Ahhhh, the classic leather elbow patch… it can transform a rumpled guy in a tacky corduroy jacket into that suave and sophisticated history teacher you had a mega-crush on sophomore year. But… what else can it do? It can become a unique accent for a slim style bag. We cut one leather elbow patch in half to fashion corner accents, then put a denim style patch through a die-cut machine to create a set of interesting iron-on embellishments. The Dritz Home Speedy Stitcher tool is what’s used for the heavy-duty stitching on both the corner patches and the bag’s handle.
The overlapping design of our bag creates a very unique shape, and our clever seaming not only holds together the overlap, it also creates handy pockets on both the front and back – inside and out!
We chose an industrial feel for our bag: Mega Style meets Modern Times. A butterscotch mid-weight canvas is a great plain palette to set off the leather corner patches and the optional appliqué patches, which are made from a Dritz Iron-On Denim Patch. The subtle color also coordinates well with the waxed thread used in The Speedy Stitcher to attach the corners and the handle.
A bold cotton print for the lining adds a little pop of color and pattern inside.
Dritz patches come is a wide range of colors and fabrics so you can create your favorite color combination.
For the easiest finish, look for a handle with pre-drilled holes. We purchased a ready-made handle in a length that can be carried by hand or be slung over your shoulder, but you could certainly go longer or shorter to match your favorite way to carry.
The bag finishes at approximately 12″ high (at the high points along the side) x 9″ wide with a 2″ base and sides and an 18″ handle loop.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful for precise topstitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 54″+ wide 8-9 oz solid color canvas or similar for the exterior
- ¾ yard of 44″+ wide quilting cotton or similar in a coordinating print, for the lining
- ONE package of Dritz Suede Cowhide Elbow Patches; we used Black Dritz Patches
- ONE package of Dritz Denim Iron-On Patches for the optional front fused appliqué; we used Dark Blue Denim Dritz Patches
- ONE 18″ – 20″ pre-drilled purse handle; we used black
NOTE: Our handle measured 19″, which we liked because it was long enough to allow the bag to be slipped over the shoulder, but not so long that it couldn’t also be carried as a handbag.
- ONE Dritz Speedy Stitcher kit to attach both patches and handles
- ½ yard of 45″+ medium weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ½ yard of 45″+ medium weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Straight pins
- Clips – the Dritz Getta Grip® clips are a great option to help hold the patches and purse handle in place
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out TWO copies of the pattern, which consists of TWO pieces that have been bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern piece is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out all four pattern pieces along the solid lines. Using the printed single arrows as your guide, align each Piece 1 with a corresponding Piece 2 to create two triangle-ish sections. Flip over one of the sections and, using the printed double arrows as your guide, match up the two sections to create the full pattern piece.
- For all matching, butt together and tape; do not overlap. In the photos below, it might look like we overlapped our two sections, but that’s a bit of an illusion. We simply left a bit extra along the mid-line of each pattern to create a stronger “paper seam,” but if you look closely, you can see that we still butt together the pattern lines, using the double arrows as our guide.
- From the exterior fabric, cut the following:
TWO 12″ wide x 7″ high rectangles for the bag base
Using the assembled pattern, cut TWO bag top pieces
- From the lining fabric, cut the following:
TWO 11¾” wide x 7″ high rectangles for the bag base
Using the assembled pattern, cut TWO bag top pieces
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
TWO 12″ wide x 6½” high rectangles
Using the assembled pattern, cut TWO – on both pieces, trim back the bottom straight edge ½” – this will keep the bulky fleece out of the center seams.
- From the mid-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 11¾” wide x 7″ high rectangles
Using the assembled pattern, cut TWO
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each lining piece and the fleece to the wrong side of each exterior piece.
- To align the fleece, there should be ½” of fabric extending along the top edge of both exterior rectangles, and ½” of fabric extending along the bottom straight edge of the each top piece. All other edges are flush fleece-to-fabric.
Assemble the bag base
- Find the two bag base rectangles, which should have their fused fleece in place. Place them right sides together and pin along both sides.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides. Leave the top and bottom edges open.
- Turn the bag base loop right side out.
- Find one leather patch and cut it exactly in half.
- Pin one patch half over each side seam of the base. The patch should be positioned so its bottom straight edge sits 1½” up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric. Pin or clip in place.
- Using The Speedy Stitcher sewing awl and its standard waxed thread, stitch each patch in place. Along the curved edge of the patch, you can used the pre-drilled holes.
- Along the straight cut edge of the patches, you will need to mark stitch holes to match the pattern of the pre-drilled holes.
NOTE: If you are new to The Speedy Stitcher, check out our step-by-step tutorial. It really is both speedy and easy.
- When the patches are securely in place, turn the bag base loop wrong side out and align the bottom raw edge. Pin the bottom edge in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the bottom.
- Create 2″ box corners, which means your “corner fold” will be half that size or 1″.
- Double stitch the corner seams for extra security.
- Trim the seam allowance at each corner to ¼”. Because you measured and pinned so precisely, your corner patches will now sit right along the bottom edge of the bag.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How To Box Corners.
- Turn the bag base right side out, push out the corners and press well.
- Fold down the top raw edge ½” all around. Machine baste in place.
- The base lining is created in much the same way as the exterior but without the patches.
- Place the two interfaced lining rectangles right sides together and pin along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Box the bottom corners as above, measuring at 1″ for a 2″ finished box.
- Double stitch the corner and trim back to ¼”.
