Thursday, 1 March 2012

Patchwork Bag

 I made this patchwork bag in four hours in a class at John Lewis Kingston, sponsored by Rowan.

The bag is quite easy to make and consists of 15 strips of cotton fabric (ideally all the same weight). Our fabrics, which are by Amy Butler, were already chosen and cut.  As I love pink,  I was very happy with them.  Amazingly,  although all eight of us on the course had the same fabrics, all the bags looked different according to each person's choice of arrangement.

For the bag you need 15 strips of cotton cut into 2 1/2 " by 22" pieces.  Seam allowances are 1/4".

Lay out your strips in an order that is pleasing to you.
With right sides together, sew the long edges until you have one oblong.  The middle strip (number 8) will be the bottom of the bag.  Don't put your favourite pattern at the bottom as I did.

Once your strips are all sewn,  press the seams going in the same direction.   Now you need to cut your work into four equal pieces vertically.  With right sides all facing you, turn two strips around top to bottom.  With right sides together, stitch the pieces together with 1/4' seams.  Press again. At this point, trim the edges so they are nice and straight.

Layer your work by putting your lining face down on a table.  Sandwich a piece of wadding between the lining and the patchwork, placing the patchwork right side up.  Carefully pin the layers to keep them in place.  Now you can do some stitching on the outside going through all three layers.   Stitch in the ditch of seams 1,4,7,8,11 and 14, leaving 1" from the raw edge.  If you wish, stitch diagonal lines from 1 to 7 making an x.  Do this again between 9 and 14.

This is the tricky bit.  With right sides together, stitch the patchwork piece together at the sides without catching the wadding or the lining. Trim back the wadding, if necessary.  The edges of the wadding should meet but not overlap.

Pin the lining in place at the side edge, overlapping the seam allowance to make a neat finish and hand stitch the edge.

Turn the bag inside out and fold bottom corners to form a little v.  Stitch across the v to make the bottom of the bag sit flat.

Use a long strip of fabric to bind the top of the bag stitching down only one side.  Attach handles and hand stitch the inside of the binding.

If you wish, you can add a button and loop to the top of the bag for security.

I decided to buy bamboo handles, but you could easily make cloth handles from matching fabric.

I have included some rough drawings below to clarify directions.


  1. Bag looks so pretty and the explanation should be understood by an idiot - sadly I am worse than an idiot and could not follow it - will ask for a personal tutorial! xx

    1. I have added drawings which might help. Annabellouise