Tutorial: The Sawyer Bag

Today, I’m excited to bring you a simple tote pattern that you can make using quilt batting! I made mine with a laminate fabric, but you can absolutely make it with quilting cotton or decor weight. Today’s post is also part of ‘Purse Week’ on A Lemon Squeezy Home. This is a great series of guest posts and a purse making contest (which you can enter in their Flickr pool here). Check it out!!


All seam allowances are 1/2” unless otherwise noted.

Fabric is Tula Pink laminate from ‘The Birds and the Bees’. The pattern is easy level, so if you have never made a bag before, you should be able to make this one!
1/2 yard exterior fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
1/3 yard accent/strap fabric
1 yard Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex
1 yard Pellon® Nature’s Touch 100% Natural Cotton Batting
2 yards Pellon® 805 Wonder-Under®
1 1/8 yards Pellon® Wonder-Under Tape (or use scraps from yardage)
4 metal o-rings (2″)
Optional: 1/2” magnetic snap

Sawyer Bag made by Erin of www.justplainlovely.com
From the exterior fabric, cut:
2 rectangles, 18” x 16”, for the Exterior Main Panels
From the lining fabric, cut:
2 rectangles, 18” x 16”, for the Lining Main Panels
From the accent/strap, cut:
2 rectangles, 36” x 4”, for the Handles
4 rectangles, 11” x 4”, for the Handle Extenders
From the Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex, cut:
2 rectangles, 36” x 4”
4 rectangles, 11” x 4”
From the Pellon® Nature’s Touch 100% Natural Cotton Batting, cut:
4 rectangles, 17” x 15”
From the Pellon® 805 Wonder-Under®, cut:
4 rectangles, 17” x 15”
From the Pellon® ST-805 Wonder-Under Tape, cut:
4 strips, each 10” long
Fuse the Fabrics
            1.         Take 1 Handle and the corresponding piece of Shape Flex. Fuse the Shape Flex to the wrong side of the Handle using manufacturer instructions. Repeat for the remaining Handle and Handle Extenders.
            2.         Take 1 Exterior Main Panel and the corresponding piece of Wonder Under. Fuse the Wonder Under, centered, to the wrong side of the Exterior Main Panel using manufacturer instructions. Peal the paper away, then place 1 piece of batting on top, also centered. Fuse. Repeat for the remaining Exterior Main Panel and Lining Main Panels.
Make and Attach the Handles
           1.         Take 1 Handle. Press in half, wrong sides together, so that both short edges meet. Press. Fold the top of the fabric down to the crease. Open out again, then fold one edge in to meet the crease and press. Repeat with the other side.  You should have created a double-fold bias. Repeat for the other handle and both Handle Extenders.

            2.         Topstitch the long edges of the Handles and Handle Extenders  using a 1/8” seam allowance.
            3.         Press 1 short edge of each Handle Extenders in by 1”. Slide an o-ring onto the crease of each one.
            4.         Take 1 of the Exterior Main Panels and draw a vertical line that is in 2” from the left-hand edge. Do the same for the right-hand edge.
            5.         Place 1 strip of knit tape to the inside of the left-hand line that you just made. The raw edge of the tape should be even with the bottom of the Exterior Main Panel. Fuse according to manufacturer instructions. Repeat for the right-hand edge of the exterior, and also for the remaining Exterior Main Panel. Remove the paper on the knit tape.
6.         Place 1 Handle Extender on top of 1 strip of knit tape. Fuse according to manufacturer instructions. Sew on top of each long edge of the Handle Extender on top of the previous lines of stitching, stopping as close to the o-ring as you are able. Also sew a vertical line connecting the stitching at the top of the Handle Extender. Repeat for the right-hand edge of the exterior, and the remaining Handle Extenders and Exterior Main Panel.
            7.         Take 1 Handle, and press at 1 short edge by 1/2”, then again at 1 1/2”. Do the same for the opposite short edge.
            8.         Slide the Handle through the ring on the left-hand side of 1 Exterior Main Panel. The ring should sit in the second pressed crease on the Handle. Sew a small rectangle on each end, enclosing the first pressed edges against the Handle. Repeat this step for the right-hand side of the same Exterior Main Panel.
            9.         Repeat Steps 6-7 for the remaining Exterior Main Panel and Handle.
Assemble the Bag
                1.         Place the Exterior Main Panels right sides together. Stitch along both sides and the bottom edge, pivoting at the corners. Make sure the Handle Extenders are aligned. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4”.

            2.         Open up the bottom left-hand corner and use your fingers to push it into a triangle, aligning the seams. Measure and draw a horizontal line that is 1 1/2” down from the point.
            3.         Sew along the line that you just drew. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4”.
            4.         Repeat Steps 2-3 for the right-hand corner.
            5.         Repeat Steps 1-4 for the Lining Main Panels, leaving a 6” opening at the bottom of the Lining Main Panel for turning the bag right side out later on. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4”. If you are inserting the magnetic snap, please do so at this time. It should be centered and 1/2” down from the top of each panel.
            6.         Turn the exterior right side out. Slide the lining over the exterior so that they are right sides together. Sew completely along the top edge.
7.         Turn your bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Either fold the opening in 5/8″ on each side and topstitch closed, or slipstitch the opening closed by hand. Topstitch along the top edge using a 1/4” seam allowance. Press the bag well for a nice, finished look.

And you’ve finished! If you have any questions about this pattern, feel free to e-mail me directly at sara@sewsweetness.com. And if you happen to make one, please enter it into my Flickr Group, I’d love to see it!!!

25 thoughts on “Tutorial: The Sawyer Bag

  1. I love love love this bag, and it would be perfect for me to make for Sewing Summit. But unless my Fairy Godmother shows up tonight, I guess it will have to wait until next week, LOL. But now I have another project to add to my list for the Shop Hop! See you soon! Hugs, Cathy

  2. Such a great bag! One of the things I like about this bag is how it showcases the fabric and it looks really roomy ~ especially like the pink one with the squirrels ~ too cute!

  3. Would using webbing straps be ok, rather than making them and using all that extra batting and other stuff? I actually just purchased the same squirrel print and received it today from Fabric.com. I order 2 yards and received a box as tall as me!! I love this print, it’s too cute! Can’t wait to make this bag!

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