Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer is in the Bag

Women love purses because they always fit.

 Can a woman have too many purses?

Think of the endless possibilities.

I got this fun idea to create ruffled bags.  Everyone who has seen them wants one.  They want to use them as diaper bags, beach bags, travel bags and purses.  I auctioned two off for a charity auction. Here are the directions.  This little lady toting the all white bag bought this purse at the auction with her own money!

Every age loves a purse.

 Ruffled Bag

1 ready made canvas tote bag - I used one measuring 18x13 inches (The all white bag was a little smaller.)
1/4 yard of 4-5 fabrics or 1 1/4 yard of one fabric

 Start by removing the handles and cutting down the side of a ready made canvas tote bag to open it up.  If your bag has a top zipper remove it just by cutting it off.  The top of the bag will be covered.


Next measure the width of the bag and multiply it by 2.  This will give you the measurement around the entire bag.  Then cut a piece of fabric that is 5 inches by two times the width of your bag. My bag was 18 inches so my first piece of fabric was 5x36 inches.

 Serge one long edge of this piece of fabric.  You could make this without a serger by turning the edge under and sewing it in a narrow seam.  Sew this piece with the raw edge 3/4 inch away from the top edge of your bag.

Turn this strip of fabric to the outside of the bag and press.  Sew 1/4 to 3/8 inch away from serged edge all around the bag.  This will make the top strip of your bag.

Next is the fun part!  You will want 3 or 4 ruffles.  Measure from the line of sewing you just did to the bottom of your bag to determine how wide to make your ruffles.  On the 18x13 inch bag, for three ruffles, I made the top one 4 inches and the next two 4 1/2 inches because there will be a little overlap. 

 Cut the fabric into strips that are twice the entire circumference of the bag  by the desired height of the strip - i.e. the 18 inch bag is 36 inches around, so I would cut a strip that is 72 inches x 4 inches.  Serge both edges and run a gathering stitch about 1/2 inch from the top of the strip.  Mark the strip into fourths and mark the bag into fourths also so that your ruffles will be even around the bag.  Pin the ruffle around the bag and sew it on with about a 3/8 inch seam, covering the serged edge of your first strip.

 After you have sewn the top ruffle on, use your straight edge to mark the placement of the next ruffle.  Place the straight edge 1/4 inch under the bottom of the top ruffle, making sure that it is level with the top and bottom of the bag.  

Mark with a pen.  Turn the bag over and mark the back side making sure that the lines meet up at the sides.

Repeat this process with the two remaining ruffles (or more if you decided to do more).  Remove the gathering stitches from each ruffle.

Turn the bag inside out and making sure to line up the ruffles, pin the bag closed.  The bottom ruffle might get caught in the seam, so I stitched the bottom of it, right sides together about 2/3 of the way up the ruffle so it would have a finished edge, then tucked the stitched part into the bag so it wouldn't get caught in the seam. Stitch the bag closed.  Finish the edge with the serger.  

Turn the bag inside out. 

Measure the width and length of the ready made handles that you previously cut off. You will want about 3/4 to 1 inch more than double the width of your handles to make the seam and have enough room to insert the handles into the fabric tube.  My handles were about 1 inch wide so I cut two strips of fabric 3 inches wide by the length of the handle.  With right sides together, sew the strip up and turn it.  Press flat and using a large safety pin or bobby pin pull  the ready made handle through your fabric.  Press and then finish the edges with your serger.  Place them on the inside of the bag where they were originally placed and sew into place making a rectangle shaped design to secure the handles well.

   Add a flower if desired.  I will give directions for these burnt edge roses another time.

My good friend Lila Tueller designed several of the fabrics on the different bags for Moda. The first bag on the post features all of her fabrics.  Click HERE to view her blog and see more of her beautiful designs and patterns.

On the all white bag at the beginning of this post, I used a white canvas bag and didn't add the top strip. I just placed the first ruffle under the edge of the bag, about 1 inch down.  I used a wrinkled white cotton gauze that doesn't fray much, so I did not serge the edges.  

Have fun with your summer bags!

I am posting this with the following:

Skip to My Lou's Made by You Monday.
The Girl Creative's Just Something I Whipped Up Monday.


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. Love these! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I love these! They are so cute and a girl can never have to many purses!

  3. great purse idea! I do have to ask though... where did you get the awesome tea pot pin cushion? I'm in love with it!

  4. Oh, I love this and so will my daughter. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love these bags! Thank you for the one you made for me and Goldie! You are so talented and giving! Love you

  6. Love these!! They are so cute! I love mine! You are soooo talented! Thanks so much!!=)

  7. I love my bag too! It was very clever of you to come up with these! I guess you got the sewing gene...the decorating gene, the creative gene, the cooking gene.....Joni

  8. Love the Purse!!! Thank you for sharing...
    Katie, XoXo

  9. I came by to wish you an early "Happy Thanksgiving" & stumbled upon this older post, Jacqueline...HOW CUTE are these bags!!
    I ♥ your fabric choices & your tutorial is beautifully done. Thank you SEW much. I WILL be making at least one of these for Christmas gifts.
    Now to go learn how to do those burnt roses, too.

    most appreciative,

  10. These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing! =)


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