I recently developed this simple handbag pattern that I think would be great for beginning sewers. Below are the step-by-step instructions for making your very own “Little Chenille Bag”. Finished size: 10" wide x 7" tall, not including the handles.
Step #1. You will need four fat quarters of fabric and 24" of matching webbing. If you are not familiar, fat quarters are just precut 18" x 21" pieces of fabric. These quarters came from Jo-Ann Fabrics and cost $1.50 each. I chose four that had a similar color theme, but with some contrast (some dark and some light). If you purchase webbing, you will need to buy 3/4" of a yard. My total cost: under $8.00.
Step #2. Open all the fabric packages, stack the layers together and press.
Step #3. Fold the fabric in half to measure roughly 9" x 21" and cut along fold.
Step #4. Place one stack on top of the other.
Step #5. Fold over one corner as shown. Using a ruler or yard stick, draw a line from one corner to another to make a 45 degree angle.
Step #6. Using a ruler, continue making parallel lines that are 1.5" apart until the panel is full. Use chalk or a pencil or something that will wash out.
Step #7. Machine stitch over all the marked lines.
Step #8. Machine stitch again in between the first set of lines. You should now have parallel lines measuring about 3/4" apart.
Step #9. Using a yardstick or ruler, mark off and cut the largest clean rectangle that is possible. After I trimmed my sample, it was 21" x 8".
Step #10. With a scissors, carefully cut through all the top 7 layers of fabric. Go slowly so that the bottom layer stays intact and does not get cut.
Step #11. Using a ruler to keep the edges lying flat, stitch 1/4" around all four outside edges.
Step #12. Fold the panel in half and cut into two matching rectangles.
Step #13. Cut two 12" handles from the webbing. Center the handles on the long side as shown, and machine stitch in place.
Step #14. Align the two panels together and stitch on the two sides and bottom, making 1/4" seam.
Step #15. To finish the bag, machine wash in a hot cycle and then dry in a hot dryer. The bias cut edges will fray and fold up to create a faux chenille look. In general I’ve learned that this technique works best with lower thread count fabric. The looser weave makes a more dramatic texture, than say a chintz fabric does.
That’s it – I’d love to hear if you enjoyed my tutorial!