Simply. Stunning. Of course we love all our bags and totes here at Sew4Home, but every once in awhile, one of the designs turns out so fabulously, it becomes an instant all-star favorite. That’s the case with this Ribbon Wrapped Bucket Bag. If you’re a regular Sew4Home visitor, you know we are big fans of ribbon embellishment – especially Renaissance Ribbons. Their woven jacquard ribbons are the brightest, most beautiful ribbon we’ve ever found. Our tall drawcord duffle is the perfect project to showcase a merry-go-round of color.
We used olive green, a unique and always on-trend color, as the backdrop for the ribbon. You definitely want a solid palette to allow the ribbons to shine. Also, look for a lightweight canvas or heavy-weight twill to give the duffle its proper structure. The lining, in a coordinating solid, is a standard quilting cotton.
Okay… plain colors are done. Now the ribbon! We selected seven different ribbons for our eight ribbon stack, which means we used one of the ribbons twice (bet you were able to do that math in your head!). Our selection shows how you can mix and match across designer collections and then bring in basics, like the Satin Stripe and French Grosgrain we used. There are links below to the exact ribbons we used, including an alternative ribbon for the one Daffodil ribbon that is, unfortunately, no longer available.
Because of the vibrant colors inherent in most ribbons, we prefer to stitch them in place with a clear monofilament thread in the top and bobbin for a nearly invisible finish. This is not mandatory, but it is a nicer look against the ribbon. For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It's also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread to feed correctly off the spool. Finally, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent shifting and puckering. If you'd prefer not to use invisible thread, choose colors that very closely match your ribbon, and take the time to re-thread as often as needed to maintain a perfect match.
A ring of metal grommets allows the top of the bag to cinch closed with its own matching drawcord and slider. Even though we did use a heavier exterior fabric, we still felt the drawcord needed a little more oomph. To add the proper dimension, we show you how to enclose two lengths of thin, soft cording.
Our Duffle features doubled straps that knot at the shoulder. They can be adjusted longer to be worn crossbody or shortened to wear over one shoulder. However you wear it, keep an eye on your duffle. Your friends may want to snatch it… or at they very least, they'll pester you to make one for them.
A free pattern download is included below for the bag’s circular base panel. It’s Sew4Home, so of course we have summarized steps for this circle-into-a-tube process as well as a link to a more detailed technique tutorial.
Our duffle finishes at approximately 14" high with a 10” base. The shoulder straps finish at approximate 28” in length and are designed to knot at your shoulder, adjusting the knot for your best fit.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Satin Stitch foot; optional, our choice on this project for construction as well as for precise topstitching and decorative stitching
- Janome Edge Guide foot; optional, our choice for precise ribbon stitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- SIX one-yard lengths of coordinating ribbon and ONE two-yard length of a seventh coordinating ribbon; you have 12” in finished height with which to work. We recommend varying your ribbon widths for the most interesting look. When calculating, don’t forget to leave room for the decorative stitch accents between the ribbon bands. We used the following ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons:
1 yard of ⅞” wide Mighty Corners in Green from the Splendor collection by Amy Butler for Renaissance Ribbons
1 yard of 1½” wide Stripes and Dots in Pink from the Slow & Steady collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
1 yard of ⅞” wide Winner in Orange from the Slow & Steady collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
2 yards of ⅝” wide Gold/Brown Reversible Satin Stripe from Renaissance Ribbons
1 yard of 1½” wide Animal Grandstand in Yellow/Green from the Slow & Steady collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
1 yard of 1½” wide Artistic Daffodils in Yellow/Green by LFN Textiles for Renaissance Ribbons
NOTE: This ribbon is no longer available; as an alternative, we suggest: Brown Big Polka Dots
1 yard of 1" wide French Grosgrain in Lichen from Renaissance Ribbons
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide lightweight canvas or heavyweight twill for the bag exterior, straps, drawcord, strap tabs, and drawcord slider; we used Sew Classics Bottomweight 100% Cotton Twill in Olive Night
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the lining; we used Kona Cotton in Moss
