When was the last time you wanted to give your handbag a hug? This faux fur bucket bag is a great combination of structure and softness in the perfect smaller size. Its easygoing style can be dressed up or down so you’ll look great on the way to an evening at the ballet or a morning at the coffee shop. We love working with luxury faux fur from Shannon Fabrics; it’s very realistic in both look and feel and surprisingly easy to sew. If you’ve not tried your hand at faux fur before, read on to learn our favorite tips and tricks for the easiest, most professional results.
To complete the soft outlines of this bag, we combined the Shannon Faux Fur with a lightweight faux leather for the strap and drawcord and a smooth satin for the lining. We recommend closely matching your lining to your faux fur. Fusible fleece adds structure but is carefully cut and positioned to stay out of all the seam allowances. It’s also minimized at the top to allow for the pretty gathered closure.
When sewing with faux fur, quality is very important, which is why we always choose Shannon Fabrics. They are the industry leader in all things soft! Luxury faux fur can certainly be a bit more expensive than other substrates you’re used to working with, but for a project like this, a half yard is plenty to allow you to cut all the panels with the nap running correctly on all sides. And if you were to go for just a slightly larger cut – ⅝ instead of ½ – you could create a bag for yourself and one for a friend! Plus, here’s the capper: compare your total expenditure with the costs we spotted for similar bags online: they started at $450 and went up from there… and, no, that wasn’t for real fur! Shannon’s luxury faux furs help save your wallet and our wildlife.
As mentioned above, sewing with faux fur is simpler than you might imagine. We outline several of the best techniques below, including a great tip from Shannon Fabrics that involves packing tape help keep the faux fur from flying. For even more information, check out our full tutorial on working with faux fur.
A drawcord weaves through 12 grommets around the top – yes, you can insert grommets into faux fur! The big gathers at the top can be spread apart just enough to drop in keys or other small items with just one hand. Untie the drawcord bow and open it up all the way. A 6" inset base means it will hold plenty.
The shoulder strap, which snaps through D-rings along the top of the bag, is made up of two snap-together pieces for an adjustable length from approximately 42” - 50” with 46” being the mid-length with all three snaps are aligned. Wear it over the shoulder or crossbody.
Our thanks to Shannon Fabrics for sponsoring this custom bag project. Not only do they bring us super soft faux furs, they also have a huge selection of Cuddle plush, Embrace Double Gauze, fabulous faux suede, terry cloth, and silky satin. Check out all of softness online, and ask for Shannon at your favorite in-store or online retailed.
This bag finishes at approximately 8" wide x 10" high x 6" deep.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but is really your best option for the thickness of the rich Shannon Faux Fur – you could also engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system – we used the built-in AucFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system on our Janome machine
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 54"+ wide faux fur for the exterior; we used 58/60” Shannon Fabrics Luxe Tip Dyed Sable Faux Fur in Cappuccino
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide satin or similar for the lining; we used a standard satin lining fabric, purchased locally
- ¼ yard of faux leather or suede for the strap, strap tabs, and drawcord; we used a lightweight metallic faux leather, purchased locally – you need a soft hand to your faux leather so the multiple folds are possible without too much bulk
- TWO 1" D-rings; we used 1” Dritz D-rings in Gilt
- FIVE ⅝” heavy duty snaps and snap setting tools; we used Dritz Heavy Duty Snaps in Gilt and Dritz Heavy Duty Snap Pliers
- TWELVE ¼” grommets/eyelets and grommet setting tools; we used a Dritz Two Part Eyelet Kit with Tools
- ¼ yard of 45"+ wide fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam single-sided fusible fleece
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Sharpie® or similar to trace cut lines on the back of the faux fur
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth for working with the faux leather and faux fur
- Straight pins
- Clips for working with the faux leather; optional
- Small hammer to set grommets; we recommend a soft leather mallet or a ball peen hammer
- Heavy metal, stone or wooden block to use as a cutting and hammering surface; we use a small granite block
- Clear packing tape; optional for seam allowance “trick “described below
Getting Started & Pattern Download
- Download and print the ONE Bucket Bag Bag Pattern Sheet and the ONE Bucket Bag Grommet Placement Template, which have been bundled into ONE PDF file to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page in the PDF is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out the base pattern along the solid line.
- Following the arrows on the patterns, butt together and tape in place the three pieces that make up the Grommet Placement Template. Do NOT overlap.
- When working with faux fur, you need to first draw in your cut lines on the BACK of the fabric, then cut along these drawn lines. This goes for both the pieces for which you have a pattern as well as for the pieces that are simple shapes (the two rectangles in this project).
- When cutting, the idea is to cut only the backing and not the nap of the fleece. Use just the tips of your sharpest scissors. With the wrong side facing up, slide the bottom blade of the scissors up next to the backing. Cut with short, deliberate snips, being careful to cut just the backing. If you feel a drag, you're starting to cut the nap. Back off and start again.
- When done cutting, gently pull apart the pieces.
- From the exterior faux fur fabric (the Shannon Fabrics Tip Dyed Sable in our sample) cut the following – make sure the nap of the fur is running down on both the exterior panels as well as the base panel:
TWO 14" wide x 11" high rectangles for the main panels
Using the base pattern, cut ONE
- From the lining fabric (the satin in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 14" wide x 10½ “ high rectangles
Using the base pattern, cut ONE
- From the strap and drawcord fabric (the faux leather in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 1” x 46” strip for the drawcord
ONE 3” x 5” strip for the D-ring tabs
ONE 3” x 24” strip for one side of the snap strap
ONE 3” x 32” strip for the other side of the snap strap
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
TWO 13" x 6" rectangles
Using the base pattern, cut ONE along the dotted seam line
- For all the base panels, remember to transfers the marking dots from the pattern to the fabrics.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the exterior tube
- Find the faux fur and the fusible fleece rectangles. Position a fleece panel on the wrong side of each faux fur panel. The fleece should sit ½" up from the lower raw edge of the faux fur, ½" in from each side raw edge, and 4½” down from the upper raw edge of the fabric. The drawing below helps you visualize the position of the fleece against the faux fur and also emphasizes the downward flow of the nap.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the fleece in place on each panel. Even though you are working on the wrong side, pressing cloth is a handy option when fusing the fleece to the faux fur.
- Place the two panels right sides together, aligning all four sides.
- Pin or clip in place along the raw edges. When pinning faux fur, remember to tuck the hairs of the nap to the inside as you go so you are less likely to catch them up in the seam. As mentioned above, for more tips and techniques, check out our tutorial on working with faux fur.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides.
- From our friends at Shannon Fabrics, we have an extra trick for helping to keep excess bulk out of the faux fur seam allowances. Flatten the seam allowance and place a strip of packing tape along its length.
- With scissors, trim away the excess nap, pulling up on the tape as you trim. The excess nap adheres to the packing tape, reducing the mess and leaving a neater, less bulky seam allowance.
Set the exterior base into the exterior tube
- Find the exterior base cut using the pattern. In the Getting Started section above, you should have used the pattern to mark two dots as alignment points for the side seams. Fold the base in half in the opposite direction, aligning the marked dots, to find the front and back center points of the base panel. These marked points are similar to the points on the face of a clock (although our base is an oval rather than a full circle): 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00.
- You now need to create matching points in the bottom of the exterior tube. The two side seams are the 3:00 and 9:00 points. Align these two seams and flatten the tube. You now have folds exactly opposite the seams, which denote the front and back center points of the tube – or the 12:00 and 6:00 points on our imaginary clock face. Mark these points.
- Place the base panel into the tube, right sides together, matching up the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 points on both pieces. Pin just these marked points first, then fill in with pins around the entire base. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins to get a good fit.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all around. Go slowly and concentrate on keeping the seam allowance even.
- As above, you can trim away the excess nap within this seam allowance, however, the “packing tape trick” doesn’t work as well on a curve, so simply trimming away is the best bet. Go slowly and carefully to reduce mess and consider using a lint roller to clean up the seam allowance when done.
NOTE: If you are new to adding an inset base, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial on inserting a flat circle into a tube.
Create the lining
- Find the two lining panels and the lining base. The lining is created in the same manner as the exterior.
- First seam together the two panels along the sides.
- Mark and pin the lining base in place within the lining tube.
- Stitch the lining base in place, using a ½” seam allowance. Leave an approximate 5” opening in the base seam. This will be used later to accommodate turning the bag right side out to finish.
Create the D-ring loop and the two strap sections
- Find the three 3” strips (the faux leather in our sample): one at 5”, one at 24” and one at 24”.
- For each of the three strips, first fold the strip in half, wrong sides together.
- Use a pressing cloth to set this first fold so there is a clearly visible crease line. Faux leather does not take kindly to the heat of an iron so a pressing cloth is an important step.
- Open up each strip so the crease line is visible. Fold in each raw edge so they meet in the middle.
- On the two longer strap lengths, also fold in each end ½”.
- Fold each strip in half again along the original crease line. Clip in place.
- On the shorter D-ring tab length, the ends are open and raw. For the two longer strap lengths, you have four finished edges.
- Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the faux leather in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the folded edges.
- Then, edgestitch along the opposite single fold edge. On the longer strap lengths, remember to pivot and also edgestitch across both ends.