- Fold down the top raw edge ½” all around.
- And as above, machine baste this top fold to hold it in place during the rest of the construction.
- Find the four bag top pieces cut from the pattern.
- Place each exterior piece right sides together with a lining piece. Pin along both short sides and all along the diagonals of the top. The bottom straight edge remains open.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the top, pivoting at corners.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn right side out and press both top sections flat.
- Along the top edge only (not along either side) topstitch ¼” from the finished edge. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep the seam precise. We also lengthened our stitch. Start and stop your topstitching ¼” in from the side edge.
- Along the bottom raw edges of each top panel, use a ½” seam allowance and machine baste the bottom edge together. This basting line not only helps keep the layers flat, it will also act as a ½” guide line for the final match-up of bag bottom to bag top.
- Place the two top panels right side up and flat on your work surface to make a series of vertical guide lines. You can use pins for your marking and/or a fabric pen or pencil. If you use a marking tool, because you are working on the right side of the fabric, make sure it is one that will wipe away easily or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- First find the exact center of each panel. To do this, simply fold the piece in half, matching the short sides, and place a mark at the fold. Draw a vertical line at this point. This is the center of the bag’s side. Measure 1″ to the right of center and 1″ to the left of center and draw two additional parallel vertical lines. This now indicates the full 2″ side panel. Finally, measure ¼” to the right of the furthermost right vertical line, and ¼” to the left of the furthermost left vertical line. At each of these quarter inch points, create markings for a 3½” tall (measuring from the bottom edge up) vertical line. You should have a total of five vertical guide lines on each panel.
- Place one panel right side up, then overlap the remaining top panel – also right side up. Place one edge of second along the left 3½” vertical line of the first panel. This in the beginning of your overlap. Pin the short side in place.
- Wrap the second top panel all the way around to meet the right short line on the original panel. Pin in place.
- Here’s a bird’s eye view of what is happening with the two overlapping panels as well as a transparent drawing of the overlap.
- With the top panels pinned in place, test that the top will fit into the bottom. The bottom is a set box, but you can still slightly adjust the wrap of the top if need be so it’s a snug fit into the bottom.
- Once you are sure you have a good fit, mark a vertical line at the exact center of the both the front and back overlap points (where the “Vs” of the top diagonals come together).
- Unpin the back overlap so you can stitch the three front vertical seams with the panels flat.
- First topstitch the side edge of the overlapped panel in place. Use a ¼” seam allowance so you can make a neat, intersecting corner with the original topstitching line along the top of the panel. We again used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot. And we lengthened our stitch to match the other topstitching.
- Next, stitch along the drawn center line and finally along the drawn 3½” right vertical line.
- While the top panel is still flat, place your optional appliqués. Ours are die-cut from a Dritz Denim Iron-On Patch. We used a the Sizzix Big Shotdie-cutting machine and a Tim Holtz Gadget Gears die pattern. Follow our lead, use your own design, or use one of the fun Dritz Patch Templates, which can be cut by hand.
- We artfully aligned our “Gadget Gears” design from just over the center seam line to just before the right short vertical seam.
- Fuse the appliqués in place.
Finish the bag top
- With the front finished, re-overlap and re-pin the back into place.
- Stitching the three back seams will be a bit trickier than the three front seams since you are now working with a loop rather than a nice flat piece. If you have a free arm on your machine, now is a good time to use it.
- Stitch the center seam first, flattening it under the needle as you go. You are following your original drawn guide line.
- Then stitch the side overlap seam and the final 3½” vertical seam. Since the bag top lining is open from both ends, you may find it easiest to stitch halfway from one end, then flip the bag around and stitch from the opposite direction. If you choose this method, you’ll want to be careful to not create a big overlap in your two seams. Use a lock stitch at the meeting point or leave the thread tails long, pull them through to the back, and hand knot.
Attach the top to the base
- With the bag top right side out, find the bag base, which should also be right side out. The top of the bag base should have already been folded back ½” and machine basted in place. In addition, the bottom raw edge of the bag top should have a line of machine basting ½” in.
- Slide the bag base over the bag top, aligning the top folded edge of the bag base with the machine basting line of the bag top. Pin in place all around.
- Hand baste in place all around and remove the pins. You want the joint secure yet flexible for the final seam.
- Gently turn the bag wrong side out. Find the lining base. It should be right side out. As above, slip it into place over the lining top, aligning the top folded edge of the lining base with the machine basting line of the lining top. Pin in place.
- Then, hand baste in place, removing all the pins.
- Turn the bag right side out once again. Here’s a look down into the assembled, basted bag.
- The final topstitching seam is again ¼” and should have a matching lengthened stitch to all the rest of the topstitching. If possible, use a Quarter Inch Seam foot. All your topstitching is quite visible and it’s critical that it be neat and straight. Go slowly, keeping the layers as flat and smooth as possible.
- Again, if you have a free arm on your machine, this is the time to use it. Simply slip the bag over the free arm, gently folding the top to allow you to slip the bag all the way over the free arm to position the seam under the needle. This will give you a nice flat surface for this final, all-around seam.
- When the seam is complete, remove all the visible hand and machine basting threads.
Attach the handle
- Place the pre-drilled handle medallions at the exact center of each side. Pin in place.
- Using The Speedy Stitcher sewing awl and its standard waxed thread, stitch each end of the handle in place.
NOTE: Don’t forget to check out our how-to-tutorial on this nifty notion.
- You are stitching through all the layers of the bag.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild