″ for base and sides – L4
  • 1 x 7″ x 13″ for lining patch pocket – L5
From fusible woven interfacing:
  • 2 x 13″ x 16″ for flap – W1
  • 2 x 13″ x 13″ for back/back of front pocket – W2
  • 1 x 10 3/4″ x 13″ for bottom of front zip pocket – W3
  • 1 x 3″ x 13″ for top of front zip pocket – W4
  • 3 x 4″ x 13″ for base and sides – W5
  • 1 x 6″ x WOF for strap – W6
  • 2 x 3″ x 6″ for strap ends – W7
From fusible fleece:
  • 1 x 12″ x 15″ for flap – F1
  • 2 x 12″ x 12″ for back/back of front pocket – F2
  • 1 x 9 3/4″ x 12″ for bottom of front zip pocket – F3
  • 1 x 2″ x 12″ for top of front zip pocket – F4
  • 3 x 3″ x 12″ for base and sides – F5


Preparing the pieces:

Fuse the fusible woven interfacing onto the back of the fabric pieces according to the manufacturer’s instructions:

  • 1 x W1 -> O1
  • 1 x W2 -> O2
  • 1 x W2 -> 1 x L1
  • W3 -> O3
  • W4 -> O4
  • 3 x W5 -> 3 x O5
  • W6 -> O6
  • 2 x W7 -> 2 x O7
Centre the following on the back of each fabric/woven interfacing piece, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance all the way round, then fuse according to the manufacturer’s instructions:
  • 1 x F2 -> O2
  • 1 x F2 -> L1
  • F3 -> O3
  • F4 -> O4
  • 3 x F5 -> 3 x O5

Making the bag:

Please note that there is a 1/2″ seam allowance (SA) unless otherwise stated.  Remember to back stitch at either end!

1. Using the 2″ strips of the outer fabric, and the 2 1/2″ squares, assemble the block as per the instructions in the book with a 1/4″ SA:

2. Add the two 1 1/2″ x 11″ strips to either side of the block, then the 1 1/2″ x 13″ strip at the bottom, and the 4 1/2″ x 13″ piece at the top all using a 1/4″ SA.  Press your seams really well, then fuse the remaining W1 piece to the back, followed by the F1 piece.

3. Take your zip and work out where the tape meets the side of piece O3.  Make a small mark, then make a few stitches at that point to keep the tape together when assembling the pocket – make sure the zipper is on the correct side of the stitches!


4. Turn your zip face down on top of piece O3, making sure the teeth are 1/2″ from the edge of the fabric, then tack in place close to the edge of the tape:

5. Place lining piece L2 face down on top of piece O3, right sides together (RST) sandwiching the zip in between, and stitch in place:

6. Flip both pieces of fabric away from the zip, so that they are wrong sides together (WST) and top stitch along the edge of the fabric near the zip teeth.

7. Take the zip, and place face down on top of piece O4,  making sure the teeth are 1/2″ from the edge of the fabric, then tack in place close to the edge of the tape:

Zip facing down
Zip facing up

8.  Place lining piece L3 face down on top of piece O4, RST, sandwiching the zip in between, and stitch in place:

9. Flip both pieces of fabric away from the zip, so that they are WST and top stitch along the edge of the fabric near the zip teeth.

10. Place pocket on top of piece L1 which has had the fusible interfacing/fleece applied so that the lining pieces are RST, then tack all the way round about 1/4″ from the edge. Trim any excess zipper tape at this point.

11. Take one piece O5, and placing it so that the short edges are top and bottom, draw a line 1/2″ up from the bottom right hand corner between the fusible fleece and the edge:

12. Place marked piece O5 RST on top of the front pocket piece at the right hand side and sew from the very top down to the marked line and stop there.

13. Repeat with piece O2 and another piece O5, marked in the same way as in step 11.  Note that it will also be on the right hand side.

14. Place the pieces from steps 12 and 13 and place them RST.  Mark the bottom right hand corners of pieces O2 and the outer pockets as per step 11, and stitch together at both sides down to the marked line.  You should now have a tube shaped piece.

15. Take the remaining piece O5 and make a mark 1/2″ in from each side at each corner:


16. Taking the remaining piece O5, place RST with the pocket side of the tube, matching the long edges.  Note that you will need to pin the sides out of the way.  Going only between the corner marks, stitch together.

17. Work your way round, doing one short side next, then the back, then the remaining short side, ensuring that you only sew between the marks each time.

