Calming, cozy neutrals are the most accepted palette for winter. But when everything around you begins to feel like its blending into beige, a blast of rich color can be just what the doctor ordered. We turned to the bold prints of Waverly fabrics for this very stylish satchel. The fabric is called Ute Mountain, and the colorway is Cove. The fabric's design is an homage to the Ute Indians of the Rocky Mountain area of Colorado and Utah. The deep navy of the fabric is highlighted with avocado, turquoise, and amber. With its stair-stepping diamonds and two different medallions, this design begged for a project that would bring these motifs to the forefront. Our five-star satchel has the features to do just that: precise fussy cutting and pattern matching, a unique inset zipper, bias cut handles plus a detachable strap, and many more professional details.
The Ute people are the oldest residents of Colorado, inhabiting the mountains and vast areas of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Eastern Nevada, Northern New Mexico, and Arizona. The designs incorporated into the Ute Mountain fabric collection by Waverly are reminiscent of traditional Ute design, especially the patterns seen in their master basket weaving.
We consider this an advanced tutorial, but have still included Sew4Home's signature step-by-step instructions with over 70 helpful photos to guide you through each phase of the construction. Read through the project several times before beginning, which is what we like to call, "building it in your head." As with all challenging elements of a pattern, slow and steady wins the race. Think it through, then sew it out.
We added a faux suede for the handles along with a layered polyester webbing for the adjustable strap. It's always nice to have a bag you can either carry in your hands or sling over your shoulder. The stray is attached with swivel clips so it can also be removed entirely.
Our satchel is a traditional design for this bag type: wider than it is tall. The top of the bag is meant to have some "crushability" so that the top has a slight slope over the sides. It finishes at approximately 19" wide x 11" high x 5" deep with standard handle loops and a fully adjustable, removable shoulder strap.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful for precise topstitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 3 yards of medium to heavy-weight 54"+ home decor fabric; we used 54" 100% cotton Ute Mountain in Cove by Waverly Fabrics
NOTE: The yardage above allows extra to carefully fussy cut all the pieces. Because our motif was very large and directional (but... cool, so worth it!), we needed a full extra yard to make sure we could correctly match all the pieces. If your motif is smaller and/or non-directional, you could get by with 2 yards of 54"+ wide fabric. Extra will be required for any fabric you wish to pattern match.
- 1 yard of 44"+ quilting cotton for the lining; we originally used Trellis in Lime from the Dots and More collection by Textile Creations, which is no longer readily available, as an alternative, we recommend: Kaufman Paintbox Rhoda Ruth Gears Breakers which nicely echos the geometric pattern of the Ute Mountain we chose for the exterior.
- ½ yard of 45"+ lightweight faux suede or similar for the handles; we used Nu-Suede in Black from Robert Kaufman
NOTE: The handle fabric is cut on the bias to create the smooth curve, which is why we recommend a full half yard cut.
- 1⅛ yards of 1" wide, soft polyester webbing for the handle construction; we used 1" black polyester webbing
- 2⅛ yards of 1½" wide, soft polyester webbing for the strap construction; we used 1½" black polyester webbing
- 1¼ yards of 20"+ wide fusible fleece; we used Thermolam Plus by Pellon
- 2 yards of 20"+ wide medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used Décor Bond by Pellon
- 1 yard of 20"+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing, we used ShirTailor by Pellon
- ONE sheet of plastic canvas or similar for the bag base; your cut will be 18" x 4½"
- ONE 22" double slider zipper; we used a Coats Purse Zipper in black
- ¾ yard of ⅜" cotton piping cord for the handles
- TWO 1½" D-rings; we used antique gold
- FOUR 1" D-rings; we used antique gold
- TWO 1½" swivel hooks; we used antique gold
- ONE 1½" slider; we used a black plastic slider
NOTE: The link for the plastic slider is for a bag of 10"; this smaller hardware is often only available in multi-packs online, but you can often find single sliders at your local sewing or craft store.
- Pattern or graph paper; optional, but we found it helpful to cut paper patterns for all our pieces to facilitate the exact motif matching
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Using the dimensions given below, we cut paper pattern pieces for the exterior pockets, front and back panels, side panels, and base panel. This step is optional, but makes fussy cutting and pattern matching easier and more accurate.
- From the exterior fabric (Waverly Ute Mountain in Cove in our sample), carefully fussy cut the following (remember to keep track of the direction of the motif). Below, we show examples of how we cut our panels to center and match our fabric's medallions to beautiful effect.
TWO 20" wide x 12" high rectangles for the front and back panels
TWO 6" wide x 12" high rectangles for the bag side panels
TWO 20" wide x 6" high rectangles for the bag base panel
TWO 10" wide x 8" high rectangles for the front and back pockets
TWO 6" wide x 8" high rectangles for the side pockets
ONE 54" wide x 2" high strip for the strap accent
TWO 25" wide x 1½" high strips for the zipper facings
TWO 25" wide x 3" high strips for the zipper panels
- From the lining fabric (Lime Trellis in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 25" wide x 14½" high rectangles for the front and back panels
ONE 13" wide x 11" high rectangle for the lining pocket
TWO 10" wide x 8" high rectangles for the lining of the front exterior pockets
TWO 6" wide x 8" high rectangles for the lining of the side exterior pockets
- From the fabric for the handles (faux suede in our sample), cut TWO 16" x 3" strips on the bias.
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
TWO 20" x 12" rectangles for the exterior front and back panels
TWO 6" x 12" rectangles for the exterior side panels
ONE 20" x 6" rectangle for the exterior base
- From the medium-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 10" x 8" rectangles for the front and back exterior pockets
TWO 6" x 8" rectangles for the side exterior pockets
TWO 25" x 14½" rectangles for the front and back lining panels
- From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 25" x 1½" strips for the zipper facings
TWO 25" x 3" strips for the zipper panels
TWO 16" x 3" strips for the handles
ONE 13" x 11" rectangle for the interior pocket
- From the piping cord, but TWO 12" lengths.
- From the plastic canvas, cut ONE 18" x 4½" rectangle
- From the 1½" webbing, cut the following:
ONE 54" length for the strap
TWO 10" lengths for the strap tabs
- From the 1" webbing, cut FOUR 10" lengths for the handle tabs.
Fussy cutting and pattern matching notes
- To cut the front and back panels, we used a paper pattern. First, fold up the pattern piece ½" along one long edge. This will be the "bottom" edge of the pattern. Then, fold the pattern piece in half widthwise to create a vertical crease line.
- Place this center fold with the horizontal center of a medallion. We wanted our medallion to sit at the bottom of the bag and so slid the bottom of folded pattern towards the bottom third of the medallion. Pin the paper in place at this center point.
- Unfold the paper pattern. Measure to insure the bottom folded edge of the pattern piece is parallel, then pin in place at each edge.
- Finally, open up that bottom folded edge of the pattern piece so the pattern is fully flat against the fabric. Pin all around and cut out the panel. We used our clear ruler and rotary cutter for the cleanest cut.
- Repeat to create a matching back panel
- The side panels are created in the same manner, but you fold in both long sides of the pattern ½" to create the final width in which the medallion should be centered. We were also very careful to make sure our medallions were horizontally in line from front to side to back to side... in other words, all around the bag.
- When matching the pocket panels to the main front/back/side panels, remember that the matching point for the finished bottom of each pocket should be 1" up from the bottom raw edge of each cut panel. So, fold up the bottom edge of the pocket pattern piece ½" and set this on the cut front/back/side panel medallion at 1" up from the panel's bottom raw edge to determine exactly where on the motif the pocket will fall. Then, find this same point on your un-cut fabric panel and position the pocket pattern piece.
NOTE: If you are new to this type of precise cutting and pattern matching, we have a good general tutorial on How To Fussy Cut as well as a specific tutorial on pattern matching a pocket to a panel.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Match up each fusible fleece and interfacing piece with its appropriate fabric panel. The fleece is for the exterior pieces (only one of the two base panels is fused with fleece), the medium-weight interfacing is for the exterior pockets and the main lining panels, and the lightweight interfacing is for the zipper elements, the lining pocket, and the handles.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse interfacing to the wrong side of each of the appropriate fabric pieces.
Add the webbing strap tabs to the side panels
- Find the exterior side panels (with fleece fused in place) and the two 10" lengths of 1½" webbing.
- Center one length of webbing on one side panel. It should sit 2¼" from each raw side edge of the fabric panel.
- The bottom end of the webbing should sit 7" down from the top raw edge of the fabric panel. Pin in place. Then, measure 2½" down from the top raw edge and place a marking pin(s).
- Find one of the 1½" D-rings. Slip it onto the free end of the webbing. The D-ring should sit right against the top raw edge of the fabric.
