mandy munroe

stitching, quilting, fabric, projects

Simple Book Bag Tutorial

Last weekend I was invited to give a talk at Oast Quilters in Canterbury. Remembering a few blog tutorials I had been asked to write along my sewing/quilting journey, this simple book bag came to mind. The fabrics were designed by Hoodie Crescent, you know I can’t resist a stripe. It’s lightweight, perfect for the beach, so I thought I’d repost it, in time for the summer 🙂

Simple Book Bag


Great to protect your book when travelling and easy to grab on the way out of the door!

You will need

17” wide x 12” bag fabric

17” long x 2 ½” for the handles (x two)

matching thread, pins, a coin and a pencil


1.  To create an enclosed French seam, fold main fabric in half (WS) wrong sides together.
2.  Use the coin to mark the rounded corners at the bottom. Judge a ¼” seam allowance  all  the way around coin on raw corner and only at the bottom on the fold.


3.  Using a slightly less than 1/4” seam, stitch down side and across bottom, rounding the corners as you go.
4.  Trim corners to reduce bulk, turn through and press.
Stitch a slightly bigger seam following the line of the first. Backstitch at the fold to secure.

5.  Check seam is enclosed and trim any stray threads.


6.  Neaten top while wrong side out. Press top out ¼” then 1 ½”.
Pin, lining up stripes.


7.  Remove the table from your machine, slip bag over arm and stitch 1/8” from folded bottom edge. Overlap stitching and sew in ends. Leave wrong side out.


8.  For handles, press fabric strips over ¼” along length on one side. Fold opposite edge over so folded raw edges meet. Press, lining up stripes.


9.  Press first edge over another ¼” on top and stitch down. Press. This becomes the wrong side for this project and is an alternative to the turned tube method (also used for Bow Tie strap).


10.  With bag wrong side out measure 1” from each side edge and mark with a pin (x4). Fold over ends of each handle ¼” to RS and line up outside edge of handle with pin. Pin one handle each side of bag, taking care not to twist.


11.  Stitch each handle, anchoring around edges then diagonally across centres for strength. Sew in ends, turn bag through and press.


Not so simple book bag option

Work those stripes and piece the 17” x 12” bag fabric before you start.


Cut fabric 6”wide x 12”high with horizontal stripes and 12” x 12” with vertical stripes

Join with WS together and enclose raw edges with a French seam as before.

Trim to 17” x 12” and follow instructions above.

Would you add a yo-yo?


Is three too many?


Tutorial by mandy Munroe for Newcastle Fabrics 2013


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This entry was posted on May 15, 2017 by in Bags, Projects and tagged , .
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