Introducing the Tortoise Bag sewing pattern, an intermediate-level sewing pattern now available in paper pattern and pdf pattern versions. This stylish bag features a unique top zip closure and front handles and side strap. Available in 3 different size options, this bowling-style bag will be some major arm candy in your favorite fabrics!
My favorite thing about this bag is that there is no need for any hand-sewing – every bit is stitched by machine! Yay!
- small 9” long x 9” high x 5” deep (23cm x 23cm x 12.7cm)
- medium 11-1/2” long x 8-1/2” high x 6-1/4” deep (29cm x 21.6cm x 16cm)
- large 13” long x 11” high x 7” deep (33cm x 28cm x 18cm)
I loved this bag so much that I made the medium version when I went to Quilt Market this past May. My bag was made in Tula Pink‘s ‘Slow and Steady’ fabrics. The fun thing about this fabric is that there is a hidden tortoise in the design! So gorgeous. Here’s a photo of me and Tula with our bags (she made hers – it’s my Emblem Duffle Bag pattern). Below is another Tortoise Bag that I made for Tula’s booth at Quilt Market out of ‘Slow and Steady’. The handles were made of hot pink seat belt from Tula’s stash. The different parts of the bag each feature a different print from the line.
- 3/4 yard (0.7 metre) of Exterior Fabric
- 3/4 yard (0.7 metre) of Lining Fabric
- 1/2 yard (0.5 metre) of solid fabric (quilting cotton or leather) for piping, handles, and strap
- 1/2 yard (0.5 metre) of foam interfacing (By Annie’s Soft and Stable, Pellon Flex Foam, Bosal In-R-Form, or automotive headliner; if using Flex Foam, it is only 20” wide so please purchase double)
- 2-1/2 yards (2.25 metre) of 20” wide Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex fusible woven interfacing (medium-weight fusible)
- 1/4 yard (0.25 metre) of Pellon Peltex #71F one-sided fusible ultra-firm interfacing
- Four 1” metal rectangles
- Two triangle rings (or substitute d-rings) with 1” opening (2.5cm)
- Two swivel clips with 1” opening (2.5cm)
- One 9” (22.85cm) zipper for zippered pocket in lining
- Two #3 All-Purpose Zippers (same color) – small – 14” (35.5cm)
medium – 18” (45.75cm)
large – 18” (45.75cm)
*It is vital to use a #3 zipper (skirt/dress zipper) here for this design. Do not use metal zippers.
- Optional false bottom:1 sheet ultra stiff plastic cross stitch template and foam core board (in school supply section)
For optional piping:
- 5/32” cotton cording (I use Dritz Cable Cord) – (small – 1-1/4 yard; medium – 1-1/2 yard; large – 2 yards) (1.10 metre- 1.4 metre – 1.8 metre)
- 2 yards (1.8 metre) of 1/2” (1.27cm) wide Pellon Wonder Under fusible web tape (or washable glue stick)
My cover samples were made in ‘Geo Pop’ canvas fabrics by Robert Kaufman. It’s a great bright canvas that is really easy to work with. The straps were all made from sparkle vinyl canvas (also thin and easy to work with) from MiKri World. Instructions in the pattern are for using either quilting cotton or vinyl from the straps and handles.
Size medium of the Tortoise Bag (which is the black-and-white bag pictured) is my personal favorite size. It’s great to carry on your arm as well as over your shoulder.
When I designed this bag, I was wanted to do a bowling-style bag but with a different type of top zip closure. I thought a curved zipper that extended from the back to the front (to open that flap wide) would be great, and it is! I experimented with using different types of zippers on this bag, but found zippers with wider tape (like a handbag zipper) to leave a bulge on the front of the flap, so I highly recommend using an all-purpose (#3 skirt/dress zipper) for this pattern.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing some about the details of the Tortoise Bag pattern, now I’d like to introduce you to the pattern testers’ bags! I had a lot of pattern testers this time around, it seemed like everyone really liked the shape of this bag! Thank you to the testers for all of your hard work!
Sheri of Munkee Made finished this large version in a great big floral print, taking care to fussy cut the flap (which is actually easy to do while you are laying out your pattern pieces on the fabric!). The minty vinyl in this bag is just perfection!
Tracy is always on top of her game, preparing a pretty collage for us all. I can’t get over the denim body of the bag paired with this bright geometric print – brilliant thinking and it looks beautiful!
Jenniffer made this gorgeous small bag in great brown and navy colors. So lovely and great work on this, Jenniffer! Small is the perfect for slinging across your arm!
Amber of Roar Haus made this medium version of the bag, with purple sparkle vinyl (eep!). Looks great in Tula Pink ‘Chipper’ fabrics with the lime green piping!
Susan of SB Stitching made this lovely version in Laurie Wisbrun fabrics. I wanted to show the back view of Susan’s bag because I think her photo is a beautiful example of the detailing of the zipper that extends from the back to the front of the bag.
Besides having a brilliant small-sized Tortoise with branded handles (how lovely!!), Sharon’s photography is maximum level! What I would do to be able to take such gorgeous photos! Great work on your bag, Sharon!
Love!! Check out this gorgeous Tortoise Bag sewn by Fiona! Perfect in every way, I love it and that vertical print looks great on this bag!
Sandie of Crazy ’bout Quilts made her bag in a great texty fabric, which I love so much. If you’ll notice the straps, she pressed and topstitched them so that exterior fabric was on the bottom of the straps and the solid on the top. What a great look! Brilliant bag, Sandie!
From Vanessa, I would expect nothing less than for her to use a horse fabric on her tester bag each time! This amazing bag made in Tula Pink ‘Fox Field’ fabrics, and this bag is fab-u-lous!!
Lisa of Six Munchkin Stitching made this lovely butterfly bag with contrasting lime and a light pink zipper! So soft and pretty!
Cindy of Raspberry Sunshine made not one but two bags – the gray quilted bag is the large and the red bag directly below that is the medium. How gorgeous with the linen straps, what a perfect match! Cindy kept the red bag for herself!
Donna made her bag in a pretty floral fabric, and she’s free-motion quilted around all of the flowers for a bit of pop! So sweet, and I love the great ‘handcrafted’ metal tag from Emmaline Bags!
Mindy made this neutral-colored bag that is finished and pressed to perfection, the shape is completely wonderful! What a beautiful bag!
This adorable small version was made in Katarina Rocella fabrics by Marthe. I love everything about this, and you can tell that all of the fabric and zipper choices were chosen with care as they go together just so!
Hillary made this fab version in Robert Kaufman ‘Geo Pop’ canvas, which I really love. I love the creative use of color in this bag with the zipper and straps, it’s brilliant!
Laura’s made this stunning black & white version with black sparkle vinyl (sparkle vinyl goes with everything, amiright?). Looking good with matching rivets! Great work Laura!
Reece of Happy Okapi has used Tula Pink ‘Elizabeth’ fabrics in fabulous style! I’m showing you this great side-view of Reece’s bag, but be sure to pop over to her blog to see the inside (it’s a real jack-in-the-box treat).
Terry‘s bag is cool as a cucumber and ready for summer in this great minty print. I like the option of using a print fabric for the straps. Beautiful job Terry!
Terry made this VERY appropriate tortoise version of the Tortoise Bag. Great batik fabric for the strap complete the look. Adorable!
Lynette of The Crafty Divas made this metallic version that’s super chic and class! Silver metallic looks great with every outfit! Great job Lynette!
Thinking of summer with Kat’s sunflowers small version of the Tortoise Bag! Pretty blue batik handles pull everything together for a great out-and-about bag!
Diana made her bag with some well-loved and hoarded Tula Pink ‘Acacia’ fabrics and purple sparkle vinyl. Lots of views of this bag give you a great look at this beauty!
Evi’s got this clever photo of her gorgeous, gorgeous Tortoise Bag – the black and red on her bag is just stunning! So precise and that piping looks perfect!
Alli made a small version paired with red linen fabric that is just too cute! The piping looks amazing and I really appreciated the darker contrast stitching on the straps, it looks beautiful!
Sophie made the medium-sized version of the bag in citrus-colored geometric fabrics with same fabric for the straps as the exterior. I’m not sure if that background was accidental or on purpose, but that’s a brilliantly-staged photo – so mod! Great bag Sophie!
Wendy of W.D. Handbags made the small version in a lovely teal Aztec print with charcoal gray vinyl handles. Size small is so cute!
Here’s another small version, made by Nina. This is looking perfect in Cotton+Steel fabrics, as the retro vibe of the print is a great match with the bowling style of the bag! Great work Nina!
Colette made this great navy version in Tula Pink’s ‘Freefall’ wideback fabric. I like the exterior fabric as the strap also, it lends a bit of mystery to the bag!
Karen made her small bag in Alexia Abegg fabric for Cotton+Steel. Size small is just perfect for carrying around a few essentials, and this bag is too cute!
Jeanmarie’s made this bold zebra-print bag with red detailing – really hot for summer!! I love it!