18. Trim the excess fabric away from each side at each bottom corner:


Note that I approach the corner at a shallow angle, to ensure no overlap when the bag is right sides out

19. Turn the bag right sides out:

20. Take one piece O7 and fold in half, matching short edges, and press.  Then fold the short edges into the centre and press.  Repeat with the remaining piece O7.

21. Stitch all the way around each piece 1/8″ from the edge, starting at one short edge, then coming down the open edge before going across the bottom and up the folded edge.

22. Fold piece O6 as per step 20, except matching the long edges together.  Fold each end in by 1/2″ and press.

23. Stitch all the way around as per step 21.

22. Draw a line 1/2″ in from the top stitching at one end of the strap, then join the opposite corners with diagonal lines.  Loop that end of the strap over the cross bar of the slider by 1 1/2″ so that the marked lines are facing upwards.  Following the top stitching already there, stitch round he rectangle twice, using the drawn line as the 4th side, then sew up one diagonal line, across the top and down the other diagonal, and repeat:

23. Take one piece O7 and thread through one rectangle ring, matching short edges.  Centre on the side of the bag, and stitch in place 1/4″ from the edge, going back and forth along the line 3 or 4 times for security.

24. Repeat with remaining piece O7 and rectangular ring, then set bag aside.

25. Place the block flap piece RST with piece O1 and all the way around, leaving the top edge  completely open.  Trim the corners as per step 18, then turn right side out:

26. Press and top stitch round the 3 stitched sides 1/8″ from the edge, then tack the top edge closed 1/4″ from the edge

27.  Make a mark in the centre of the flap 3/4″ from the bottom

28.  Using the buttonhole stitch on your machine, make a buttonhole big enough for your chosen button

29. Place the flap RST with the back of the bag, matching raw edges and tack in place 1/4″ from the edge.


30. Take piece L5 and fold in half RST, matching short edges, and sew all round open edges, leaving a 2″ gap for turning.  Trim the corners as per step 18 and turn through the gap.  Push out the corners and press.

31.  Place pocket on top of one piece L1, centred and 4″ down from the top, with the folded edge uppermost, then top stitch along the sides and bottom of the pocket 1/8″ from the edge.

32.  Assemble the bag lining in the same was as the outer from steps 11 to 18, making sure that on one long side of the base you leave a gap 7″ long for turning.

33.  Place the outer bag inside the lining bag and pin in place carefully all the way round, making sure the edges match.

34. Stitch all the way round, then turn the bag through the opening in the base of the lining.  Press in place, then top stitch 1/8″ from the edge all the way round the top of the bag:

35. Thread the strap through one rectangle ring, back through the slider, and finally through the remaining ring with a 1 1/2″ foldover.  Stitch in place as per step 22.

36. Ladder stitch or slip stitch the opening in the lining closed.

37. Sew your button onto the front of the front pocket of the bag, then stand back and admire your bag:



Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along This post is part of the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along, which you can read about here! You can enter your project any time between now and February 14, 2014 for a chance to win some great prizes. We hope you’ll join us in this beginner-friendly and stress-free quilt along.

Giveaway! Bag Patterns from ChrisW Designs

Today, we’re excited to offer one Craft Buds reader the chance to win 3 PDF patterns of their choice from ChrisW Designs!

Australia-based designer Christine makes some of the cutest handbags, clutches and backpacks around. Here are the three PDF patterns I would choose if I could pick just three!

The Amy Backpack would be great for a boy or a girl…just change up the fabrics! Includes a large zippered pocket, elastic front pocket and two side pockets for loads of storage.

The Olivia Handbag makes a great everyday purse with metal rings hardware, two front-flap pockets and a recessed zipper in the top to keep all of your belongings safe and sound.

For a simple “grab and go” bag, The Emma makes perfect sense. This cute shoulder bag has a magnetic snap closure and would be great for little girls as well as adults.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One lucky winner will receive their 3 favorite patterns from ChrisW Designs. Good luck, and be sure to check out Christine’s blog to stay in touch!

Designing Patterns for a Craft Book: Kay Whitt

Kay Whitt I’m pleased to introduce Kay Whitt, author of Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear (F+W Media).

Kay’s new book Sew Serendipity Bags is all about sewing purses and totes! For the last decade, she’s also designed and sold her sewing patterns through an online shop. She’s carved out a niche for herself in the design world by being true to her style. I love these Q&As because there is so much to learn from each other’s experiences.

