Tutorial: The Frou Frou Bag

 

 

Another bag sewing pattern! This one is suitable for an intermediate seamstress and features pretty ruffled flaps, snap closure, and an adjustable strap! The small front pockets are also 3-dimensional. The beautiful detailing on this bag combines with functionality – it has 4 inner pockets and can hold a lot of stuff! I wrote this pattern for Pellon Projects, your stop for other great free tutorials using Pellon interfacing.

 

If you have any questions about this pattern, feel free to e-mail me directly at sara@sewsweetness.com, or check out my Flickr Group! I would love to see your completed project posted there! 





SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1/2″ UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

PLEASE READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING.
 
Printable Pattern and Pattern Pieces

 

Finished size: 12″ tall x 16″ long

 

SUPPLIES
 
- 1 yard exterior fabric
- 1 yard interior fabric
- fat quarter of fabric for the ruffles
- 3-1/2 yards of Pellon SF-101 fusible woven interfacing
- 1-1/2 yards of Pellon fusible fleece
- metal slider and rectangle ring (1-1/2″)
- three 1/2″ magnetic snaps
- ruler
- fabric marker or chalk*if you have difficulty locating the metal slider and rectangle ring, you can find them here.

 

STEP 1 ~ CUT OUT YOUR FABRICS
 
From the Exterior Fabric
 
1a. Cut a strip measuring 5″ x 40″. This will be your Strap. Cut a strip measuring 5″ x 5″. This will be your Strap Extender.
1b. Cut a strip measuring 4″ x 37″. This will be your Exterior Side Panel.
1c. Using the Main Panel pattern piece, cut 2 each on the fold. These will be your Exterior Main Panels.
1d. Using the Large Flap pattern piece, cut 1 on the fold. This will be your Exterior Large Flap.
1e. Using the Small Flap pattern piece, cut 2 each on the fold. These will be your Exterior Small Flaps.
1f. Cut 2 rectangles, each measuring 6″ long x 5″ high. These will be your Exterior Small Pockets.
1g. Cut 2 strips, each measuring 2″ x 13-1/2″. These will be your Pocket Panels.
From your Interior Fabric
 
1h. Repeat Steps 1b. through 1g.
1i. Take your Main Panel pattern piece and fold down at the dashed line. Cut 4 each on the fold. These will be your Inner Pockets.
From your Pellon Woven Interfacing
 
1j. Repeat Steps 1a. through 1h.
From your Pellon Fusible Fleece
 
1k. Repeat Steps 1b. through 1g. Also repeat Steps 1b. through 1e. for the interior. Trim all of Flap fleece pieces by 1/2″ on all sides, in order to reduce bulk in the seam allowance.
1l. Cut 3 scraps of fleece, each approximately 2″ x 2″.
STEP 2 ~ FUSE YOUR FABRICS
 
2a. Take 1 Exterior Main Panel and one of the corresponding fusible woven interfacing pieces. Fuse the woven interfacing to the wrong side of the Exterior Main Panel using manufacturer instructions. Repeat for all of your fabric pieces except for the Inner Pockets.
 
2b. With your Exterior Main Panel piece and the corresponding piece of fusible fleece, place the fusible side of the fleece against the woven interfacing. Fuse using manufacturer instructions. Repeat for all of the Exterior fabric pieces, as well as the Interior Main Panels and the Interior Side Panels.
 
 
STEP 3 ~ ASSEMBLE THE STRAP

3a. Fold your Strap in half along the long edge. Press. Fold the bottom long edge of the strap up toward the creased center. Press. Also fold down the top long edge of the strap down toward the creased center. Press.

3b. Topstitch along both long edges, 1/8″ from each edge.

3c. Repeat Steps 3a. and 3b. for the Strap Extender.

 
 
STEP 4 ~ ASSEMBLE THE FLAPS

4a. Lay your fat quarter out in front of you. You are going to cut bias strips from the fabric, so use your ruler to cut 2″ strips at a 45 degree angle, across the entire fat quarter.

4b. Now you will sew all of your strips together. First attach 2 strips, right sides together, at a 90 degree angle. Draw a diagonal line (at 45 degrees) connecting the top left and bottom right corners, then stitch on the line.