- Fold the webbing back on itself, so the top raw end is hidden behind the front of the strap. This raw end should sit just below the 2½" pin marks. Re-pin in place through all the layers.
- Thread the machine with thread to match the webbing in the top and bobbin. Stitch the webbing in place along both sides from the bottom up to the 2½" mark, pivoting to stitch a short horizontal seam across at the 2½" mark through all the layers to secure the tab loop. As shown in the beauty images above, this produces a loop that hangs free at the top of each side panel.
- Repeat to attach the remaining 10" 1½" webbing length to the opposite side panel.
Add the webbing strap tabs to the front and back panels and create the exterior loop
- Find the exterior front and back panels (with fleece fused in place), the four 10" lengths of 1" webbing, and the four 1" D-rings.
- The vertical positioning along the webbing and the looping through of the 1" D-rings are done in the exact same manner as above for the side panels. As with the side panels, the D-rings should rest right against the top raw edge of the fabric panels.
- Set each tab in position – two on the front panel and two on the back panel. The outer edge of each tab should sit 5½" in from each raw side edge of the panels.
- This positioning will place the tabs just inside the front and back exterior pockets.
NOTE: The photo shows our pocket in loosely pinned in place. We made our pockets first so we could double-check their width for our position. Since we already did that, you can simply do all the tabs first, then move on to all the pockets. Wasn't that nice of us?
- Stitch the webbing in place along both sides from the bottom up to the 2½" mark, pivoting to stitch a short horizontal seam across at the 2½" mark through all the layers to secure the tab loop.
Create the exterior pockets
- The side pockets and the front/back pockets are made in a similar manner.
- Each exterior pocket piece should already have its interfacing fused in place.
- Find the corresponding lining piece for each exterior piece.
- Place the two layers right sides together.
- For the side panels, pin along the top and bottom only, leaving the sides open.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin (we used black thread throughout and so did not re-thread).
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the top and bottom.
- Press open the seam allowances. Turn right side out through the open sides. Press flat
- Along the top of both pockets, topstitch across, ¾" down from the finished edge. This creates a faux hemline.
- Create the front and back pockets in the same manner, but stitch around all four sides, pivoting at the corners and leaving a 3" opening along the bottom edge to turn the pockets right side out. These pockets also get a ¾" faux hem along the top.
- Pin the side pockets in place. The raw edges of each pocket should be flush with the raw side edges of the side panel and the bottom edge of the pocket should be 1" up from the bottom raw edge of the side panel. Because you did such an awesome job with your fussy cutting and pattern matching, the bottom edge of the pocket will be a perfect match against the side panel.
- Pin the bottom edge of each side pocket in place and edgestitch across the bottom only to secure.
- Pin the front and back pockets in place in the same manner. Each should sit 1" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric panel, perfectly matched motif-to-motif. The side edges of the pockets should just cover the stitched-in-place handle tabs.
- Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom, then edgestitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. This edgestitching will close the openings used for turning.
- With all the pockets and strap tabs in place, you can stitch the sides to the front and back.
- Place a side panel right sides together with a main panel. Pin together. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch in place.
- Repeat to create a full loop with both sides plus the front and back. Set this main exterior loop aside.
Create the bag base and set in place
- Find the two bottom panels in the exterior fabric. One should be fused with the fleece and one should be plain.
- Place the bottom panel with the fusible fleece wrong side up on your work surface.
- Fold back one short end of the plain bottom panel ½" and press.
- Place the plain fabric panel, right side up, on top of the fleece panel. Align the raw edges of both pieces. This means the fabric panels are wrong sides together with the fleece between the layers.
- Baste the two pieces together along the three raw edges. The short side with the folded edge should not be basted.
NOTE: Both sides of this panel have the fabric right side out, but the side with the folded edge (which forms a little pocket) is considered the "wrong side" as we move through these next few steps.
- Find the main exterior loop. Turn it wrong side out.
- Insert the bottom panel into the loop, aligning the right sides of the bottom of the bag with the right sides of the bottom panel. It's like setting a lid upside down into a box.
- Match the corners of the bottom panel to the seams of the loop. Pin in place all around, adjusting as necessary and using plenty of pins to insure the panel sits in the bag evenly and square.
- Clip the bag at the corners. You are clipping into the corner at a diagonal at a depth of about ⅜". This frees up the seam allowance so you can stitch each side of the bag independently.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the bottom panel to the body of the bag.
- Start and stop at each corner. Yes, we mean remove the bag and re-set for each side. Rather than simply pivoting, this allows you more control to insure the each side is flat and the layers have not shifted. We used our basting line as an additional stitching guide.
NOTE: When you get to the side with the folded edge, take care to not catch this edge in the stitching. You need the 'pocket' to be open to allow you to insert the stiffener that will create the solid bottom of the bag.
- Insert the plastic needlepoint canvas into the bottom panel pocket.
- Hand stitch the pocket opening closed.
- Turn the bag right side out.
NOTE: If you are brand new to this technique, take a look at our full step by step tutorial: How to Insert a Rectangular Base into a Tube.
- Find the 13" x 11" pocket, which should be fused with the lightweight interfacing.
NOTE: We fused the entire panel prior to folding for double the stability.
- Fold the pocket in half, right sides together, so it is now 6½" x 11". Pin along all three sides, leaving an approximate 3" opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all sides, pivoting at the corners. Lock your seam on either side of the 3" opening. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the bottom opening. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick or long knitting needle works well for this.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Press well.
- Find one of the two main lining panels. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Fold in half or measure to find the exact center of the panel.
- Pin the pocket in place on the right side of the lining panel. The pocket should be centered side to side and the top edge of the pocket should sit 3" below the top raw edge of the lining panel. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Measure 4½" in from the left edge of the pocket and mark a stitching line to divide the pocket. You can draw a vertical line with a fabric pen or pencil or run a line of pins to follow.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and with a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it's smart to secure the seam well. The edgestitching closes the opening used for turning.
- Stitch along the marked vertical line to create the pocket division. If possible, use a lock stitch to start and end your seam or leave your thread tails long and knot at the back to secure. This will look tidier than backstitching.
Create the zipper unit
- Find the two 25" x 3" zipper panel strips.
- With your clear ruler, draw a line down the center of each zipper panel, starting and stopping 1½" from each end. Make a ½" long intersecting vertical mark at each end point.
- From each end point, measure back ½" and make another intersecting vertical mark.
- Cut along the drawn line, stopping at the first vertical intersecting mark.
- From the first mark, snip up at a slight diagonal to each end of the second intersecting vertical line, creating a little point. Repeat at the opposite end.
- Press back the raw edge of the opening ¼" all around, creating a long, narrow window into which the zipper will be placed.
- Repeat to create a matching window on the remaining zipper panel.
- Find the zipper. It should be closed with the double pulls meeting in the center. Place it wrong side up on your work surface.
- Lay one of the zipper panels right side up over the zipper so the zipper teeth are centered in the window. Pin in place.
- Flip the zipper/panel to the right side and lay down the remaining panel right side up so the zipper teeth are centered in the window. Re-pin in place through all the layers.
NOTE: If you are worried about your layers shifting, you could also hand baste along the edges of the zipper panels.
- Using a Zipper foot to get in as close as possible to the zipper teeth, edgestitch around the entire window through all the layers, pivoting at the corners to stitch across the ends.
NOTE: As with most zipper insertions we do here at S4H, when you're approaching the zipper pull (the two pulls in this instance), stop with your needle in the down position. Lift up your presser foot. Twist your fabric around slightly in order to be able to move the pulls out of the way. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end.
- On both ends, press under the raw edges ½” and pin together so the folded edges are flush.
- Edgestitch together so you have a nice finish across both ends.
NOTE: If you are new to this type of zipper, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial on How to Create an Inset Zipper. This project's zipper is a bit different though with its window opening for the double pulls and the elimination of the end tabs found on a standard inset zipper.
Attach the zipper unit to the lining and facing
- Place the finished zipper unit right side up on the right side of the lining/pocket panel. The zipper unit should be centered side-to-side on the lining panel with ½" of fabric extending beyond the zipper unit on each side. One side of the zipper unit should be flush with the top raw edge of the panel. Pin in place.
- Find one of the two 25" x 1½” facing strips. Place it right side down over the zipper unit. The top raw edges of the lining, facing and zipper unit should be flush. Re-pin in place through all the layers.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across through all the layers.
- Repeat to attach the remaining raw edge of the zipper unit to the remaining lining panel.
- Sandwich the zipper unit as above with the remaining facing strip.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across through all the layers.
- Press the facings up and away from the zipper unit.
- Fold the two lining pieces right sides together, sandwiching the pocket and zipper unit between the layers. The zipper teeth now run along the very top. Match the sides all the way to the top.
- Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom, leaving 8-10” open along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and locking the seam at either side of the 8-10” opening.
- We switched back to our Zipper foot and moved the needle position to allow us to more easily stitch all the way to top of each side, getting as close to the finished end of the zipper unit as possible.
- Our bag is designed to have 5" sides and base. To create this width, we figured our corners at 2½".
- Measure and mark one corner. Stitch along the drawn line and trim away the excess. We recommend a double line of stitching.
- Repeat to create the opposite corner.
NOTE: If you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
Attach the lining to the exterior
- Find the lining. It should be wrong side out and unzipped. Remember, the lining has an opening along the center of the bottom seam.
- Find the exterior bag. It should be right side out.
- Slip the exterior bag inside the lining so the two bags are now right sides together. Push the exterior bag down so the base sits flat against the boxed bottom of the lining and the sides are aligned.
- Pin all around the top. You are pining the raw edge of the facing, which is at the top of the lining, to the top raw edge of the exterior.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, slowly and carefully stitch all around the top. Going around the sides is tricky because you are catching the finished ends of the zipper unit. We continued to use our Zipper foot, and we held the zipper unit seam allowance out of the way to left as we stitched.
- Clip and grade the seam allowance back to ¼" inch to reduce the bulk from the fusible fleece and all the layers.
- Pull the exterior bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
- Push the lining down into place so the bottom layers of the lining and the exterior are flat against one another and the bottom corners are aligned.
- Fold the zipper down against the lining and topstitch around the entire top opening of the bag.
- Again, going around the corners is going to be tricky. We recommend sticking with a Zipper foot and stitching nice and slow. It may help you to sew with the zipper partially closed and to flatten the "free peak" of the zipper ends out of the way.
- Once sewn, here is the end of the zipper unit from the top (left photo) and the bottom (middle photo). Then we pushed down our little peak to the inside so our completed inset zipper unit had a nice straight edge (right photo)
- Hand or machine stitch the opening in the bottom of the lining closed. We hand stitched.
Create the strap
- Find the 54" length of webbing and the 54" strip of accent fabric.
- Fold in each long side of the accent fabric strip ½". The finished width of the strip should now be 1".
- Place the webbing flat on your work surface. Place the accent strip right side up on top of the webbing, centering it side to side so there is ¼" of webbing showing to either side of the accent fabric. Pin in place the length of each strap.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the webbing in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch the accent fabric in place along both long sides. It's not necessary to stitch across the ends. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to maintain our super straight stitching.
- Find the 1½" slider and the two 1½" swivel clips.
- Loop one end through the slider as shown below. Turn under that end ½”.
- Edgestitch the folded end to secure the slider in place.
- With the strap laying back side up (black side up in our sample), find the opposite raw end of the strap. Thread this end, bottom up, through one of the swivel clips.
- Continue to thread this same raw end back through the slider, right side facing up, going up and over the folded end. This creates your adjusting loop.
- Finally, slip the end through the remaining swivel clip and turn under the raw end ½", pulling the end through about 1". Edgestitch in place, just as you did to secure the first swivel clip. Before stitching, do a quick check to make sure there are no twists in your strap.
- Clip the strap to the side panel D-rings.
NOTE: If you are new to this type of strap, we've done similar ones in previous projects, which feature additional in-step photos. Take a look at our Messenger Style Brief and our Urban Shoulder Bag.
Create the handles
- Find the two bias cut handle strips, which should have interfacing fused in place, and the two lengths of piping cord.
- Fold one strip right sides together. Measure 3" in from each end and pin together just the ends.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the two 3" seams. Trim back the seam allowance to ¼".
- Turn right side out through the open center. Slip a length of piping cord into the sleeve. The ends of the piping cord should disappear into the sewn ends of the sleeve.
- Fold in the raw center edges of the sleeve ½".
- Fold the entire sleeve in half so the folded edges meet. The cording will slide to one side, allowing you to pin the edges together. Re-pin through all the layers.
- Edgestitch the along the length of the sleeve.
- Thread the one raw end through one D-ring, from front to back, on the bag's front panel.
- Turn under the raw end ¼". Pull through approximately 1" and pin against the back of the handle.
- Edgestitch the folded end in place. You are working below the piping cord so this seam should run across smoothly.
- Repeat to loop and finish the opposite raw end of the handle through the remaining front D-ring.
- Then, repeat to create and attach the second handle to the bag's back panel.
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild