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Gypsy Romance Soft Shoulder Bag

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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 five different fabric designs from within one collection plus one accent solid into the ultimate dramatic statement. Color, pattern and texture combine from all sides. Lightweight batting between the layers helps keep 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.

We originally used fabric from the Gypsy Bandana collection by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics, an older collection that is no longer readily available. We went browsing for an alternative at Fat Quarter Shop and found Ansonia by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit Fabrics. We would replace the green side with Mushroom Floral Paisley as the focal print and Mushroom Stitch as the smaller print, with Mushroom Kentucky Stripe for the pocket. To replace the blue side we suggest Mushroom Medallion as the focal print and Mushroom Honeycomb Lace as the smaller print. Rather than velveteen, use Mushroom Stitch on the strap outside and Mushroom Kentucky Stripe on the underside. Any coordinating pom fringe in pinks or browns or a mix would be pretty, such as the one we found at Trims By Design

If you are new to sewing, this bag is definitely easy enough for beginners. Plus, it features two techniques for which we not only have photos and steps below, but also two full tutorials: How to Make Boxed Corners and How to Insert Magnetic Snaps

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • ¼ yard EACH of 44-45" wide quilting weight fabric in FOUR coordinating designs for the bag exterior
  • ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide quilting weight fabric in a fifth coordinating design for the back of the strap and the pocket front
  • ¾ yard of 44-45" wide quilting weight fabric in a sixth coordinating design for the bag and pocket linings
    NOTE: We repeated a fabric used on the exterior for our lining; you could also use an entirely different fabric.
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide heavier weight faccent abric in a coordinating SOLID color; we used green velvet
    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.
  • ¾ yard of lightweight batting for the bag and pocket: we used Kyoto Bamboo Batting from Fabric.com
  • ¾ yard of ½" poms; we used orange
  • 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
  • Seam ripper
  • 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)], fussy 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), fussy 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 - as mentioned above, we repeated a fabric used on the exterior; you could also use an entirely different fabric), 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  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.
    Click to Enlarge
  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 press well, pressing the seam allowance open.
    Click to Enlarge

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 press well, pressing the seam allowance open.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Place the finished front and finished back right sides together, being careful to line up the vertical panel seams.
  6. Pin together along the bottom edge only.
  7. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
  8. Open the finished bag exterior and press well, pressing the seam allowance open. Set aside.
    Click to Enlarge

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.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Place the layered front and back lining pieces right sides together and pin together along the bottom edge only.
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
  6. Open the finished bag lining and press well, pressing the seam allowance open. Set aside.
    Click to Enlarge

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.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. To create our finished 3" corners, 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. 
    NOTE: These steps are quite detailed, but if you are brand new to boxed corner, we have a full tutorial here

Top pom pom accents

  1. Turn under the top raw edge of the exterior bag and the lining ½" and press in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  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. 
    Click to Enlarge
  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. We have a full tutorial on how to insert a magnetic clasp, but below 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. The clasp has sharp prongs designed to poke through the fabric. We 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  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 snap pieces are off-set.
  6. Once you are sure of the snaps' positions, slide on the back locking piece and gently push or hammer down one prong and then the other.
    Click to Enlarge

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 now wrong sides together.
  2. Align the side seams of the lining and the bag and the top folded edges. If the top folded edges are not exactly flush, re-fold the top of the exterior bag as needed to create perfect alignment. 
  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.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Stitch all around the top opening of the bag ¼" from the folded edges, attaching the lining to the bag.
    Click to Enlarge
  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.
    Click to Enlarge
  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.
    Click to Enlarge
    NOTE: Because velvet can be a little shifty, especially when layered with cotton, we used a Walking foot to keep my layers flat. It was also crucial the long and narrow design motif on the cotton stayed 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.
    Click to Enlarge

Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson

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Comments (4)

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Is there a printable version of this pattern. I dont have a computer in my sewing area & I find I have to keep referring back & forth with my projects.Thanks

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

All our articles have print, pdf and email options. Look at the top right of the article directly across from the posting date and you'll see the icons. 

Jsandas1 said:
Jsandas1's picture

Hello, what are the finished dimensions of this bag?  I would like to make an across the body bag with adjustable strap about this size using just one fabric. Thank you, Julia 

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

@ Jsandas1 - the bag finishes at approximately 13" wide x 14" tall. The strap finishes at 36". 

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