4c. Trim the ‘tail’ from the strip. Trim your fabric down to a 1/4″ seam allowance, then press seam open. Continue adding strips until you’ve used them all.

4d. Press your newly-made bias strip in half length-wise. Trim your bias into one 46″ strip and two strips that are each 24″ long. Now you are going to gather the fabric to create the ruffles. Sew a row of basting stitches that are 1/8″ from the raw edge, and another row of basting stitches that are 1/4″ from the raw edge.

4e. Gently pull the thread on each side to gather your fabric. Gather the fabric until the longer strip now measures 23″, and the shorter strips should now measure 12″. Evenly distribute the gathers. Set aside.

4f. Take your Interior Large Flap. Fold it in half, lengthwise, and lightly finger press the crease. Make a mark with your fabric marker that is 1″ up from the curved edge, and that intersects the center crease.

4g. You will be using the smaller half of the magnetic snap. Take out the washer and place it on the mark that you made on the Interior Flap. Make a mark, using the washer, where the slits are to go. Use your scissors and cut small slits where the marks are. Repeat this for the center of one of your 2″x2″ scraps of fleece. The reason that you are using the fleece is that it will help to reinforce your fabric against the pull from the magnetic snap every time you open and shut the flap.



Helpful Hint: I like to put a dab of Fray Check on the slits that were cut. I feel this helps the fabric hold up a bit better under the stress of the magnetic snap.

4h. Slide the prongs of the snap through the right side of the Interior Large Flap. Place the fleece square, then the washer, over the prongs. Close the prongs outward (use pliers with a piece of scrap fabric over the metal, if you need to), making sure they lie flat.


4i. Take the long ruffle and pin it along the curved edge of the Exterior Main Panel. Begin the short edge of the ruffle 1/2″ from the corner of the Exterior Main Panel. The raw edge of the ruffle should be even with the curved edge. You will also want to “fade” each short edge of the ruffle toward the outer corner of the flap so that you will have no raw edges from the ruffles showing once both flap pieces are sewn together. Stitch along the curved edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim excess ruffles.


4j. Take your Exterior Large Flap and your Interior Large Flap, and place them right sides together. Sew along the curved edge, slightly to the left of the line of stitches from step 4j. in order to hide the previous stitch (do not sew the straight edge). Notch your seam (cutting small v’s every 1/2″), being careful not to cut into the stitching. Turn your fabric right side out and press.


4k. Topstitch the Flap, 1/4″ from the edge, along the edge that you sewed in Step 4j.

4l. Repeat Steps 4f. through 4j. for the Small Flap pieces, except you will be sewing 1″ past the corner and into the straight edge and trimming the corners, leaving a small opening.


4m. Turn your fabric right side out and press. Also press the opening in by 1/2″. Topstitch both Small Flaps on the curved edge, 1/4″ from the edge.
 
 
STEP 5 ~ ASSEMBLE THE EXTERIOR SMALL POCKETS


5a. Take 1 of your Exterior Small Pocket pieces and the larger half of the magnetic snap. Fold the Exterior Small Pocket in half along the 6″ edge. Measure down 2″ from the top and insert the snap using the same method that you did for the flaps. Repeat for the other Exterior Small Pocket.


5b. Take 1 Exterior Small Pocket and 1 Interior Small Pocket and place them, right sides together. Beginning on the 6″ side (the side with the snap closest to it), about 1″ from the corner, start your stitching. Pivot at the corners, sewing 3 sides. Pivot at the last corner, then sew up about 1″. You will be leaving one 6″ edge open about 4″. Trim all 4 corners.

5c. Turn your fabrics right side out. Press, making sure to also press the opening in by 1/2″. Topstitch along the 6″ edge with the opening, with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This will seal your opening closed.


5d. Repeat Steps 5b. and 5c. for the other Small Pocket pieces.

5e. Take 1 Exterior Pocket Panel and 1 Interior Pocket Panel and place them, right sides together. Beginning on the 13-1/2″ side, about 5″ from the corner, start your stitching. Pivot at the corners, sewing 3 sides. Pivot at the last corner, then sew up about 5″. You will be leaving one 13-1/2″ edge open about 3-1/2″. Trim all 4 corners.

5f. Turn your fabrics right side out. Press, making sure to also press the opening in by 1/2″.