Kay, I see that your first design at Serendipity Studio was released in 2001. How did you get started designing patterns?

I have sewn all of my life. My mom taught me to sew when I was a young girl and I have had needle in hand ever since then. We always manipulated commercial patterns to suit our needs as I was growing up, so I understood how pieces came together as a whole. It wasn’t long until I was dabbling on my own to create patterns, so I did this sort of thing informally throughout my youth.

I have a degree in education and spent the first nine years of my professional career as an elementary school teacher. While teaching school, I continued to create and sew, sometimes selling my creations to coworkers during the holidays. That was my springboard for jumping into pattern design when I was looking for a change in profession.

Sew Serendipity Bags

I talked with shop owners and showed them my work, asking if the type of sewing I did would make for a good pattern. With their support and enthusiasm, I started the company in the spring of 2001.

I also resigned from teaching that year to focus solely on the pattern business and creating designs. I began with appliqué driven design work and evolved into formal clothing drafting of pattern pieces in 2005 with the aid of some drafting software. I am living proof that you don’t have to have a degree in art or design to make the magic happen!

Sew Serendipity Bags Sew Serendipity Bags

Can you tell us what we can expect to see in your book Sew Serendipity Bags?

Sew Serendipity Bags is just that . . . a book with 12 unique bag designs! I have included variations with some of the bags, so you are really getting 20 bags if you account for size and handle changes.

The book is split into three project sections: simple, intermediate, and challenging, so there is something for the beginner bag maker to a very experienced one. I also included my favorite techniques for bag making in a photographed section.

Just like in the first book, I have hand illustrated all of the construction steps in the instructions. The styled photography of the finished bags is just beautiful and I am so excited to share this new book with everyone!

Sew Serendipity Bags

How do you come up with inspiration for new patterns? Once you have an idea in mind, what are the steps involved in releasing a new pattern for your shop?

I am inspired by a lot of things. Sometimes it is a piece of fabric, sometimes an article of clothing seen on TV, the Internet, or in a magazine. I let my brain work on it for a while and eventually a design is born. This happens a lot at night when I would rather be sleeping, but my brain is ready for work! I usually start with a rough sketch, then begin drafting those pieces into my software so that I can work through a prototype in fabric until the design is how I want it. As with anything, some designs go easily and some require more work. I love working that part out until it matches the vision that I originally had for the design.

Sew Serendipity Betty June dress

Speaking of the “business side” of your creative business, what do you find to be the greatest challenge? And, what’s the best part of running your own business?

The greatest challenge is to try and stay on top of everything at once! I still pretty much do it all myself, so between processing orders, thinking about new designs and working through those, talking with customers, visiting shops, and oh yeah….writing books, I stay pretty busy! The very best part of running my own business is that it is so flexible. I can move my schedule to suit my personal needs. I also love that the business’ direction is charted by my personal drive and instinct for design.

What is your number one tip for running a creative business?

The number one tip I have is to develop a unique style and do it well. It becomes a sort of signature for your work. People know my designs without having to look at the information on the pattern! It is always best not to try and “be” anyone else. Stay true to your own style and trust your instincts.


Thanks Kay! We are excited to offer a copy of Kay’s new book, Sew Serendipity Bags, to one lucky winner! To enter, just leave a comment on this post about bags, totes or purses. What do you like? Winner will be announced Friday, Oct. 7. This giveaway is now closed.

Upcycle: Shirt to Purse

I love all the details you find in clothes: the little buttons, pleats and seams. I wanted to come up with a way to use those details to give some thrifted shirts new life. So I designed two purse patterns that use those fun details to their advantage.

In this tutorial, I’ll be featuring the instructions and pattern for the pink shirt and the tote bag. You can find the instructions and pattern for the brown/green shirt over at my other blog, Bugglebee Handmade.

The shirt I’m using in my pattern is a petite XL. Depending on the shirt you’re using, you may need to scale down the pattern a bit.


  1. One long-sleeved shirt
  2. 1/2 yard fusible fleece
  3. 1/2 yard fabric for lining (I used a heavier weight home dec fabric)
  4. 82″ canvas strap

First you’ll cut out all the pieces. The following two photos show all the pieces together and also where each piece came from. The numbers correspond to the list below.

