Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Reversible Bucket Bag Tutorial

Okay, I had great feedback on my hobo/bucket bag, and a few requests for a tutorial. So a tutorial it is! (Plus, I really wanted to make another. I mean, come on, it really only would have taken one request for me to break out the fabric and sewing machine again!) :)

Here's a little twist though: Today's demonstration is actually for a REVERSIBLE bucket bag, which means you get two bags in one!! If you make one, be sure to stop by and share your link, so I can see it! I love to see different takes on an idea - so show me how you edited the bag to make it your own!

Now, if you remember my other bag, you remember I made it with an old, fleece baby blanket and some new fabric I loved. That was a wintery version. Today's is a summery/fall/springy version with a fabric and an old pillowcase. Yes, we are a green team here on More Than Just Mom! Saving the environment one old piece of fabric/bedding/clothing at a time ;)

You need:
  • One fabric
  • One pillowcase
  • An iron
  • 2 or 4 buttons (or another decorative item)
  • thread colors you like
  • a Needle
  • a glue gun (or fabric glue, or thread and needle)
  • Optional: Velcro or snap  

1) Pick out your fabric. My print is my fabric, my brown is the pillowcase.

2) Either use a purse you have or follow the general outline you see below. You can use a purse you have whose size you like for dimensions. (Remember to allot extra inches all around for seams).

Tip: Use the long, seamed side of the pillowcase for the bottom of the bag - that way, it's already seamed and you don't have to stitch it (time saver!)

3) Use the pillowcase piece to cut out the same shape from your fabric. You can fold your fabric in half for this, since you'll need two pieces.

Hint: Make sure your fabric is big enough for your shape. Lol, I didn't, and had to modify the size of my bag. Make sure on the actual bag cut out pieces, you cut a little scoop at the top so that there are handle like nubs on each side.

4) Now, cut out pockets. Simply cut these in a shape you like. Square, half circle, you can make bucket-like ones - it's up to you. You need two pockets, and two sides to each pocket, so again, folding material in half is helpful.

5) Cut out a length of material from each of your two choices that is the same length as the top of your pockets, and about 4 inches tall (so width is the length of your pockets, height is 4 inches). This will be the trim top to your pockets.

6) Cut out two lengths of material the same length as the side of one of your pieces. These will be your bias tape later. These should be 4-6 inches wide too, depending on how much of a trim you want. You can do this from the opposite fabric than whatever is going to be the outside of your bag.

7) Cut off the end of the pillowcase (the open end) along the seam that connects it to the rest of the pillowcase. Then cut it so it is one long strip instead of a circle. It is the perfect width for a strap, and it's already seamed on one end. Then, judge how long you want your strap. I don't like mine too long, but I do like a bit of a strap since I'm usually carrying a diaper bag too. I cut off a section about two hand lengths long and put it in the scrap pile.

8) Your pieces are all cut; head to the iron.

9) Let's do the bias tape/trim first. Fold each of your long bias tape pieces in half and iron. Now open it up, fold each side into the middle and iron (you now have 3 folds). Now, fold that in half and iron. Do this for the other length. Now do the same for the small pocket length bias strips.

10) Now, lets do the pockets. First, face the fabric pieces right sides together and sew, leaving a small opening. Pull the fabric through and flatten with the iron. This way, both sides of your pocket are the pretty fabric. Do for both pockets. 

11) Now, add the trim to the pockets. Fold it over the top edge of the pocket. Hint: Tuck in the end pieces of the bias tape so they are clean. Pin the strips in place over the tops of the pockets. Sew it down to attach it to the pocket. Use a straight stitch or a zig zag if you want a bit of whimsey.

12) Open up your pillowcase cutout, and pin the pocket in place on the right side of the pillowcase (the wrong side has the ugly seam).

13) Sew into place, leaving a 1/8 - 1/4 inch border.

14) Pin the other pocket on the right side of one of your outside fabric pieces. Sew into place.

15) Sew into place.

16) Place the two outside fabric pieces face to face (right sides facing eachother) and sew the bottom together to make one long piece.

17) Now, pin the pillowcase piece and the outside fabric piece face to face and sew all the way around, leaving a one to two inch opening (depending on the thickness of your material) to pull it through.

18) Once pulled through, sew the opening closed. Now, fold the bag in half (with the fabric you want on the primary outside facing out. Pin the bias strips you made in place.

Tip: If you want the ends to fold up about halfway, like many bucket/hobo bags, then start the bias tape halfway up the side of the bag. For this one, I just wanted to bend in the very bottom. You can see from my other bag, I started the bias tape halfway up.

19) Sew the bias tape in place, all the way up the sides of the handle nubs.

20) Once done with both sides, get your strap ready. Fold it in half, right sides facing, sew down the length, and pull it through so it is a long (or short!) strap.

21) Now, fold the edges inward, so they are clean. Now fold your bag in half the opposite way of how it normally lays (so the binding is in the center). And take this piece and place it over the strap nub on the purse. Sew into place.

22) Do the same for the other side.

23) Step back, take a bite of something chocolate, and smile.

24) Now, two last things. Fold up the edges and sew into place using buttons (or other decoration) to hide the stitches.

25) Add some rosettes with hot glue to both pockets. You can see my tutorial on how to make rosettes here. Or, add a different type of flower. Here are some examples:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

26) Admire the outside. Then flip it inside out, and admire the new outside ;)

Thanks for visiting! Have a great day ;)

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  1. You need to sell these...for serious! Tooooooo cute! Thanks so much for linking up to gettin' crafty on hump day! :)

  2. wow! great tutorial. and such an absoluty adorable purse!!

    Thanks for linking up at

  3. Awesome tutorial! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!



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