5g. Take 1 Small Pocket and 1 Pocket Panel. Place them, exterior sides facing. You will be sewing the long edge of the Pocket Panel flush with the 3 edges of the Pocket (the edge with the topstitching will be at the top, and you will leave this edge alone). Also, sew the side of the Pocket Panel so that you will sew the opening closed in this step. Sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press seam toward the Small Pocket. Repeat for the remaining Small Pocket and Pocket Panel.


Helpful Hint: I recommend sewing both of the sides of the pocket first, then the bottom and corners, in order to distribute the Pocket Panel evenly.

5h. Now take out 1 Exterior Main Panel and 1 assembled Small Pocket. Measure on the Exterior Main Panel that is 1-1/4″ up from the bottom, and over 2″. Draw a rectangle that is 4″ high x 5″ long, with the bottom left corner at your point. Flip your Pocket Panel exterior side out. Place the Small Pocket between these lines and pin.

5i. Sew along the unsewn long edge of the Pocket Panel using a 1/8″ seam allowance (you will be sewing the interior of the Pocket Panel against the Exterior Main Panel). This will attach the Pocket to the Exterior Main Panel. When finished, the Pocket should stand away from the Exterior Main Panel (it should not be completely flat).

5j. Repeat Steps 5h. and 5i. for the remaining Pocket Panel and the right edge of the Exterior Main Panel.





STEP 6 ~ ATTACHING THE FLAPS


6a. Take your Large Flap and the Exterior Main Panel that doesn’t have the pockets. Place the raw edge of the Large Flap against the top edge of the Exterior Main Panel, with the exterior fabrics touching. The Large Flap should be centered. Pin. Sew along the pinned edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

6b. Now take 1 of your Small Flaps and the Exterior Main Panel with the pockets. Pin the Small Flap at the top of the Small Pocket, with the straight edge of the Flap flush with the top of the Small Pocket. The exterior fabric of the Small Flap should be facing the Exterior Main Panel (in other words, the magnetic snap should be facing you). Before you begin to sew, make sure that your flap looks straight after the magnetic snaps have closed; if not, make an adjustment. Topstitch the straight edge of the Small Flap 1/4″ from the edge. Repeat for the other Small Flap and Small Pocket.

STEP 7 ~ ASSEMBLE THE EXTERIOR 

7a. Take the Exterior Main Panel with the pockets on it. Fold the Exterior Main Panel in half, pressing a finger crease to find the center point. Then measure down from the top 3-3/4″. Make a mark intersecting that point and the center point. Insert the large half of a magnetic snap using the technique that you used earlier.

7b. Take the Exterior Side Panel. Fold in half along the short edge. On the right side, make a mark 9″ down from the short raw edges, and a mark in 3/4″ from that raw edge. Connect the two marks that you made with a line. Repeat for the left edge.

7c. Cut along the lines on the right and the left sides.

7c. Take 1 of the Exterior Main Panels and place it, right side facing you. Place the short edge of the Exterior Side Panel at the top of the Exterior Main Panel, right sides facing.

7d. Begin pinning the Exterior Side Panel to the curved edge of the Exterior Main Panel, easing it along. Continue until you reach the opposite top edge of the Exterior Main Panel.

Helpful Hint: If you have difficulty pinning along the curve, try leaving it unpinned and just easing it along slowly with your fingers.

7e. Sew along the pinned edge. Notch along the curved edge (cut small v’s), every 1/2″. Be careful not to cut into the seam allowance. Press the seam open.

7f. Repeat Steps 6a. through 6c. to attach the remaining Exterior Main Panel to the other long edge of the Exterior Side Panel.

7g. These next few steps will help you install your metal slide and rectangle, which will make your strap adjustable! If you have never done this before, after today, you will want to use this every single time, it’s that easy! First take the metal rectangle and slide it onto the middle of your Strap Extender. Place the Strap Extender against the Exterior Side Panel (I started with the left side of my bag, but either is fine). Baste in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

7h. Next, take your Strap and slide it through the metal slide. The strap should go over and under the metal bar in the middle, as pictured.

7i. Baste one end of the Strap to the other Exterior Side Panel (this time I did the right side), using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

7j. Slide the loose part of your Strap through the metal rectangle (that’s the part attached to the Strap Extender).

7k. Now slide that loose part of the strap over and under the metal bar on your slide. It is going to go underneath the part of the strap that you had placed through the slide previously. Fold about 1/2″ of the very end of the strap under and topstitch that end. Hopefully you can see by the photo which part to sew where. If you can’t adjust your strap, then you’ve sewn something on to the wrong place.

STEP 8 ~ ASSEMBLE THE INTERIOR

8a. Take 2 of your Inner Pocket pieces and place them, right sides together. Sew along the straight edge only.

8b. Press the seam open. Turn the fabrics so that they are wrong sides together, press again, and topstitch the straight edge, 1/4″ from the edge.

8c. Take 1 Interior Main Panel, and place the Inner Pocket that you just sewed, with the bottom edges of both even. Baste the Inner Pocket to the Interior Main Panel using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Finger press a crease down the center of your Interior Main Panel. Sew on top of the Inner Pocket only, down that center crease (this will divide your pocket into 2 sections).

8d. Repeat Steps 8a. through 8c. for the remaining Inner Pocket and Interior Main Panel.

8e. USING A 5/8″ SEAM ALLOWANCE (this will help the interior sit snuggly in the exterior), repeat Steps 7a. through 7f. to attach the Interior Main Panels to the Interior Side Panel. HOWEVERmake sure to leave a 6″ opening when attaching one of the Interior Main Panels to the Interior Side Panel (it is best to leave the opening at the bottom of the bag). This will help you turn your bag right-side out later.

STEP 9 ~ FINISHING THE BAG 

9a. With the Exterior right sides out and the Interior wrong sides out, place the Exterior inside the Interior. Be sure to push the Strap and Flap inside between the layers.


9b. Pin, making sure to match side seams. Sew all along the top edge.
 
9c. Turn the bag, right side out, through the opening in the Interior.
 
9d. Sew the opening in the Interior closed, either with a 1/4″ seam, or sew by hand.
 
9e. Press well. The key to a professional-looking bag is a good pressing!


CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve finished!!

 

29 thoughts on “Tutorial: The Frou Frou Bag

  1. Sara, this is YET another one of your posts that I am bookmarking. Please stop. Stop being so clever and creative and inspiring. You keep making me add things I want to do – and eventually will! – to my list.

  2. I just saw your bag pinned over on Pinterest! :-) Anyway, I want to say that you amaze me with the patterns/tutorials that you write. I can’t imagine how much work it must be, to come up with these ideas. And then, to give the tutorials away for free. Thanks!

  3. Tufted Tweets just never gets old, does it? I have some scraps that I hang on to just ’cause I like looking at them.

    Nice feminine take on a messenger bag. I love how you can pull the whole thing thru that little opening. :)

  4. Wonderful looking bag. LOVE IT!
    I can’t tell from the pictures but, would this be large enough to use as a diaper bag or is it too narrow possibly? I’m looking for a great looking diaper bag pattern.

  5. Groovy, Sara! This is just wonderful! I truly appreciate your many skills: project design, application, tutorial and superior photography… Your generosity just floors me — I get so much confidence from you! Thank you Dear Child ;o).

  6. Love this! Found your site and tutorial by way of Rachael at Imagine Gnats! My local fabric store is suppose to have a blow out sale starting next Monday, and I think this fabric is one that will only be $3 a yard! I’m now planning to pick some up. Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. Oh, yeah! I just grabbed 4 yards of this very same fabric for juts $3 a yard! Plus I picked up 28.5 yards of some other adorable Robert Koffman and Riley Blake prints for just $3 a yard. Let’s just say I’m still shaking from the adrenaline rush! Can’t wait to make my own version of your bag!

  7. Where is the External Main pattern to print out to use? I have looked everywhere and havent seen measurements either

  8. Wow oh Wow! I’ve just discovered your blog and I cannot wait to start of these projects. You are sew talented and giving. Thank-you for all of these amazing bags.

  9. I love this bag and am planning on making it. What does the inside look like, pockets? From this tu tutorial and the picture I think there is only a large pocket. Will share a link after I print pattern and finish. Can’t wait to have it done! shuttermom77 {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks so mich for sharing! ♥

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