Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Quick Bag Tutorial

Pretty Linen Bag


This is a repeat posting about two years old.  I was inspired to post it when realising that it had been little read and not commented upon. It seemed a shame not to share it with you!
I found two pretty tea-towels in a faded linen rosebud design and  I felt that they would make a lovely little bag. I decided to try something simple and made it up as I went along ... that's me ...

Firstly, I drew a design ...


Secondly, I cut the main body of the bag and the lining ... one tea towel for each. If I had thought more carefully about it I would have chosen different fabrics for body and lining, merely because it is easier to photograph and it makes the instructions easier to follow. It also saves a certain amount of confusion!

Body Of Bag - Cut Four
The measurements I have given are for a small shoulder bag or large bag for a child or teen. I have left the seam at the bottom of the tea towel/bag in place to add more strength and body to the finished bag. I also left the seamed edge of the tea towel for the top of the pocket (because I am lazy!) The actual linen was rather stiff so I did not need to pad the bag.

Pocket - Cut Two Leaving Seam For Top Of Pocket
At this point I attached the pockets to two of the pieces - pockets for both inside and outside of the bag.

Back Of Bag To Show Pocket Sewing Line
The pocket sits centrally and lines up with the bottom seam. It has a central dividing stitch as the pockets will actually go either side of the finished bag ... this will become clear in a moment.

Front Of Bag To Show Pocket Sewing Line
Lay two pieces facing each other (one with pocket and one without) and sew the side seams together (between stars on the design drawing). Do not sew the bottom of the bag at this point. Do this both for the bag and the lining.

Now to turn all of the above on its head! The 'front' and 'back' are both actually the sides! Turn the bag as in the following picture.

Line Seams And Sew Bottom Of Bag
Line up the seams and sew the bottom of the bags - DO NOT FORGET TO LEAVE A 4" GAP in one to be able to turn bags inside out. You should now have two identical pieces, each sewn into matching bags ... one for the outer and one for the lining. You will now see that the pockets go around the bag. It would be wise to place the inner and outer bags (right sides facing) with the pockets on either side ... this will reduce bulkiness and make the bag less lop-sided when it is finished.

Line Seams And Pin

Now to make a loop for the button closure. Cut a piece of fabric about 7" by 3/4" (I used a seam of the tea towel for stiffness). Turn and sew into 1/4" wide strip. Pop this strip/loop between the bags in appropriate place and pin ends securely in place.

Sew Together Then Snip!
Sew all around the top of the bag and up the straps leaving the ends of the strap open. Double sew the area around the loop. Now snip all around the curve right up to the sewing line. Now turn the bag inside out through the 4" gap opening and push the lining (with the opening) to the bottom of the bag.

Almost Complete Bag
Now for some finishing touches. Join top of handles together and decorate if desired. Sew opening in the lining together by hand stitching neatly - or by machine if you prefer. Now top stitch all around the bag close to the seams. Find a pretty button and place on bag. - mine is an interesting 'horn' button given me by a friend (thank you S x).  I also made a simple flower to sit on the shoulder strap and cover the join, which I machine stitched together.

Pretty Flower
Finished Bag
Enjoy your pretty bag. Recycling at its best!


  1. Thanks for re-posting this as it is a great way to use tea towels that are too nice to dry up with!

  2. How clever! I prefer towelling tea towels but the nicest ones seem to be linen, ths is a great excse to buy pretty tea tools that I won't use! Thank you, are you ok with me pinning it so I can keep it eith my "I want to try" projects?


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