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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rag Bag Tutorial

 I worked on making my second purse last weekend so I could share with you all how to make one. As I said before, I was at a quilt show earlier in the year and met a great gal named Bobbie. Her business is A Vision to Remember.   I bought her pattern and decided to make some changes to it to suit my needs. If you want to buy Bobbi's pattern go visit her at her etsy shop.  

I chose darker fabrics for this one and I really like the way it turned out.  Are you ready for a tutorial???  Here we go!

Gather together your fabric and trim. Scraps are great for this project because no piece is larger than 9 X 9. You may want to buy a yard of the same fabric to use for the inside if you want the lining to all look the same. 

Here is what you will need:

Sewing machine
Assorted scraps of fabrics that coordinate the way you like.
1 yard of flannel lining fabric
1 yard of fabric for the inside of the bag
Thread to match your fabrics
Various ribbons and trims
Buttons (if desired)
Sharp scissors

Each section of fabric is made up of 3 layers. (1) The outside of the bag, (2) the inner lining and (3) the inside of the bag.  

 You will need to cut out:
4 sets of 3 layers for the fronts of the bag  (I called both these sections the front of the bag because there really is no back side. Both sides are going to be pretty )
16 sets of 3 layers for the sides, the bottom and the top part of the front of the bag on both sides.
4 sets of 3 layers for the top portion of the sides
Now comes the fun part.  Lay out your lace, buttons and trims and decide where you want each piece to go. Remember that after you sew everything together, each section will be an inch smaller because of the seam allowance. 
If you want to add pockets to the inside, do it now. Finish off the edges nicely and sew the pocket to the inside layer and the flannel inner lining. Do not sew it to the outside layer or you will see the stitches.  ( I forget to sew the pockets in when I made the bag for the tutorial, but here is an example from the first bag I made. I used the scalloped edge of the coverlet that I made the bag with.)

Sew your trims to outside layer only using at least a  1/2” seam allowance.  If you don’t allow at least a half inch,  some of your trim will get sewn into the seam rather than all of it showing. 

 This is what both the front sections of my bag look like.
This bag gets put together a little differently than what most of you are used to. Everything is sewed wrong sides together. In other words, You should always be looking at the outside of the bag as you are sewing. You want the raw edges to show.

Using a 1/2” seam allowance and a small stitch, sew the two 2.5 X 9” side pieces togethes well as the two 2.5 X 5” pieces together. Do this to both the sides of the bag.
Cut a slit in the seam 1/2” in on both the long side piece and the short side piece. Be careful not to clip the thread.
Sew both sections of the side piece together. Separate the slit so that the seam can travel between the fabric groove.

Add your trim to the side panel now by sewing as close to the stitched seam as possible. (I did this now, instead of earlier because I wanted the trim to go all the way across, and not get sewn into the seam dividing the piece.)

Sew all your sections together the same way, wrong sides together.   When you are finished you should have 7 sewn sections. (2 sides, the bottom, and 4 front sections for the main body of the bag. 

Now join the rest of your sections. I like to use safety pins to hold the layers of fabric in each section together while sewing.  Always clip the fabric if your stitching is going to be running over the seam. You want the raw seam to always be able to stand up, rather than getting sewed down into a section.  Sew all 4 sides together.
Lay your bag flat and trim off any bits of the layers that are sticking out, so you get a nice clean edge on the bottom.

Pin the bottom onto the bag, and sew together. This is the most difficult part of the project, but if you take your time, you should be fine.

Now cut 4- 2.5 X 28” pieces of fabric for the handles,  (I used the same fabric as the main body of my bag) and 2 - 2.5 X 28” pieces of flannel inner lining.

Sew the 3 layers together on the long sides using  the same 1/2” seam allowance. Do this for both handles.

Insert your handles into the top of the bag between the lining and the flannel inner lining. Pin everything together and check the handle length. If you need to shorten them, do it now.  Sew a 1/2” seam all around the top of your bag, securing the handles with and extra layer of stitching. (The circles are magnets I added to the bag for a closer. You can get them at most fabric/craft shops)

This next step is why you need a good pair of sharp scissors. About every 1/2” or so clip into the seams all over your bag. Be very careful not to clip the threads. It is a bit of a hand workout after a while, but the results will be worth it!