- ¾ yard of 45"+ wide fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus
- ⅓ yard of 45" wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- 3 yards of skinny, soft piping cord or similar; we used ⅛” piping cord
- ONE sheet of plastic canvas or similar for the base insert; you need an apx. 12” x 12” square from which to cut your base circle
- FIVE Double Cap Rivets; we used Dritz® Double Cap Rivets in nickel (one package)
- Cutting and Setting tools for rivets; we used Dritz® Rivet Tools
- TWELVE extra-large (7/16”) grommets; we used Dritz® Extra-Large Grommets in nickel (two packages)
- Grommet setting tools; we used Dritz® Grommet Tools
- TWO 1” rectangle rings; we used Dritz® Rectangle Rings in nickel
- All purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
- One contrasting all purpose thread for the decorative stitching; we used a bright pop of yellow-green
- Monofilament thread for ribbon stitching; optional, but our recommendation for the best finish; we used Aurifil Monofilament in Clear
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Sewing awl or similar for grommet marking
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Seam sealant; optional for the ends of the drawcord and to reinforce the holes for the grommets; we used Dritz Fray Check
- Small hammer to set rivets; 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 for the rivets and grommets
- Cellophane tape or similar for the piping cord
Getting Started - Pattern Downloads
- Download and print out our Ribbon Wrapped Duffle Pattern consisting of THREE pattern sheets (one for the base and two for the grommet placement template), which have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier. You will need to print FOUR COPIES of the base pattern sheet.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern page 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 rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
- Assemble the four base quarters into a circle, following the drawing on the pattern sheet itself. Butt together the pieces (do not overlap) and tape to create your full circle pattern.
- Butt together (do not overlap) the four grommet placement template pieces, aligning the arrows printed on the pieces. Tape together to create the full template.
- From the fabric for the bag exterior, straps, drawcord, strap tabs, and drawcord slider, cut the following:
Using the assembled base pattern, cut ONE
ONE 32½” wide x 13” high rectangle for the main exterior
ONE 1½” x 50” strip for the drawcord
FOUR 1½” x 30” strips for the straps
ONE 32½” wide x 3¼” high rectangle for the drawcord panel
ONE 4” x 2½” rectangle for the drawcord slider
TWO 3” x 1½” rectangles for the strap tabs
NOTE: There are a lot of pieces, it can be helpful to label them to help you keep track of what’s what.
- From the fabric for the lining, cut the following:
TWO 32½” wide x 13” high rectangle; one for the main body and one for the pocket panel
ONE 32½” wide x 3¼” high rectangle for the drawcord panel
TWO 3” x 1½” rectangles for the strap tabs
Using the assembled base pattern, cut ONE
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
ONE 31½” x 12" rectangle for the main exterior
Using the base pattern, but cutting along the dotted stitch line rather than the outside solid line, cut ONE
- From the fusible interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 31½” x 2¼” rectangle for the drawcord panel
ONE 31½“ x 6" rectangle for the pocket panel
- From the plastic canvas, use the trimmed base pattern (the same as used to cut the fusible fleece) to cut ONE.
NOTE: It’s hard to pin a pattern to plastic canvas. It’s better to trace around the pattern and then cut along your drawn line.
- Cut each of the six one-yard ribbon lengths to a 32½” length. From the two-yard ribbon length, cut TWO 32½” lengths. You should end up with eight lengths of ribbon in total.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Assemble the lining and its pocket
- Find the 32½“ x 13” pocket panel. Fold it in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 32½” x 6½”. Press to set a crease line.
- Open up the panel, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible.
- Find the 31½” x 6” interfacing panel.
- Center the interfacing on one half of the pocket panel. The top edge of the interfacing should be flush with the pocket panel’s crease line. There should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on the sides and along the bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Re-fold the pocket in half, wrong sides together, and mark for the six pocket divisions. First find the exact center of the panel. Measure ¾” to the right of center and draw a vertical line at this point. Then measure ¾” to the left of center and draw a parallel line. This forms the center 1½” pencil pocket.
- From the rightmost pencil pocket line, draw two additional parallel lines, each 5” apart. Repeat to the left of the left-most pencil pocket line.
- The drawing below shows you our measuring diagram. As always, you’re welcome to adjust the number of pockets and the pocket widths to best fit what you wish to carry.
NOTE: As always, when working on the right side of the fabric, make sure your marking tool is one that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Find the main lining panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the folded and marked pocket panel right side up on the lining panel. The bottom and side raw edges of the pocket panel should be flush with the bottom and side edges of the lining panel.
- Pin in place, leaving plenty of space around the drawn guide lines.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch slightly.
- Stitch along each of the six drawn guide lines from the bottom to the top of the pocket panel through all the layers. For the neatest finish, use a lock stitch to secure the seam at the beginning and end. If you don’t have this feature, leave the thread tails long, pull them through to the back, and knot to secure.
- Fold the lining/pocket panel in half, right sides together, aligning the 13” raw edges. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together, creating a tube.
- Press open the seam allowance, then press well from both the front and the back. You can see in the photo below that we took extra care to make sure the top edge of our pocket panel was perfectly aligned when stitching the seam to create the lining tube.
Insert the lining base panel
- Find the lining base panel. It is sewn in place following the traditional method of inserting a flat base into a tube. If you are new to this type of technique, check out our full step-by-step tutorial.
- Fold the base panel in half vertically and then horizontally to find the four quadrant points of the circle, like the four main points on the face of a clock (12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00).
- Flatten the lining tube in a similar fashion to find its four quadrant points. The back center point is the back seam, and the front center point is directly opposite the back seam. Fold in this direction first and insert marking pins. Then flatten in the opposite direction and align this first set of pins to find the side center points.
- Turn the lining tube wrong side out. Set the base into the lining tube so the two pieces are right sides together (it's a little like setting a lid upside down into a box). Align the four "clock face" pin points of the base to the matching points on the tube. Pin together at these points first, then fill in around the base. Don't be afraid to use a lot of pins in order to get the two pieces to lay flat against one another. It's best to pin in small sections, easing as you go.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the base. Go slowly, holding the layers flat with your fingers if necessary to avoid any puckers, especially around the curves.
- Again, if you are new to this technique, check out our circle-into-a-tube tutorial.
- Set aside the lining, leaving it wrong side out.
Create the top drawcord panel with the rectangle rings
- Find the exterior and lining 1½” x 3” strap tabs. You should have two of each. Place each set of exterior and lining tabs right sides together. Pin in place along the 3” sides.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance stitch both 3” sides.
NOTE: If necessary, adjust your thread in the top and bobbin. Our exterior and lining colors were quite similar, but we did re-thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin.
- Turn right side out through the open ends. Press flat then press in half so the little folded tabs are now 1” wide x 1½” high.
- Find the two rectangle rings. Slip a tab through each ring. The ring sits against the fold of the tab; the tab's raw ends are still flush.
- Find the 32½” wide x 3¼” exterior and lining drawcord panels panels and the 31½” wide x 2¼” interfacing panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the exterior panel. There should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place the fused exterior and the lining panels right sides together. Pin along the top raw edges only.
- Find the exact center point of the layered panels. Mark this point with a pin. Then measure 7⅞” to the right of center and 7⅞” to the left of center. Mark both of these outer positions with pins.
NOTE: The drawing in the pocket instructions above also shows this tab positioning.
- Insert a tabbed ring at each 7⅞” position in between the exterior and lining layers. The raw ends of each tab should be flush with the top raw edges of the exterior and lining layers and the tab should be centered over the marked point.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top edge only.
- Press flat, pressing the seam allowance down towards the lining panel.
- Place the ends of the sewn strip right sides together, forming a loop. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. Press open the seam allowance.
- Press up the raw edge of the lining ½” all around.
- Set aside the drawcord panel loop.
Create the shoulder straps and drawcord
- Find the four 1½” x 30 strap strips, the one 1½” x 50 drawcord strip, and the skinny piping cord. On the each of the four 30” strips, fold back each 30” raw edge ¼” and press well.
- Fold in half, wrong sides together, so the 30” folded edges are flush.
- Tuck in each end ¼” so the strips are finished on all sides.
- If necessary, re-thread with thread to best match the straps in both the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the double-fold edges…
- … and across each end.
