This crisp, cute bag looks like we grabbed it right off the shelf of the trendiest high-end boutique. Its bucket shape and cinched top is a silhouette that remains popular season after season. We made the design our own by creating the sample in a modern canvas with polished nickel hardware and a matching twisted cord for the signature drawstring closure. It has a casual nautical feel – perfect for the warmer days ahead. Or, switch out the fabrics for a bag that can take you into Fall and Winter. Whatever your choice, it’s easy to set a course for style. We used and recommend a mid-weight cotton canvas for the best result, and there are lots of great options to explore from a variety of designers. We’re always impressed by the selection at Robert Kaufman, Kokka, and Premier Prints. We also liked Cloud9 GeoCentric Zig Zag Organic Cavas which we found at Harts Fabric.
We think one reason this bag has topped the charts for so long is because it’s such a great combination of stability and softness in an ideal size.
The 6″ base means it will hold plenty. We added a full layer of fusible fleece, which gives it the perfect variable structure: a shaped base with a top that gathers up to close.
A drawcord weaves through 12 grommets around the top. Our step-by-step metal grommet tutorial linked below makes this step easier than you might think. You can secure the loop with either a simple bow or use a pretty cord lock as we did. The big gathers make it easy to gently open the bag just enough to drop in keys or other small items with only one hand.
You’ll love the strap, which snaps through D-rings at the base. It’s a longer, cross-body style and adjusts at the shoulder with three additional snaps. The instructions contain a link to our full tutorial on inserting metal snaps.
The finishing touch are four shiny purse feet. They’re optional, but a great professional touch. The feet also help the bottom of the bag stay up off the ground when you set it down, keeping it slightly above any damp surfaces that could soak into the canvas.
This bag finishes at approximately 10″ wide x 12″ high x 6″ deep. The adjustable strap comes in two snap-together pieces for a finished cross-body length of approximately 46″.
Sewing Tools You Need
Sewing machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¾ yard of 44″+ wide medium-weight cotton canvas or similar for the bag exterior and strap; we used Geo Pop 6.5oz Canvas in Cross Blue by Robert Kaufman Fabric
NOTE: ¾ yard is the minimum required. If you have a motif that requires special fussy cutting, we recommend getting a full yard. We worked with a full yard, which allowed us enough fabric to get a lovely match along the side seams.
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide standard weight cotton for the bag’s lining; we used Cotton Couture in Azure by Michael Miller Fabrics
- 1½ yards of ¼” twisted cord; we used a matching bright blue paracord, purchased locally
- TWO 1″ D-rings; we used Dritz D-rings in nickel
- FIVE size 16 long-prong, smooth-cap snaps; we used Capped Prong Ring Snap Fasteners by Snap Source in Silver
- TWELVE large grommets; we used Dritz Large Eyelets in Nickel
- FOUR purse feet (optional, but a great professional finish); we used Nancy Zieman ½” Bag Feet in Glossy Nickel
- ONE cord lock (optional for front tie slide if not using a simple bow); we used an extra large cord lock in nickel, purchased locally, we often turn to The Rain Shed for paracord toggles and cord locks.
NOTE: All your bag hardware should match. Ours were all nickel in a bright finish.
- ¾ yard of 22″+ wide high-loft fusible fleece; we used Thermoweb Heat ‘n’ Bond Fusible Fleece
- ¼ yard of 45″ wide medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ¼ yard of 20″+ wide heavyweight interfacing; we used Timtex
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Seam sealant (optional) for knotted ends of twisted cord
- From the exterior fabric, cut the following:
TWO 17″ wide x 19½” high rectangles for the main panels
TWO 3″ x 36″ strips for the strap and tabs; these strips will be cut to length during construction
NOTE: All our exterior pieces were fussy cut. On the body of the bag, the cross design is centered. On the strap, the crosses are aligned more towards one side than the other to allow the proper motif centering after all the folds. The photos below will show you our positioning.
- From the lining fabric, cut TWO 17″ wide x 13″ high rectangles.
- From the fusible fleece, cut TWO 16″ wide x 12¼” high rectangles.
- From the fusible interfacing, cut TWO 2″ x 36″ strips for the strap and tabs.
- From the heavyweight interfacing, cut ONE 6″ x 10″ panel for the bag bottom.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the exterior
NOTE: This bag has 6″ boxed corners. If you are new to making boxed corners, check out our tutorial: How To Box Corners. We are using the “corner cut-out” process for this bag in order to keep the bulky fusible fleece out of the seams.
- From each bottom corner of each 17″ wide x 19½” high main panel rectangle, cut a 3″ x 3″ square.
- Find the fusible fleece rectangles. Position a fleece panel on the wrong side of each main exterior panel. The fleece should sit 3½” up from the lower raw edge of the fabric, 3¾” down from the upper raw edge of the fabric, and be centered side to side with ½” of fabric showing along each side.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece in place on each panel.
- Along the top of each panel, make a 3¾” hem. To to this, fold down the top raw edge ½” and press, then fold down an additional 3¼” and press again. The folded edge of the hem should just cover the top of the fleece.
- Unfold the top hems and place the two exterior panels right sides together. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. The corner cut-outs remain un-sewn.
- To create the corner boxes, align each side seam with the bottom seam and pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the corner. We recommend a double seam for extra reinforcement.