Now, take one of those nice big emery boards or nail files, and use it to rough up the seam edge. This part is messy because fabric threads will be going everywhere. This is where you really get to see how cool the bag will look.  You can also throw it into the washing machine if you wish. If you don't get the look you want, just go over it with the emery board again.

This is a shot of the inside of the bag, with the hankies I used as pockets. Because I forgot to sew them in in the beginning of the process, I had to hand stitch them in when I was finished.
Pin on a fabric rosette if you wish and you are finished!!

This is the other side.

And this is the white one again.  I hope I made the tutorial easy to understand. It's really not a complicated bag to make, there are just a lot of steps!! I hope you have fun. I would love to know if you make one and see what you have created!!


www.MaisonStGermain.com said...

Your bags are gorgeous!!!!And how generous of you to give a tutorial. Thank you:)
~Debra xxx
Capers of the vintage vixens

Alabaster Rose Designs said...

Oh my goodness Karen,
This is so fabulous! It looks so beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial, I'm not sure how successful I would be at it, but I just might try it!
Have a lovely night.

Charlene said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you for the tutorial because as you know I adored your bag! I sooooooo want one of these. I am going to whip it up... well maybe not whip. Cindy & I will be wishin you were with us Saturday when we go to the Glitter Market on Saturday... Girls Road Trip! We may just have to call you to say HEY! HUGS!

PS... Can I borrow a few Round Top photos from you because I haven't gotten a CD of them from you. THANKS!

Jeanie Callaghan said...

That's a perfectly gorgeous bag! And you are so nice to give such a comprehensive tutorial! I envy your sewing talent!

Victorian1885 said...

Beautiful..thanks for sharing!


Petite Michelle Louise said...

gorgeousness at its best!!

bobbie said...

Will you be making some to sell for those of us who can't sew a stitch?!?!
Too gorgeous!!!

Creative Grammie said...

Another gorgeous purse! I just love it! Thank you for a great tutorial! I can't wait to give this a try. It'll take me a few weeks to decide on the fabric, let alone embellishments. TFS
Warm hugs to you.

Margo said...

AW Man! I don't have a sewing machine...and can't sew!!! I want one though...hmmm...how to get one....It's really gorgeous Karen, you may have multiple careers going here!

June said...

Karen you are too awesome to be true to share this with us! I HAVE got to try this. I am so in love with your bags!!!!!!!
Thank you so much for this. I know that tutorials take a huge amount of your time to do...so thank you sweetpea!
sending hugs...

Tammy said...

What a wonderful tutorial. You are so organized! I usually forget to photograph a step. Beautiful bags!

Shelly said...

These are Too Too fun! Thank for the Tutorial, sounds like something I'd like to make! Ackkk!

I Hope you post it on your sidebar after the post has been up for a while, I'm sure, there are others like me that would like to come back when they have the time,,,,,(Or in my case not a bazillion OTHER projects currently going on!)

Again, fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

Hugs and love,

Kasia said...

This is beautiful! I absolutely love the bags! And thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I cant stop looking at the first bag! Lovely!


Linda said...

I love the bags! I have made lots of hand bags but never like this. I will definitely have to try this one for sure. Thanks for sharing.....

Jo said...

A mazing!!! what a gorgeous bag!!! thank you for the tutorial Karen!

CAS said...

That is an adorable bag, Karen. I love the fabrics & trims that you chose.

Terri said...

Suz, your bag is gorgeous! I was just watching someone in my sewing class today make one of this type of quilt. Your purse is such a fab version of this! I would really love to try this bag. I adore the white one you made.
You are sooooo talented!
Thank you so much for showing this tutorial with us! I know it was a lot of work. I appreciate it!

Erika said...

WOW I love this bag. x

The English Romantic said...

Hey Karen, That's fab,fab,fab. I'm going to make one but first I have a big wedding to watch. It feels like our whole country is ready for a party really lovely!!

Dorthe said...

Dear Karen- your bags are gorgeus,-oh so many wonderful details, I just love them both-thankyou so much for the wonderful tutorial.

Halle said...

This is awesome. I've made a couple of the rag quilts...why didn't I think to turn it into a bag!?!

Thespa said...

Wonderful! I'm going to have to try this, I've got an old pink chenille bedspread that has seen better days that I want to use pieces of. Thanks for the info!

sonya said...

Hi Karen,
These bags are just gorgeous! The tutorial was very clear and easy to understand. I just love the fabrics you used on both of these bags. You know you should think about making these to sell...lol. I mean in your spare time! ;)

Karen said...

I am so going to do this! But - you know how I loved your bag at Round Top.
Great job with the tutorial. But I think it would be more fun if you came over and we did it together!
Big hugs! Karen

Leah C said...

It's a beautiful bag! If only I could sew;)

Gracefully Vintage said...

So Beautiful-

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Such a sweet bag, I love all the shabby seams showing. Great job.
You have choosen great looking fabrics for each. I have got a tutorial up too that you might like. Stop over for a visit.
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Lucys Baby said...

You are so generous Karen. Thank you so much for this lovely tutorial, I can't wait to make one. I love both bags! I mailed your paint yesterday. (Wisteria) and the Toner. I sent instructions a long, but please call me with any questions.

linnea-maria said...

Oh my G!!! Its absolutely fabulous! Just my style! Thanks for the tutorial! Warm hugs /Therese

imsteelefullofscrap said...

Love it oh I want one thank u so much for taking the time to do a tutorial!!!

Angela Bell said...

LOve the bag!

Cindy Craine said...

Good golly miss molly I love this purse and the wonderful detail you did on the tutorial! How long did this take you!!!!! I am beyond impresses. Still not worthy!!! Yu were missed today! xoxoxo-cin

Vicki said...

Karen these are gorgeous. I typically only sew on paper or bits of lace but with your tutorial, i think I could give it a go!

Milly Axling said...

Thank you your bags are gorgeous !!

~ Regan said...

Beautiful! I just had to come over and see what Shelly was raving about. ;) You are so talented! Thanks so much for the tutorial, I'm bookmarking it right now!~

Riki Schumacher said...

Hi Karen! What an amazing tutorial, wow. Would love to make one of those! Your bag us amazing, and I cannot wait to show off my beautiful apron you made me! Hugs, Riki

Myrna said...

GORGEOUS!! Now if I could just get my sewing machine in for a tune up, I just might try that!! You did a fabulous job!

Tawnya said...

Oh, my, there aren't words.....I love it! The tutorial is great, and I am going through my scraps of lace today, and headed to get fabric tomorrow. Should have one by the weekend! You are the best to offer us such wonderful ideas and teach us how. (I love my pumpkins we made last fall!)
Hugs and more hugs, and thanks!

dottimae said...

Love this bag, it is gorgeous!!

Cheryl said...

What a great project, Karen...I just love it. I am so happy to have found your blog...so much eye-candy and so many creative ideas. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
Cheryl at My Sister's Cottage

debi said...

Karen, I LOVE these gorgeous bags!! Thank you for sharing a tutorial with us. I can't wait to make one!

Liz said...

Oh Boy! Is that ever pretty! I love your choice of fabrics. :)


Sandie's Patch said...

I love both of your bag creations but, I think the white one is my favourite!
Thank you for sharing and the tutorial.

Sandie xx

Cristina Zinnia Galliher said...

Very beautiful! oxoxo Zinnia

Cin said...

Ouw I really love your bag!Thanks so much for sharing the 'how to make' It's so beautifully vintage! You have a fantastic blog too.
I hope I can be part of your follower and you are very welcome to visit and follow my blog http://hakenindie.blogspot.com
Have a blessing day.

fialka012 said...


{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Hi Karen...

I am crazy over that little white bag... I have some leftover mattlasse too so I'm seeing a tote in my future. Thanks so much for sharing the "how-to"..

Are you going to do the "Where Bloggers Create" again this year? I'm thinking I'd better kick it up a notch if you are. Maybe that would be the incentive to actually finish up in there.


Tarnished and Tattered said...

Oh YiPeE! I've been loving that bag of yours since I saw it on a blog after round top. Then when I saw you carry it here I almost stole it while you were at the salad bar! Thank you for doing this tutorial, I'm going to start it today. Don't be surprised if I call with questions, LOL.
Karen I had such a blast at Karlas event. Guess who was there, Mary Green! I love her so much. I have a short break before I start my PC kits & stuff so I think I'll make a cool rag purse to bring along.

acidrain_000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
acidrain_000 said...

