My grandma lives in Wyoming, which is very far from Oregon, so I don’t get to see her often, but I make sure to send her something on her birthday so she knows I’m thinking of her. Last year I found a piece of fabric that completely reminded me of her, so I bought it without having any idea what I would make from it.
As her birthday drew closer, it came to me. I know she likes to go shopping sometimes, and she’s also a reader, so a bag to carry a book and a few other small things would be perfect. I wanted the fabric print to be the star, so I kept the bag simple, but added a little ruffle at the top to up the girliness a bit. This tote is also reversible, although I guarantee my grandma will only use it with the girl print facing out.
To make this bag, you’ll need 2/3 yard of the outer fabric, 2/3 yard of the inner fabric and 1/2 – 1 yard of iron-on interfacing, depending on your fabric weight and whether you want your bag to be reversible.
From the outer fabric, cut 2 pieces 14 x 14” for the bag, one piece 6 x 13” for the inside pocket and two pieces 3 1/2 x 24” for the handles.
From the lining fabric, cut 2 pieces 14 x 14” for the inside of the bag, one piece 6 x 13” for the outer pocket and two pieces 2 1/2 x 42” for the ruffle.
Cut 2 pieces of interfacing 14 x 14” if your fabric is lightweight and 4 pieces if you plan to make it reversible.
Iron the interfacing onto the back of the outer bag pieces. To make the outer pocket, fold the piece right sides together. Stitch 1/4” from the edge, leaving 2” open on one side to turn. Clip the corners, turn and press. Repeat with the other pocket piece to make the inner pocket.
Pin the front pocket to the outer bag piece 3 1/2” from the top edge and centered side to side. Stitch close to the edge. Repeat with the inside pocket and the bag lining.
Pin the two outer bag pieces right sides together. Stitch sides and bottom, leaving top open. Repeat with the lining pieces, leaving 5” open in the side seam for turning later. Clip the corners. To make the boxed bottom in the bag, flatten the corner with the seams touching. Measure 2” from the corner and draw a line across. Stitch along the line.
Trim off the corners. Repeat with lining. Turn the lining right side out.
To make the handles, fold in half and stitch, leaving the ends open. Turn and press. Top stitch near the seam edge. Set aside.
To make the ruffle, fold wrong sides together and press. Fold the ends back out and stitch to each other with right sides together and ends even.
Fold again and press. Stitch a long basting stitch near the raw edge through both layers, starting and stopping at the seam. Find the center opposite the seam and mark it with a pin.
Pin the ruffle to the lining, matching the seam to one side seam and the pinned center to the other. Raw edges should be even.
Carefully pull the basting thread to gather the ruffle. Stop at the pin and gather from the other side. Even out the gathers and pin in place.
Stitch, less than 1/4” from the edge so you don’t have to remove any stitching later. Otherwise, use a basting stitch so it will be easier to remove.
Stuff the lining inside the bag so they are right sides together. Match seams and upper edges. Slip the handles in between, 4” away from the seam on each side. Pin.
Stitch around edge. Turn by pulling everything through the opening in the lining side seam.
It should look like this:
Turn the edges of the lining opening in, press and stitch to close. If your bag will be reversible, sew it by hand using an invisible stitch. Push the lining into the bag. Press the upper edge, avoiding the ruffle, and stitch near the edge.
I liked the pattern so much, I made one for a friend for Christmas also. Both sides are shown here.
I got a sweet note in the mail from my grandma telling me how much she loves her bag, which makes me happy. Now I think I’ll make one for myself!