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What are gypsies often known for? Traveling. And what do you need for traveling? A beautiful bag. Our soft and slouchy boho bag blends seven different fabric designs into the ultimate dramatic statement: color, pattern and texture combine from all sides. Lightweight batting between layers keeps keeps the shape without losing the cush. And a row of perky pom poms along the top edge marks this as one super creative carry-all.

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What are gypsies often known for? Traveling. And what do you need for traveling? A beautiful bag. Our soft and slouchy boho bag blends seven different fabric designs into the ultimate dramatic statement: color, pattern and texture combine from all sides. Lightweight batting between layers keeps keeps the shape without losing the cush. And a row of perky pom poms along the top edge marks this as one super creative carry-all.

Our thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for providing all the beautiful Gypsy Bandana fabric from the Gypsy Jewel colorway. You can find it in store and online now, including at Fat Quarter Shop, Fabric.com and Quilt Home. Take a look at our interview with Val Pillow and Anne Maxfield to find out more about the creative spirits who bring these fabulous collections to life.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric for the bag exterior: ¼ yard EACH of 44-45″ wide PRINT fabric in FOUR coordinating designs; we used Gypsy Bandana in Kiwi Kaleidoscope (Front Left), Green FireFly (Front Right), Sapphire Moonflower (Back Left) and Sapphire Gypsy Paisley (Back Right) by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • Fabric for the back of the strap and the pocket front: ⅓ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric; we used Gypsy Bandana in Aqua Gypsy Road by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • Fabric for the front of the strap: ¼ yard of 44-45″ wide SOLID accent fabric; we used Moda’s cotton velvet in Hunter Green
    NOTE: You don’t have to use a velvet, but adding in a texture with the smoothness of the cottons is a wonderful combination. Also, you might be able to find a scrap of something to use from your fabric stash, you need just enough to cut a 3″ x 37″ strip.
  • Fabric for bag and pocket lining: ¾ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric; we used Gypsy Bandana in Kiwi Kaleidoscope by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¾ yard of lightweight batting for bag and pocket: we used Kyoto Bamboo Batting from Fabric.com
  • ¾ yard of ½” pom poms on self tape/ binding; we used Orange ½” poms from CreateForLess
    NOTE: These poms are a great price, but you need to buy a minimum of 18 yards. Other outlets carry ½” pom tape by the yard in a variety of colors.
  • Magnetic bag clasp (optional)
  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Since this bag is designed to have a dramatic effect with its vibrant combination of prints, it is important to pay attention to how you cut all your pieces. The yardages given above should provide you with enough fabric to fussy cut all your pieces to create the best look for each exterior panel and especially for the horizontal impact of the pocket front and the long narrow strip that is the back of the strap.

  1. From the fabric for the bag exterior [in our sample: Kiwi Kaleidoscope (Front Left), Green FireFly (Front Right), Sapphire Moonflower (Back Left) and Sapphire Gypsy Paisley (Back Right)], cut ONE 8″ wide x 16″ high panel from EACH fabric.
  2. From the fabric for the back of the strap and the pocket front (Aqua Gypsy Road in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 3″ x 37″ strip
    ONE 8″ wide x 7″ rectangle
  3. From the fabric for the front of the strap (green cotton velvet in our sample), cut ONE 3″ x 37″ strip.
  4. From the fabric for the lining (Kiwi Kaleidoscope in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 15″ x 16″ rectangles
    ONE 8″ x 7″ rectangle
  5. From the lightweight batting, cut the following:
    TWO 15″ x 16″ rectangles
    ONE 8″ x 7″ rectangle

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Make and place the front pocket and create the bag front

  1. Find your three pocket pieces and layer them as follows: batting, pocket front right side up, pocket lining right side down.
  2. Pin together along the top and bottom (the 8″ sides) through all the layers.
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  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together along top and bottom. The side edges remain raw.
  4. Trim the seam allowance layers close to the stitching.
  5. Turn right side out through the side openings and press well.
  6. Position the pocket on the right front panel (Green Firefly in our sample) so the top of the pocket is 4½” from the top raw edge of the panel. This should make the bottom of the pocket 5½” from the bottom raw edge of the panel. The raw side edges of the pocket should be aligned with the raw side edges of the panel.
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  7. Edgestitch the pocket in place along the bottom of the pocket only.
  8. Find the other front panel (Kiwi Kaleidoscope in our sample) and place it right sides together with the sewn pocket panel, sandwiching the pocket between the layers.  Pin together along the long inside edge.
  9. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together through all the layers. This secures the left side of the pocket.
  10. Open the finished bag front and iron well, pressing the seam allowance open.
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Create the bag back and attach front to back