I had to sign in under my son's Google account because it was so important to leave a post. The bag is pure awesomeness. It reminds me of VIntage && Urban sewn together. It is so me && I love it. I can't sew. Wish it were a sale item. Love, ^joy^

Suz said...

I just love them. I just wish I were a better seamstress or had someone who could work along with me!

gail said...

Wow Karen,, How pretty and thanks for the tutorial! I will have to find some time to make one of these:) I hope you have a great week. Gail

Storibook Designs said...

Karen, those bags are beautiful!!

Sea Witch said...

Oh, man these are lovely...especially the white one. What a generous thing to do and provide us with a tutorial. I'm jonesing to make these out of vintage fabrics and emblellishment now. Sea Witch

Sherlyn said...

Really awesome work you did ! The bag is beautiful .I wish I can make a bag like that.
Am I Creative?

MosaicMagpie said...

A great bag and a great tutorial!

fairyrocks said...

WOW you have turned 'Sad rags into Glad rags after all'
Spectacular tutorial i am speachless really!!!

bikim said...

so pretty and romantic!
love the colours!
take care,

vicki said...

Hi Karen- your bag made from scraps is adorable- and your directions are perfection and so appreciated. The possibilities are endless! I am in love with the white one!

Char said...

Hi Sweet Karen, I am in love with this bag. After going to the website on etsy, I was confused as to what pattern you used. I need some help with that when you have a chance. I am thinking this pattern is the diaper bag, purse for around $45.00. Is that right? Thanks so much and love what you made. The colors and trim are gorgeous, Char

Miss Sandy said...


What a fantastic project! Maybe I can revisit it this summer when things slow down. The bag is gorgeous!

DaCraftyLady said...

I am definitly going to make one of these I just love it. :) The white especially, since I am a pink person I may make one in pink fabrics, but I have so many in my stash that I had bought to make aprons and then didn't finish them so I think I will make some of these wonderful bags... :)
Thanks for the tutorial

Melissa/Piney Rose said...

This is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

Katherines Corner said...

Wow!!!!! Beautiful, you are so talented. Hugs!

Judy said...

WOW!!! You are amazing!! I love your site. THANK YOU for sharing. Thess bags is beyond fabuous!! TOTALLY AMAZING.

Judy said...

WOW!!! I LOVE these bags. They are beyond AMAZING. Thank you for sharing! GORGIOUS -- GORGEOUS!!

Tora´s Vintage Dream said...

WOW I LOVE these bags. Thank you SO MUCH for the tutorial - I´m really going to make me one in that way. It´s totally awesome.
I´m your newest follower :) if you like you are welcome to visit/follow my blog. Have a great day

MaryAnn said...

Wow I love both bags, I may have to dust off my sewing machine and make one, or more for gifts too! Thanks to the tutorial!

Cheryl De Beer said...

Oh my a 'rag time' bag I love it, love it. This has inspried me to get my sewing machine out of storage and try my hand at one of these. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Musje said...

I fell in love with youre bag,so gorgeous,have a nice week,greetings Joke.

Bohemian said...

Lovely bags! I so enjoy making bags out of Vintage materials and Bohemian Bling... alas, don't know how to use a sewing machine so my process is snail slow! But I can take my trusty needle and thread anywhere to create and so that has been one of the Joys of the creative process in spite of not being able to be the most prolific fabric Artist. *Winks*

Dawn... The Bohemian

Deborah said...

Oh my gosh Karen I saw this on Pinterest and they are so beautiful!
Thank you so much for the tutorial..I would love to try my hand at this!!
Just gorgeous and so shabby-chic!

Deborah :)

Debbie Pender said...

Karen...i love reading your blog..and appreciate your help in creating a blog for me.

Debbie Pender said...

Karen...i love reading your blog..and appreciate your help in creating a blog for me.

Lynn said...

Amazing! Love, love, love..Best tutorial ever! Thank you.

Lynn said...

Amazing! Love, love, love..Best tutorial ever! Thank you.

Sue said...

I just want to thank you for this wonderful tutorial. It seems so easy the way you explain it! Keep on creating beauty! :-)

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