  1. Using the free PDF pattern from Google Docs here, cut two each from the shirt (top and bottom of the back side of shirt), fusible web, and lining fabric for the main body of the tote. The pattern is 2 pages. You’ll want to print both pages out, line up the dots and tape them together. In your browser the PDF preview may show the pages are cropped. If you are having problems printing the whole pattern through Google Docs, use your mouse to click on File (left side of screen), then choose “download original.” Open the downloaded document and try printing again.
  2. but once you download it, it  will show correctly.
  3. Cut one 9 3/8″ x 4″ rectangle from the shirt, fusible web, and lining fabric for the tote bottom.
  4. Cut two 13.5″ x 4″ rectangles from the shirt and fusible web, and four from the lining fabric for the sides. I cut the shirt fabric horizontally from the front of the shirt with the button 1/3 of the way in. This piece will become a pocket.
  5. Cut off the bottom 8.5″ sleeves including the cuff. Use the slit in the cuff and cut it open into a rectangle and remove any buttons. Mine is 10.5″ wide but it will vary by shirt. Also cut a 8.75″x10.5″ rectangle from the liner fabric.

Now that you’ve got all your pieces ready, let’s prep the outer pocket. For the front pocket, fold over the top 1/4″ of the liner fabric and iron it down.  then with wrong sides together, stitch the tops together. Then, flip the fabric so right sides are together. Line up the bottom of the two fabrics and stitch them together. Then turn it right side out.

Next, you’ll stitch together the strips for the sides and bottom of the tote. Line up the strips from the shirt face side down (side, bottom, side). Place the liner strips on top of the two side strips (these will line the side pockets seen in the photos at the bottom of the post) and sew them all together with right sides together.

Then with right sides together, sew the side/bottom strip to one of the main body pieces. I found it easier to line up the center and sew from the center out to the top. Then I went back and did the other side. Then sew on the other main body piece (not pictured) and turn it right side out.

Stitch the pocket on along the bottom seam. The pocket will still have raw edges.

Iron the fusible fleece to the liner strips for the sides and to the main body pieces. Line up the side strips (side, bottom, side) and sew them together. Then sew that strip to the main body pieces using the same method as the exterior. Trim off any excess material around the seam allowance.

Now nestle the liner inside the exterior of the bag. Fold the tops inside 1″ and stitch around the top with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

You’re almost done and just need to add the strap! Make sure the strap isn’t twisted and overlap the edges by 1/8″. Zig zag stitch back and forth over the strap until the raw edges are secured. The strap will now be one big loop.

Line up strap with the raw edges of the front pocket. Start by pinning down the zig zagged seam on your strap to the bottom of the bag. Then pin down the sides. Stitch along both sides of each canvas strap and make an X at the top of each strap. (Before I stitched down the straps, my husband pointed out that the front pocket didn’t stand out so I went back and added the pink strip to the top.)

And you’ve made a shirt into a tote! I really like the pleats from the sleeve on the front pocket and the side pockets from the front of the shirt. The side pockets are mostly just for show. In my pattern they’re too narrow to fit much. If you want them to be more functional make the side/bottom strips wider.

Online Sewing Class

Petite Purse + Wallet and Flower Mini Tutorial

I made this purse, wallet and optional flower for my contribution for a silent auction. The purse is the “Buttercup Bag” sewing pattern that you can get (free!) at the Made by Rae site. If you haven’t found Rae’s site yet, it’s amazing and you should go take a look around! The bag has a magnetic closure and a pocket inside and little pleats around the outside. I’d recommend either using a heavier weight fabric or some fusible fleece between the layers to give it a little weight.

The wallet and flower were both things I made up as I went along. For the flower, I used fusible web and ironed together some of the blue and brown fabrics. Then I cut out five 1″ squares. Then (like origami) I folded the sides in so they met in the middle. I did that to all five squares and ironed them flat. Then I cut out a 1″ circle, stacked everything up and hand stitched it all together with a button in the center. I put a safety pin on the back so the user could put it on the strap, the purse, or choose not to use it at all.

For the wallet, I measured out two strips of fabric 5 1/2″ wide by 9 1/2″ long. Then on one side, I cut the last 2″ of the length into a triangle. Next I put right sides together and stitched all around the wallet, leaving an opening at the bottom and using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Then snip the corners and turn it right side out and iron it flat.

Stich along the open edge to close it up. Then fold over the bottom to make a pocket and stitch down the sides.

To finish it off I stitched a decorative button to the flap and put a snap underneath which you can see in the second photo from the top of the post.


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