  1. Find the two back panels (Sapphire Moonflower and Sapphire Gypsy Paisley in our sample).
  2. Place the two panels right sides together. Pin together along the long inside edge.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together.
  4. Open the finished bag back and iron well, pressing the seam allowance open.
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  5. Place the finished front and finished back right sides together, being careful to line up all your seams.
  6. Pin together along the bottom edges.
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together.
  8. Open the finished bag exterior and iron well, pressing the seam allowance open. Set aside.
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Create the lining

  1. Place a piece of batting against the wrong side of each lining piece. Align all the raw edges, being very careful to make sure both pieces are super flat. Pin in place all around. Check again that both layers have stayed flat.
  2. If need be, once everything is layered and flat, trim the batting so it is completely flush with the lining.
  3. Machine baste the two layers together around all four sides, staying about ¼” from the raw edges. Press well.
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  4. Place the layered front and back lining pieces right sides together and pin together along the bottom edges.
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together.
  6. Open the finished bag lining and iron well, pressing the seam allowance open. Set aside.
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Side seams and boxed bottom corners

  1. Fold the lining piece right sides together, matching the raw edges. Pin in place.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides together from the bottom up to the top.
  3. With the lining still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners of the bag.
  4. Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one bottom corner.
  5. As you keep pulling, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with the corner point at the top and the side seam line running down the middle of one side. Repeat for the opposite corner.
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  6. Measure 1½” from the tip of each corner peak and draw a horizontal line.
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  7. Pin your folded ‘peaks’ and stitch along the drawn lines.
  8. Stitch back and forth along the line two or three times to reinforce. Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼” from the seam line.
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  9. Turn right side out and push out to form the boxed corners.
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  10. Repeat steps 1-9 to form boxed corners on the exterior bag piece.

Top pom pom accents

  1. Turn under the top raw edge of the exterior bag and the lining ½” and press in place.
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  2. Cut your pom pom tape into two 10″ strips.
  3. With your bag lining wrong side out, center one strip along the top folded-back lip on each side of the bag. The strips should be centered nicely side to side, the poms should be sticking straight up from the folded edge with the edge of the pom tape sitting just below the folded edge, and the line of poms should match front to back. Pin in place. 
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  4. Stitch the pom strips in place long the top folded edges of the lining.
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Optional magnetic clasp

  1. We chose to put in a magnetic bag clasp. This needs to be inserted in the lining so the back of the clasp is hidden between the layers.
  2. The clasp you purchase is likely to come with basic instructions, but here is a summary of the steps: First find the center point on both sides of the lining. Mark this center point with a cross hairs of pins.
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  3. The clasp has sharp prongs designed to poke through the fabric. I recommend pressing the prongs into position just enough to make an indent in the fabric, then make a couple tiny cuts with a small, sharp pair of scissors at those indents. This will help the prongs poke through without tearing the fabric.
  4. Push through from front to back.
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  5. Repeat to place the opposite part of the clasp on the other side. Test the alignment of the two pieces to be sure your centering is correct. You don’t want to the top of the bag to ripple, which it will do if the two clasp pieces are off-set.
  6. Once you are sure of the clasps’ positions, slide on the back locking piece and gently hammer down one prong and then the other.
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Finish the body of the bag and make and attach the strap

  1. Turn the lining wrong side out and slip it inside the bag so the lining and the bag are wrong sides together.
  2. Align the side seams of the lining and the bag and the top folded edges.
  3. Pin the lining to the bag along these top folded edges all the way around the opening of the bag, being careful to work around the poms.
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  4. Stitch all around the top opening of the bag ¼” from the folded edges, attaching the lining to the bag.
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  5. Find the two 3″ x 37″ strips, which are the front and back of your strap.
  6. Place the two strips right sides together and pin around all four sides, leaving an approximate 3″ – 4″ opening along one long side for turing.
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  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, remembering to pivot at each corner and backstitch at each side of the opening.
  8. Clip the corners at a diagonal and trim back the seam allowance to about ¼”, except along the opening. Leave the seam allowance ½” along the raw edges of the opening.
  9. Turn right side out through the opening. Poke out the corners with a long, blunt tool, like a chopstick, so they are nice and sharp. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  10. Edgestitch around all four sides. This secures the layers together and closes the opening.
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    NOTE: Because velvet can be a little shifty, especially when layered with cotton, I used my walking foot to keep my layers flat. It was also crucial that I kept my long and narrow design motif exactly straight – the walking foot helped with this as well.
  11. Pin each end of the strap in place, centered on the side seam. Your strap should extend approximately 1″ to either side of the seam and sit approximately 2″ below the top folded edge.
  12. Stitch in place using a box stitch with a reinforcing “X” stitched through the center.
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Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation: Liz Johnson

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