Friday, January 7, 2011

Ruffle Bag V2.0: The Fat Quarter Bag

Remember the ruffle bag I posted a couple of months ago?   I was challenged by the local fabric store to come up with a version that uses fat quarters.   I succeeded in the challenge and the pattern uses almost every inch of three fat quarters.  The fun thing about a purse like this is the mix of fabrics.  You can choose three fabrics from the same line or you can get really funky and just choose three you love the look of together.  (ETA:  my dd made her own fat quarter ruffle bag.  You can see her fun zebra and purple creation here.)

To make the pattern, start by drawing a 10x10 square.   You're going to draw the curve next along the top edge.  Measure in 1 1/2" from each side and mark that spot.  This is the beginning of the curve.   Next measure 5" from the side and 2 1/2" from the top and mark.  This is the deepest point of your curve.  Now carefully draw in the curve.  Remember this is an oval, not a circle so be sure to not get your ends pointy and keep the sides smooth and even.  This is a good time to pull out your flexible ruler to help you get the curve you want.    Now draw four straight lines across the pattern.  1 1/2" from the bottom and 1 1/4" apart.  These are your ruffle guides.  This is the only pattern piece you need for this purse.  Everything else is just rectangles.

Get the fabric for the outside of the purse ready by laying the selvage edge so it faces you right side of the fabric down.  Now bring the opposite cut edge to the selvage edge folding the fabric in half.   Lay your pattern piece so the little straight sections of the curved top edge are directly on the fold.  Make sure you have the left side as close to the cut edge as you can get it because you will use all but an inch or so of this fabric.
Cut around the pattern.  Be careful with the curve because that's your purse bottom.   (Yeah, I know.  I felt pretty clever.)  When it's cut out, set the oval aside and cut your front and back pieces apart at the fold.   You should now have three purse pieces and a rectangle.
Out of the rectangle, cut two strips 2 1/2" wide and one 1 1/2" wide.  The 2 1/2" strips are a ruffle and the 1 1/2" strip is your strap.   The last piece is scrap.

Now cut the lining out the same way you cut out the outside.
With your contrast piece, fold it the same way you folded the other two pieces.   Now cut four strips 2 1/2" wide. These are two ruffles.  Out of what's left cut two pieces 5 1/4"x10".  These are your interior pockets. 
Take your pocket pieces and hem one long edge with 1/4" handkerchief hem.   Place your pockets over your lining pieces and pin down.  Mark where you want the pockets to be divided and sew a straight seam from the top of the pocket to the bottom.  I like to start that with a little bit of tight zig zag to reinforce that edge.  I also like to be sure I add in a couple of pencil pockets so my pens are easy to find.  Those are usually about 1" wide. 
Now sew up the side seam.   Next sew a basting stitch all the way around the the edge of the bottom.

Fold and mark your bottom and sides.  Like this:
Line up your marks and sew the bottom to the purse.   You may need to ease the bottom piece using the basting stitch.  It depends on the curve you drew on your pattern.  Clip the seam.  If you are going to add a magnetic clasp, now is a good time to attach that to the lining.
Sew the ends of your ruffle strips so you have four loops.   Finish each edge with a 1/4" handkerchief hem.   Sew a basting stitch around the top of each ruffle. (Or you can couch over fishing line to gather the ruffles.)  Mark your quarters and then mark eighths with pins on both the ruffle and the bag.   Gather matching the pins and attach to the bag by sewing along the ruffle guide lines.   Sew on the bottom.  (Ok, this looks a little deceptive.  The four ruffles will be the longest part of this whole project.  They are a pain but worth it.  If you want just a basic bucket bag, you can skip the ruffles and then this purse will only take a little over an hour.  With the ruffles it's a three hour bag.  Just so you know.)
If you want your bag to be a little stiffer, cut out a lining from canvas or denim.  You will need to cut a front/back/bottom piece and one strip 1 1/2"x21.   Sew the sides together and then attach the bottom.
You will now have three complete pieces to put together.  Set the canvas piece on a table and shove the lining in with the right side facing toward the center.  Mush it around until it's lined up pretty well, especially at the side seams.  Now shove in the outside of the bag turned so the right side faces the right side of the lining.  Like this:
Make sure your side seams and top edge all line up nice and pretty.  See how the outside and the lining face each other?  Do that.  Pin the top edge and sew just the curved sections  leaving a 4" space to turn the bag right side out on one side. Do not sew the little flat tabs on the ends.
Lay out the strap pieces so the canvas is on the bottom, then the printed lining face up, then the outside face down.  Sew the long sides together.   Turn right side out and press.  So it looks like this:
See how the straight ends of the top of the bag aren't sewn but the curve is? 
fold the top edge down 1/4".  Fit the end of the strap into that opening.  Pin and sew across.   Do on both sides.

And you're done.   Have fun and if you make one be sure to leave me a link to a picture in the comments section.  I'd love to see it. :)


  1. This is a great tutorial and a wonderful design. I can't wait to try it!

  2. Thanks. :) can't wait to see what you ladies do with the pattern.

    and graças, Angelita. :) (I love Google translate. It makes the world just a little bit closer.)

  3. adorei, mais não sei traduzir, fica dificil eu fazer, se puder me mandar em portugues, eu adoraria. beijos.

  4. Adorei ficou linda!!!!
    Adoraria se me visita-se!!!estou começando agora no blog,eu vim do flickr .
    Aguardo sua visitinha!!!
    Beijos querida e uma boa semana!!!

  5. Ficou linda!!adorei!!
    Quero te convidar a visitar meu blog(
    Mônica RJ

  6. awesome the bag...surely wil try making it....

  7. I am an Army Wife just starting out making purses to sell. I just love this design and wanted to get your permission first before tackling the tutorial to sell the bags. I will gladly give credit where credit is due. Thanks so much!

  8. I just finished making this ruffle bag...and i have to say that i LOVE it...
    Heres a link to the picutre i put up of it..

  9. Hi I'm Tessa, I'm 8 almost 9 and I made the purse with my mom. I love the purse, it's just the right size for me and it's super cute. I liked the ruffles the most.

  10. I made this and love it, even though it's a little small for my use.

  11. Your bag is amazing! I was inspired by the ruffles and I made my own bag. You can see it here:
    Thank you for this idea!

  12. Hi my name is Miranda and i'm 11 and I made the bag and it was so fun! What a great totorial. Thanks so much and I have never had any one respond to my posts so I want you to reply.

    1. good for you Miranda

  13. I'm going to try this one this weekend. i have plenty of remnants.

  14. I just saw this tutorial on Pinterest. Wonderful tutorial! I cannot wait to try my FIRST!!! God bless you and thank you for sharing .

  15. Well, I am going to give it a try this weekend. If it comes out as cute as yours then I have a request for three. Two for my Granddaughters and one for me.

  16. So cute! I featured it is the link... :)


  17. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and detailed tutorial. I LOVE the bag and think i'm gonna make one for my daughter, 9. Think i'm gonna save the tutorial for her as well. She's just now getting into sewing and this tutorial is so great, i really don't think i could explain it any better to her in person! again. Thanks for such a great and creative tutorial/bag!