- Push out the corners. Press the seam allowances toward the bottom of the bag. Fold the top hem back down into position.
NOTE: Remember, if you are new to boxed corners, we have a full tutorial.
- Find the 6″ x 10″ heavy interfacing panel. Set it down into the base of the bag. Lightly pin the panel in place against the bottom of the bag.
- If adding the optional purse feet, find them now. Measure ¾” in from each corner and use the foot’s washer to mark the position for insertion.
NOTE: The Clover Hot Hemmer is a great little tool for corner placements.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, set each foot in place.
NOTE: If you do not use purse feet, we would recommend adhering the heavy interfacing to the bottom of the bag with a fusible seam tape or a fabric adhesive.
- Remove the pins from bottom of the bag.
- Set aside the bag exterior.
Create the lining
- Find the two lining panels. As above, cut 3″ squares from each bottom corner.
- Also as above, stitch the side seams and bottom seams, then box the borners.
- Push out the corners, but leave the lining wrong side out.
- Find the exterior bag; it should be right side out. Unfold its top hem again.
- Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two are now wrong sides together. Push the lining all the way down against the base of the exterior, aligning the bottom and side seams.
- Fold the top hem back down into position one more time and pin it in place.
- Topstitch along the bottom fold of the hem (which has now become the bag’s facing) going all around the bag. Your seam should run just about ⅛” from the folded edge.
- Run an additional line of topstitching around the very top folded edge of the bag. It should also be just about ⅛” in from the folded edge.
Create the grommets
- Mark the positions for the 12 grommets that will circle the top of the bag – six along the front and six along the back.
- Find the exact center of the bag front by measuring from each side seam.
- Measure 2¼” down from the top finished edge of the bag. Measure 1⅛” to the right of center and 1⅛” to the left of center. These points create the positions for the first two grommets that will sit to the right and left of center.
- Working from these first points, and maintaining the 2¼” distance down the top of the bag, place markings for two additional grommets to the right and two additional grommets to the left. All the grommets should be 2¼” apart.
- Repeat to create a matching set of grommet placement marks across the back panel.
- When complete, there should be 4½” of space around each side from front grommet to back grommet.
NOTE: Our measurements for the grommets above, as well as the snaps below, are always given as center point to center point.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions or our own great Metal Grommets Tutorial, set all 12 grommets in place.
Create the straps and strap tabs
- Find the two 3″ x 36″ fabric strips and the two 2″ x 36″ interfacing strips.
- Center an interfacing strip on the wrong side of each fabric strip. There should be ½” of fabric showing above and below the interfacing. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Cut one strip down to 32″. This will be the bag’s longer strap.
- Cut the other strip into three pieces: ONE at 23″ for the bag’s shorter strap and TWO at 6½” for the strap tabs.
- On the two longer pieces, use the interfacing as your guide to press in both long raw edges ½”. Then press back both ends ½”.
- On the two short pieces, use the interfacing as your guide to press in both long raw edges ½”. But then, on each tab strip, press back just one end ½”, leaving the opposite end raw.
- Fold each strip in half, wrong sides together, aligning all the pressed edges.
- Edgestitch around all four finished sides of the two longer pieces and all three finished sides of the two shorter pieces.
NOTE: In all cases, when we are topstitching and edgestitching, we like to slightly lengthen our stitch.
- Find the two D-rings. Slip the raw end of one of tabs through one of the D-rings. Fold the raw end back on itself until the tab measures 4″ from where it loops through the D-ring to the bottom finished end. Pin the raw end in place.
- Repeat to loop the remaining tab strip through the remaining D-ring.
- Place the tabs in position along each side seam of the bag. The bottom of the tab should be exactly in line with the facing’s bottom topstitching seam. Pin in place.
- Stitch in place through all the layers, creating a long rectangle box of stitching.
- Mark the longer strap pieces for the D-ring snaps and three adjustable shoulder snaps.
- The three shoulder snaps should be centered within the width of each strap with the first snap 1¼” in from the finished end and snaps two and three 2¼” apart.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions or our own handy tutorial on setting metal snaps to insert both halves of the three snaps.
NOTE: Make sure you are working on a hard, solid surface when inserting metal hardware. It makes insertion easier and smoother.
- At the opposite finished end of each strap, place one additional snap, which will allow the end to loop through the D-ring and snap into place.
- The socket side of each snap should be centered within the strap (as you did for the shoulder snaps) and 1″ in from the finished end. The ball side of each snap should also be centered within the strap but 3¼” from the finished end.
- Insert both halves of each snap.
- Insert the ends of the strap through the D-rings and snap into place.
- Find the cording. Weave it in and out through the grommets.
- The two front tails can simply be tied into a bow, the tails cut to length, and the tail ends knotted.
- Or, you can use a large cord lock as a slider. This is the option we chose.
- Make sure your cord lock is large enough to accommodate both cords. Our trick was to tape the ends together as tightly as possible in order to create a single end from our double cord.
- Insert this taped-together end through the cord lock, holding the lock open as wide as possible and inserting the cording as if screwing it in. You need to get just far enough through it order to be able to grab the protruding end with tweasers or hemostats.
- Once pulled though the cords squish into one another and the cord lock easily slides up and down.
- As with the bow option above, we recommend cutting the tails to your preferred length, then knotting the tail ends. A dab of seam sealant below the knots helps prevent fraying.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler