Saturday 22 August 2015

How to make a Small Project Bag with Minky Handles - Tutorial

Lately I've been carrying a small paper bag around with me in the car when I go to work, hoping to find a few minutes to do some hand sewing. Then I thought: why do I have to carry around this miserable paper bag when I can sew myself a bag that's the right size for little projects. So I got out two lovely The Makers Happy Crafty panels by Cori Dantini and made myself a Small Project Bag with minky handles. Why minky handles? Because they are so soft and comfy to use!

If you'd like to make one yourself, here's an easy tutorial for making a Small Project Bag with minky handles:

Here is what you will need:
  • Two The Makers Happy Crafty panels by Cori Dantini (or two pieces of pretty fabric, size 10.5" x 12" each);
  • Two pieces of fabric size 10.5" x 12" each for the lining;
  • Cotton Batting, two pieces size 10.5" x 12" each
  • Two strips of minky fabric size 2.5" x 18" each
  • Button
  • Coloured hair elastic
  • Embroidery thread and hoop (optional)

All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise stated.

To start (this is optional) embroider details on the panel using embroidery thread and an embroidery hoop. Choose the details you would like to stand out and embroider directly over the lines. There are lots of examples of embroidery stitches on the Internet you can use. Try the tips here at Flamingo Toes, for example.

Make the handles by folding each strip in half, lengthwise, with right sides together. After pinning (or using clips), sew along the long edge. Turn the handle right side out using a turning tool (I use a Clover turning tool but you could use a chop stick because the minky fabric is quite easy to turn).

Now you're ready to make the bag. Lay down one piece of batting, then place the lining fabric on top, right face up. After finding the middle of the top edge of the lining fabric, center one minky handle, facing downwards, with about one inch of the handle overlapping on top (see photo). Make sure the minky handle is lying flat and hasn't turned. Place the fabric panel you are using for the front of the bag face down on top. Pin along the top edge and make sure the handle is pinned in place too. Sew along the top edge of the fabrics, making sure to pass several times backwards and forwards over the handle ends to secure them.

Repeat for the other side of the bag, this time using the panel you are going to use for the back of the bag and pinning the hair elastic (after cutting off the metal part) in the middle of the top edge. Open up the two sides of the bag you have sewn and place one on top of the other, right sides facing. Make sure to line up the lining fabrics and the panel fabrics. Take care pinning all around the bag, making sure the handles are out of the way of the seam allowance. Be sure to line up and pin carefully the edges you have already sewn.

Now sew right around the edge of the bag leaving an opening on the short edge of the lining fabrics for turning and sew backwards and forwards a few times at the beginning and the end, to reinforce the opening.

Trim the excess fabric on the four corners of the bag. Turn right side out through the opening and iron. Slip stitch the opening closed and then push the lining inside the bag, carefully pushing the corners out using a blunt tool (chop sticks are good for this!).
Top stitch around the edge of the bag, making sure the minky handles are out of the way while stitching.

Check the position of the button on the front panel of the bag and then sew  it on the centre top of the bag.

And here is your Small Project Bag with minky handles and some special embroidery, ready to fill up with your latest small project... or two! I used these lovely panels by Cori Dantini and I'm so happy I did because they are absolutely beautiful!


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  1. This is Oh So Sweet! I can see a little child carrying this around, too. Thank you for the tutorial, dear.

  2. Looks like a perfect size for a "library book" bag for my grandson! Thanks for the idea.

  3. That is a sweet little bag. As a librarian, I'd agree: perfect size for a book! (but what bag isn't, right?) Love the fabric with the little seamstresses.

  4. This is an adorable tote bag. Thanks for the tutorial. I am sure I will be making these bags.

  5. So gorgeous .The fabric is an eye candy!

  6. How adorable is this projects bag??!! I love the "luxury" touch of these handles, and your embroidery embellishments on the bag! So cute!!

  7. Hi! I'm so happy to see your sweet little bag! I love Cora Dantini's fabrics but never see them used. You made the most beautiful project bag! x Teje

  8. I love Cori's fabrics and this tote is a great way to use them. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This is gorgeous, love the material and embroidered details. Great tutorial. Pinned :)

    Visiting from Too Cute Tuesday :)

  10. What a sweet little bag! I love those panels.