- Set aside the two longer strap lengths.
- Cut the shorter D-ring length in half into two 2½” pieces.
- Find the two D-rings.
- Slip the a tab through each of the D-rings, pulling it through so the raw ends align.
- Place the tabs in position at each side seam of the exterior bag. The tabs should be against the right side (the faux fur side) of the exterior tube, centered over each side seam, with the raw ends of the tab flush with the top raw edge of the tube. Pin in place.
- Machine baste in place close to the top raw edge.
Assemble lining with exterior
- Turn the lining inside out. Keep the exterior right side out. Slip the exterior inside the lining so the two layers are right sides together. Align the side seams of the two layers. Pin all the way around the top. As above, remember to tuck the nap to the inside as you go.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match fabric. We recommend stitching with the lining facing up, which means there should be thread to best match the lining in the top and to best match the exterior in the bobbin. We actually used the same color in both the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around the top.
- As you did above with the exterior base seam, you can trim the nap from the seam allowance to help reduce bulk. Remember to clean up with a lint roller.
- Turn the bag right side out through that opening you left in the base seam of the lining. Pull the D-ring tabs up into position.
- Hand stitch the opening in the lining closed with a tiny ladder stitch.
- Push the lining back down inside the bag. We added four additional hand tacks through the base of the bag, hiding the knots in the nap of the fur. These hand tacks help hold the lining down inside the bag – a little trick to a pro finish when working with slippery fabrics like satin.
- Along the top, pick out any hairs of the nap that might have gotten trapped in the upper seam. Then, press the upper edge of the satin down. Use a pressing cloth to avoid pressing the faux fur. You just need a bit of a press – perhaps with a small blast of steam – to keep the lining flat. The grommets actually hold the lining in place around the top.
Create the grommets
- Find the Grommet Placement Template. Cut out or punch out each hole. You don’t need to cut a perfect circle; you only need a small opening through which to mark the fabric. If you have a paper hole punch, this works great.
- Place the template against the lining (because you can’t mark on the nap of the faux fur).
- The edge of the template should align with the top seam.
- Make sure this alignment is even all the way around and that the marked side seams of the template are aligned with the bag’s side seams. Pin the template in place.
- With a fabric pen or pencil, mark the positions for the 12 grommets that will circle the top of the bag – six along the front and six along the back.
- Cut a small hole at each marked point. Again, this doesn’t need to be a huge hole. Just create a small opening into which you can insert the grommet. You can use a cutting tool (as we did), small scissors or an awl.
- The grommet itself will help open the hole all the way. Here is an example of the size of hole we opened from the lining side…
- … and from the faux fur side. You can use small, sharp scissors to help clean up the nap of the faux fur from around the opening.
- Insert a grommet at each opening. We used Dritz Two-Part Grommets/Eyelets, first inserting the top half through the hole from front to back.
- Then, we slipped the washer over the stem of the grommet top against the lining side.
- And finally, slipped the grommet back into position.
- The components were then secured with the grommet tools packaged with the grommets. You could also use grommet pliers to secure.
NOTE: For more information about this technique, take a look at our full Metal Grommets Tutorial.
Create the drawcord
- Find the 1” x 46” length of faux leather (or similar). Fold in in the same manner as you did above for the straps and D-ring tabs (including re-threading and re-setting for a slightly longer stitch length). You are simply working with a narrower strip. Because of the narrow (apx. ¼”) finished width, it’s only necessary to edgestitch along the double-fold side to secure.
- Both ends of the drawcord are open and raw.
Set the snaps into the two strap lengths
- The drawing below helps you visualize where the three snaps are set on the ends of the two strap lengths.
- The three snaps should be centered within the width of the strap with the first snap 1" in from the finished end and snaps two and three 2" apart.
- Follow manufacturer's instructions or our own handy tutorial on setting metal snaps.
- You will first cut a hole at each marked point, using your favorite tool.
- We used snap pliers to insert each half of each snap in position.
- At the opposite finished end of each snap, place an additional snap, which will allow that end to loop through the D-ring and snap into place.
- The cap side of each snap should be centered within the strap (just as above with the shoulder snaps) and 1" in from the finished end. The ball side of each snap should also be centered within the strap and 4" from the finished end.
Drawcord and D-ring snaps to finish
- Find the drawcord. Weave it in and out through the grommets.
- Cinch up the top of the bag then knot the drawcord and tie it into a generous bow. Trim away the excess as necessary to give yourself a balanced look. Our tails extend about 4” below the loops of the bow. Knot each end as shown in the beauty images in the project’s introduction.
- Insert the ends of the strap through the D-rings and snap into place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild