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Canvas Bucket Bag with Cinched Top and Two-Piece Snap Strap

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This crisp, cute bag is based on the look of one of the latest handbag trends. We've spotted these popular bucket bags on nearly every high-end accessories site as well as on the arms of many fashion-forward celebrities. They sell-out nearly as fast as they arrive at top boutiques. We made the design our own by creating the look in a modern canvas with polished nickel hardware and a matching twisted cord for the signature cinched top. It has a casual nautical feel – perfect for the warmer days ahead. Set a course for style.

We think a reason this bag has topped the charts 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 just 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. 

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

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. 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.
  2. From the lining fabric, cut TWO 17" wide x 13" high rectangles
  3. From the fusible fleece, cut TWO 16" wide x 12¼" high rectangles
  4. From the fusible interfacing, cut TWO 2" x 36" strips for the strap and tabs; these strips will be cut to length during construction
  5. 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. 

  1. From each bottom corner of each 17" wide x 19½" high main panel rectangle, cut a 3" x 3" square.
  2. 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. 
  3. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the fleece in place on each panel. 
  4. Along the top of each panel, make a 3¾" hem. To to this, fold down the top raw edge ½" and press, the fold down and additional 3¼" and press again. The folded edge of the hem should just cover the top of the fleece.
  5. Unfold the top hems and place the two exterior panels right sides together. Pin along both sides and across the bottom. 
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. The corner cut-outs remain un-sewn. 
  7. To create the corner boxes, align each side seam with the bottom seam and pin in place.
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the corner. We recommend a double seam for extra reinforcement. 
  9. Push out the corners. Press the seam allowances together and toward the bottom of the bag. Fold the top hem back down into position.

    Remember, if you are new to boxed corners, we have a full tutorial
  10. 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.
  11. 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. 
  12. Following manufacturer's instructions, set each foot in place. 

    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. 
  13. Remove the pins from bottom of the bag.
  14. Set aside the bag exterior.

Create the lining

  1. Find the two lining panels. As above, cut 3" squares from each bottom corner.
  2. Also as above, stitch the side seams and bottom seams, then box the borners.
  3. Push out the corners, but leave the lining wrong side out. 
  4. Find the exterior bag; it should be right side out. Unfold its top hem again.
  5. Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two are now wrong sides together. Push the lining all they down against the base of the exterior, aligning the bottom and side seams. 
  6. Fold the top hem back down into position one more time and pin it in place. 
  7. Topstitch the bottom fold of the hem (which has now become the bag's facing) in place all around the bag. Your seam should run just about ⅛" from the hem's edge.
  8. Run an additional line of topstitching around the very top folded edge of the bag. It should also be just about ⅛" from the folded edge.

Create the grommets

  1. Mark the positions for the 12 grommets that will circle the top of the bag – six along the front and six along the back.
  2. Find the exact center of the bag front by measuring from each side seam. 
  3. 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. 
  4. Working from these first points, place markings for two additional grommets to the right and two additional grommets to the left. All the grommets should be 2¼" apart. 
  5. Repeat to create a matching set of grommet placement marks on the back panel. 
  6. 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.
  7. Following manufacturer's instructions or our own great Metal Grommets Tutorial, set all 12 grommets in place.

Create the straps and strap tabs

  1. Find the two 3" x 36" fabric strips and the two 2" x 36" interfacing strips. 
  2. 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.
  3. Cut one strip down to 32". This will be the bag's longer strap.
  4. Cut the other strip into three pieces: 23" for the bag's shorter strap and TWO at 6½" for the strap tabs.
  5. 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".
  6. 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.
  7. Fold each strip in half, wrong sides together, aligning all the pressed edges.
  8. Edgestitch around all four finished sides of the two longer pieces and all three finished sides of the two shorter pieces.
  9. 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.
  10. Repeat to loop the remaining tab strip through the remaining D-ring.
  11. 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.
  12. Stitch in place through all the layers, creating a long rectangle box of stitching.
  13. Mark the longer strap pieces for the D-ring snaps and three adjustable shoulder snaps.
  14. 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.
  15. Follow manufacturer's instructions or our own handy tutorial on setting metal snaps to insert the three snaps.
  16. At the opposite finished end of each snap, place one additional snap, which will allow the end to loop through the D-ring and snap into place.
  17. 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. 
  18. Insert the ends of the strap through the D-rings and snap into place.

Drawcord options

  1. Find the cording. Weave it in and out through the grommets. 
  2. The two front tails can simply be tied into a bow, the tails cut to length, and the tail ends knotted.

  3. Or, you can use a large cord lock as a slider. This is the option we chose.

  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. Once pulled though the cords squish into one another and the cord lock easily slides up and down. 
  7. 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


Comments (18)

Molly Pitts said:
Molly Pitts's picture

Thank you for another fabulous tutorial. I just finished making this bag tonight and I loved sewing it. As per the usual, your directions are so clear and the extra details really set Sew4Home head and shoulders above many other sites. I do want to comment that I would suggest folks stick to a heavy duty snap. I used white pearl snaps because that is what JoAnn had that matched my project but I am going to re-do my whole strap because it isn't holding - especially at one side near the d-rings. This could be due to a lame-o snap or how I installed the snap. I did have problems using Drirz pliers so in frustration I tried the spool / hammer method and that worked like a charm. Also, I generally like a bigger bag and this one holds my stuff pretty well (it will once I fix the snaps). Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Molly - Thanks! We are so glad to hear things went well. And, thanks for the note about stitcking with the recommended larger snaps. I can imagine that the smaller snaps would have given you fits! Let us know how your "re-do" turns out and if you are on Facebook (sew4home) or Instagram (sew4home_diy), post a picture of your success!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Beth - thank you! so glad you love the bag.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Rochelle - cute bag - I like the little zippered pocket

Carolyn Pesterfield said:
Carolyn Pesterfield's picture

Excellent instructions - a rarity in today's world. And a very sweet bag!  thank you.

Anke said:
Anke's picture

One day, you guys make me quit my job to finally tackle my "oh my god, I have to sew this"-List, which grows each time I visit your page ;-) That bag looks great, perfectly coming along with the first sun we have over here in Hamburg today.

Just surprised to see that the snaps really seem to hold the weight of a - possibly a bit heavy bag? Great idea, really! :-D

Thanks for that awesome pattern!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Anke - so glad you enjoy it. It is a beautiful bag. Not super heavy at all.

Kris Valle said:
Kris Valle's picture

I almost passed on viewing this project because I thought it was above my skill level. But as usual your tutorials are so clear and the steps broken down so well I think I can actually tackle this project. Thanks! I was just struggling to attach a cord lock in another project last night (this was my first attempt) and having difficulty so your tutorial on the cord lock was very timely. I also liked the way the lining tucked under the top of the bag  - it looks so easy and professional, I'm going to try it on my next bag. Thanks again for a great project!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kris Valle - You CAN do it! So glad you are giving it a go. And, thanks for the kind works about our instructions. 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Thank you sooooo much!

looks an amazing pattern.

Nancy Hilderbrand gandn74@ymail.com said:
Nancy Hilderbrand   gandn74@ymail.com's picture

love the blue and white tutorial and plan to make one

lisad said:
lisad's picture

What is the twisted cord? Is it parachute cord? My JoAnn's doesn't have much cording to shop from.

Thank you!

TrinaP said:
TrinaP's picture

Can you tell me what stitch length you use for this?   Is there a default stitch length you use for most items?  Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ TrinaP - we used the default stitch settings on our machines for a standard straight stitch. Your machine should have these as well and they will be set to the best option for your particular model. In our instructions, we make a note when we have shortened or lengthened a stitch, but rarely give a specific setting because the settings vary model to model. If you don't see a mention of a need to shorten or lengthen, you can assume it is the standard settings. As with all projects, testing your stitch on scraps prior to starting is always a good idea.

Kellie said:
Kellie's picture

I was fully expecting this to be a paid for pattern! Having said that the design and finish actually looks far superior to many paid for patterns. I can't wait to make this! 

Thank you so much for this and all the hard work and thought that goes into these designs

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