Sewing, Uncategorized

Purse or Bible bags


After looking at several book bags, bible bags, and purses, we could not find what we were looking for. We wanted a small bag for our children to take into church with them. That they could carry alone. Apparently, there is not a market for this as we found few expensive ideas. So enter the sewing machine and YouTube.

For many of my fabrics, I find that…Sew Something!offers many great options to us rural folks, with a much larger selection than Hobby Lobby. Disclosure:  This is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything.

I stumbled upon this great video made by Debbie Shore, who has her own bag sewing book. I liked her purse idea but did not our 1 1/2 son to be dragging a purse, nor are our girls tall enough for the 3 ft strap Debbie recommends. I also wanted to add a pocket inside for the children’s notebooks, cars, crayons, or whatever else they added to their quiet bag. I made a few changes after watching her video and I will explain them below.

To get the same looks I created using the video above. You img_0019will need:

  • 1 yrd of two different prints of cotton material
  • 1 yard of Pellon craft fuse (Style #808)
  • Matching thread
  • Iron
  • Quilt cutting mat and straight edge
  • Rotary cutter
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Mark-be-gone or disappearing ink pen

Creating the bag:

All the bags have the same base. Cut two square 11 x 11 from each set of cotton and the stiffening material. For now also cut two 6 x 10 rectangles from the same materials and set them aside. Adhere the stiffening material to the squares of material that you wish to make the outside of the bag with the steam setting on your iron. Next stack the 11 x 11 squares of materials and cut a 2 x 2 square out of the bottom corners. I traced a 2 x 2 square and then used scissors to make the small cuts.IMG_0030.JPG

Make sure your pattern is face up in the direction you wish it to go or you may find your finished product has a pattern upside down.

For the inside/outside pocket:

Now, before you start sewing the bag together grab one of the 6 x 10 pieces of material. Fold it in half, with the right sides together. Sew around three sides leaving only a small hole in which you can pull the inside out.


Making it pretty again. Trying explain how to sew the hole closed and to clear up any other questions about the pocket. Check out this video.

You will sew your made pocket onto one of the 11 x 11 squares that you will be using for the inside of your bag. Center the pocket 5 1/2 inches from the side and 1 1/2 inches from the top of the 2 inch squares you cut out.

pocket for bags.jpg

If you do not put the pocket above these cut-outs, your pocket will be in the bottom of of your bag. Pin pocket in place and then sew the three sides. We are ready to sew the rest of the bag as Debbie does in the video above. My variations of the flap and handle follow.

Alternate flaps:

img_0074 For the smaller flap on the bag, I cut the 6x 10 flap down to 6 x 6 1/2 and folded it in half so it was 3 1/4 wide. Place the pattern side face to face and iron. If you want some stiffening material add that to one side. I used a piece of cut to 6 x 2 so that I had plenty of space for the hem. Once you have sewn three sides, leaving one of the small ends open, pull the outside through and leave the one side open. It will get sewn into the bag base.

img_0073 The square flap is simply that. It actually came about because I made a mistake and cut the envelop shape upside down. The material pattern was forgiving but I had embroidered my daughter’s name and it was not so forgiving so I had to cut the piece down to 8 x 4 to hide my mistake. Sewing three sides I turned it out and ironed the corners, leaving a rectangle. Sew in just as the envelop flap as in the above video.

*Note: if you choose to embroider use the fabric with the Pellon stiffening attached because you can use that in place of  embroidering sheets. 

Alternate straps:

For a small handle. Cut a 12 1/2 x 3 inch rectangle of the material you are using. Fold in half long way and iron. Open and iron a 1/4 inch fold to the sides of the material, so that when you fold it back together you can simply sew one seam to connect the strap as long as you sew within the 1/4 in so that you don’t have a raw edge appearing after some use.img_0052

I added a few more straight seams to the strap for decor and to reinforce the strap. After all, this project is to be child proof.

For the child’s purse cut a 24 x 4 inch strip and then follow the above instructions.



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