- On the 50” drawcord strip fold back each 50” raw edge ¼” and press well. Fold in half, wrong sides together, so the 50” folded edges are flush. Both ends of this strip remain raw.
- Cut two 50” lengths of piping cord. Open up the folded strip and place the lengths of cord, one on top of the other, down the center. As mentioned, this will add some needed dimension to the drawcord.
- Re-fold the strip so the folded edges are again flush.
- At each end, tape together the ends of the cording, then trim off approximately ¾” from each end.
- This ¾” “dead space” at each end will make it easier to knot the ends, which is our finishing step below.
- Attach a Zipper foot.
- Stitch down the double-fold edges, running the seam as close to the cording as possible.
Adding the ribbons and decorative stitching to the main exterior panel
NOTE: All measurements are figured for our set of Renaissance Ribbons. If you use a different selection of their ribbons or other ribbons, you will need to refigure the placement to ensure the ribbons are evenly balanced top to bottom. When figuring, don’t forget to leave at least an extra ¾” (above the decorative stitching) at the top and bottom for the seam allowances.
- Find all your ribbons and the main exterior panel. Place the fabric panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- We started with the second ribbon (Stripes and Dots in Pink) from the top because this ribbon sits exactly 2” down from the top raw edge. Pin the ribbon in place, placing the pins down the center of the ribbon and making sure the ribbon’s edge stays parallel with the top raw edge of the fabric across the entire width of the panel.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin – or go with our choice: clear monofilament in the top and bobbin. Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both long sides. We used our Janome Edge Guide foot for all the ribbon stitching.
- Place the first ribbon (Mighty Corners in Green) into position 5/16” above the stitched-down ribbon. Again, make sure the new ribbon is parallel across the entire width of the panel. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both long sides.
- Place the third ribbon into position (Winner in Orange) below the second ribbon, maintaining the same 5/16” spacing. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both long sides.
- Continue in this same manner with the same 5/16” spacing to add the fourth ribbon (Gold/Brown Reversible Satin Stripe) and fifth (Animal Grandstand in Yellow/Green) ribbon.
- Between the fifth and sixth ribbons, we used a ⅝” spacing. This is the band that will feature a double line of decorative stitching. Pin the sixth ribbon (Gold/Brown Reversible Satin Stripe) in place with this wider spacing.
- The seventh (Artistic Daffodils in Yellow/Green-or alternative) and eighth (French Grosgrain in Lichen) ribbons return to the 5/16” spacing.
- As above, pin each ribbon in place and then edgestitch along both long sides.
- Re-thread the machine with the contrasting thread for the decorative stitching and select a bold decorative stitch. As always, we suggest practicing on scraps with a variety of width and length settings as well as various stitches in order to find your favorite look.
- Stitch down the center of the empty space between each pair of ribbons. Then, add a line of stitching at the very top and the very bottom, maintaining your same spacing.
- Remember, in the larger ⅝” space, use two lines of stitching.
Form the main panel into a tube and insert the base
- Find the fusible fleece panel. Place it on the wrong side of the main exterior panel, which should have all the ribbons and decorative stitching in place. There should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Fold the fused panel in half, right sides together, aligning the 13” raw edges. Pin in place, making sure to carefully align the ends of all the ribbon and well as the decorative stitching.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together to form a tube.
- Press open the seam allowance and press well from both sides.
- Find the exterior base panel and its matching piece of fusible fleece. Center the fleece on the wrong side of the base panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- The base panel is sewn in place following the same method you used above to create the lining. As we recommended, if you are new to this technique, check out our full step-by-step tutorial. First find the quarter points of the base circle, like the four points on the face of a clock.
- As you did above with the lining, flatten the exterior tube in a similar fashion to find its four center points.
- Turn the exterior tube wrong side out. Set the base into the exterior tube so the two pieces are right sides together. Align the four "clock face" pin points of the base to the matching points on the tube. Pin together at these points first, then fill in around the base.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the base.
Assemble the exterior and lining with the top drawcord panel
- Find the exterior bag and turn it right side out. Find the plastic canvas base and place it into the exterior bag. Push the plastic canvas all the way down so it sits flat against the bottom of the bag.
- Find the lining bag, which should still be wrong side out.
- Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two layers are now wrong sides together. Flatten and align the base panels of the layers and align the back seams of the exterior and the lining. The plastic canvas is sandwiched between the layers. The grippyness of the fleece keeps the plastic from shifting. The top raw edge of the lining should be aligned with the top raw edge of the exterior.
- Find the grommet panel loop and slip it over the top of the bag. The top raw edge of the grommet panel loop (the exterior side) should be flush with the top raw edges of the bag. Align the grommet loop’s seam with the bag’s center back seam. Pin in place all around through all the layers.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all around the top through all the layers. This means you are stitching along but not on the edge of the interfacing, giving you a handy guide line to follow.
- Grade the seam allowances if necessary. With our fabric choices, we didn’t find it necessary.
- Bring the loop up into position, pressing the seam allowance up toward the loop panel. Press well all around so the seam is nice and sharp.
- Fold the lining half of the grommet loop down into position at the inside of the bag, which means you’re folding along the exterior/lining seam of the drawcord panel. The folded edge of the loop's lining should cover the seam allowance evenly and neatly all around inside the bag. If need be, adjust the fold of the lining to create an even line.
- Re-thread the machine if necessary to make sure you have thread to best match the exterior grommet panel in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch once all around ⅛” from the bottom seam within the loop panel. Go slowly and carefully to insure you are catching the back folded edge evenly all the way around.
- Then edgestitch around again ⅛” from the top seam.
Grommets and slider
- Find the Grommet Placement Template. Place it in position around the top of the bag. The Template has guide lines for the center front and the back seam so it’s easy to align correctly. Pin the template in place.
- Use an awl or similar to poke a hole at the center point of each grommet crosshairs.
- Using a fabric pen or pencil, push the tip through each hole all the way around the top of the bag to mark the center point of all twelve grommets.
- Remove the Template.
- We used our Dritz Rivet Cutting Tool to enlarge the hole at each marked dot. Then cut open each hole further with small, sharp scissors.
NOTE: After cutting each hole, you can add a drop of seam sealant, such as Fray Check to prevent raveling.
- Insert a grommet at each marked point
- Use the setting tools to hammer and seal each grommet.
- Repeat to set all twelve grommets. If you are brand new to working with grommets, you can check out our full tutorial on How to Insert Metal Grommets.
- Find the drawcord.
- Starting at the front left grommet, weave the drawcord in and out through the twelve grommets.
- Find the little 4” x 2½” strip and one rivet.
- Fold the strip in half so it is now 4” x 1¼”.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch along the 4” side and across one end. Clip the corners.
- Turn right side out through the open end. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this. Fold in the raw edges of the open end so they are flush with the sewn seam. Hand stitch the opening closed. Press flat.
- Fold in the ends to the center, overlapping them about ½”. Pin in place.
- Stitch vertically through all the layers, securing the overlap and creating two open channels to either side of the center seam.
- Insert a rivet at the exact center point through all the layers.
- To do this, use the cutting tool to make a hole at the exact center.
- Insert the rivet top from the front through to the back.
- Attach the cap at the back and use the tools to seal and set.
NOTE: The steps for riveting are really quite easy, but if you’re brand new to the technique, you can certainly review our general tutorial on How to Install Metal Rivets.
- Feed each end of the drawcord through one side of the slider.
- Tie a knot in each end.
Rivet the straps to finish
- Find the four straps. The straps are riveted in place side by side through the open end of each rectangle ring.
- Loop a strap through the ring, pulling it back on itself about ¾”. Make sure you are looping the strap through in the correct direction. You want the pulled-back end to be facing the inside of the bag. Pin in place.
- Cut a hole through the layers, centering the hole within the strap. The bottom curve of the rivet should be about ¼” from the rectangle ring.
- Insert the stud of the rivet front to back
- Snap the cap into place and seal as you did above with the slider.
- Repeat to add a second strap. Then repeat to add the remaining double straps through the opposite rectangle ring.
- Knot together all the free ends at your shoulder at your best length.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand