fold-over bag tutorial

Thanks againย Bloom for hosting my tutorial yesterday!ย I’ve really enjoyed so many of Bloom’s topics since I first found their blog. I especially loved the post on handmade gifts for Christmas, it really helped reign me in and made me realize what was most important – spending time with my children.

Now before I get too sappy, here it is: the fold-over bag – a casual and fun spring bag!

Materials needed:
1/2 yard material for exterior (you’ll need about 3/4 of a yard if you have a fabric with a directional print)
1/2 yard material for lining
scraps for pocket
double fold bias tape (I made my own, but it’s really easy to pick some up at the store, too!)
about a 1/2 yard of medium weight fusible interfacing
2 yards of cotton webbing (1 1/2″ wide)
(5) 3/8″ grommets
the usual sewing tools: rotary cutter/mat, thread, pins, etc.

Let’s get going!
Preparing your material:
First cut your exterior and lining fabrics to 14″ wide by 22″ tall (2 of exterior, 2 of lining). For the pocket, cut a piece of fabric 8.5″ wide by 11″ tall (iron on your fusible webbing to the wrong side of this pocket piece). You’ll need to use a piece of bias tape approximately 8 3/4″ long to use for the top of the pocket and about a 32″ piece for the top edge of the bag. In both cases my bias tape wasn’t actually bias tape (since we’re not using it around any curves it isn’t necessary) – it was cut straight across the grain.

For the inside pocket:
You can adjust this pocket size as you see fit, I wanted it to hold my two most important things – my keys and my cell phone. I also like a nice stiff pocket (that’s why I’m using the interfacing – so if you don’t care about that you can just omit it).

Fold each side in 1/2 inch and press, then fold entire piece wrong sides together in half and press again.

Attach bias tape to the top of the pocket. Tuck in each raw edge of bias tape on each end by folding it Wrong sides facing by 1/2″. Next, take one piece of your lining and fuse on a scrap piece of interfacing to the wrong side. (This will help your pocket from ripping away from the lining if you get a little crazy digging in the pocket looking for your rigging cell phone.) I place the top of my pocket about 13″ from the top of my bag opening.

Sew pocket in place along both sides and bottom (I’m showing the inside of the lining so you can see how I stitched the pocket in place). You may also choose to divide the pocket by sewing a single line of stitching down the pocket.

For the bag:

Next, take the two exterior pieces and place them right sides together. Pin. With a 1/2″ seam allowance sew both sides and bottom of bag together, leaving the top open.

To make the boxed corners place your hand inside the bag corner and press together the two seams making a triangle.

Now measure 1 1/2″ from the tip of that triangle and make a mark (I use a pin – but that’s kind of a lazy and less precise way to make the line) perpendicular to the seam. Sew along that mark.

Trim tip off leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat for other corner.
Do the same steps above for the lining of the bag.

Assembling the bag:

Place lining into exterior of bag WRONG sides facing together. Align side seams and pin in place.

Take your bias tape and pin in place, aligning raw edges to the raw edges of the top of the bag. Start sewing along the fold about a 1/2″ in, leaving a little tail unsewn (we’ll take care of this in the next step).

Sew all the way around the top of the bag.

Now, fold in that little tail, that’ll leave a nice finished edged when you flip the tape over.

Flip tape over and pin in place, sew close to edge. I had success sewing the bias tape on with the lining side up, but you may want to sew it with the exterior side up since that’s the side that you’ll be seeing most.

Fold over the top of the bag and press (you can fold it over however far looks good to you, I folded mine down about 6.5″ from the top. Looking pretty spiffy now.
Attaching the strap:
I cut my cotton webbing about 49 inches long, but you can pin your strap on the bag and adjust it to fit how you like it. I wanted a cross-body type strap.

For an added punch of color (or pattern if you wish), take a few small pieces of scrap fabric and make them into double fold bias tape. Sew onto raw edges of cotton webbing – this will cover up the raw edges. My first bag I was able to tuck the webbing underneath to hide the raw edge, but the black webbing was pretty thick – so this was a nice alternative. Pin the strap in place centered on the side seams with a tail of it hanging about 4″ down from the top of the fold. Mark where your grommets will be placed, cut the holes through all layers of the fabric, insert grommet, hammer into place (be sure to read the directions on the back of the grommet package for full directions). Place two grommets on each side of bag. {If you don’t have grommets, or don’t like the look, you can also just sew the straps in place, but it can get a little tricky}. Just be sure to make sure your straps aren’t crossed and that they are parallel to the side seam when you go to insert your grommets.

Making front tab (this is mostly decorative, but it sort of functions as a pull tab for when you want to open the bag):

Take another piece of scrap fabric 2″ wide by 6″ long. Fold in long sides 1/4″ and press. Fold tab in half with WRONG sides together and press. Tuck under the raw edge about 1/2″ at the top and pin in place on bag with this end facing the top of the bag. Sew in place by topstitching all the way around the rectangle and making a square with your stitching where it meets the bag. Attach grommet.

You’re done! This can be a really fun and functional bag. I used a home dec weight fabric from ikea for the exterior of this bag, but you could also use a regular quilting weight cotton. You might want to interface it with some medium weight interfacing if you choose to use a regular quilting cotton, unless you want a really ‘slouchy’ bag. Enjoy! Here’s an alternate version I made using slightly different bag measurements, but the same concept:


43 thoughts on “fold-over bag tutorial

  1. Karin says:

    What a great bag, thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Leslie says:

    that first bag i love…those are the school colors around here, but the bag is subtle enough that it is not screaming…Look at me i am wearing school colors!!!! Maybe what i am saying is that i need to go get some of that fabric from IKEA…and eat a few meatballs…and then think about making that bag for myself.

  3. Amy says:

    Wow v cute bag, that’s going on my to-do list ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Anna says:

    thanks so much! hope you give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Nikki says:

    Wow!! Love that!! I’ll be making that!! Thanks for the great tutorial!!

  6. Bloom says:


    We loved having you at Bloom.
    Thanks for sharing your creativity with us.
    Hope you’ll come back and play again sometime soon!

    em & anne

  7. Bego says:

    I love it! Thanks for the tutorial, I’ll give it a try soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. This will be a cute bag for my little girl. I love that it doesn’t have a zipper and I still won’t have to worry about everything falling out when she tips it over. Thank you for the great tutorial!!

  9. Deanna says:

    Very cute! Love the fabric choice!

  10. oooooooo I love this bag. So cool.

  11. Hello
    I dopped by to say is really nice you’ve made a tutorial. I cannot wait to buy a sewing machine and to try all the things I’ve seen lately. I shall try to make this bag as well!

  12. Bobbie says:

    That is super cute ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love for you to come and link up to check me out saturdays at

  13. Laura says:

    This is awesome! I just learned how to sew…I’d love to be able to make something like that. I am a new follower. Hopefully I’ll learn a few things from a sewing pro!

    Feel free to stop by my blog and enter my necklace giveaway!

  14. Heather says:

    Do you recommend a specific trick to cutting through all the fabrics to make way for the grommets?
    I always thought you needed a special grommet tool to get those things in, but now that I know all you need is a hammer that could potentially speed things up a bit! ~H

  15. Anna says:

    Hey Heather! I used my super sharp gingher scissors to cut through the layers, and just took little snips through each layer until I had enough cut away. Hope that helps (and I did notice different thicknesses with different cotton webbing – so you might think about that too).

  16. nualan says:

    great tutorial! can i share it on my blog? please visit us! tanks!

  17. Jos says:

    Thanks for sharing this!

  18. your little bags are such fun – great creativity!

  19. hannie says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, I made myself one over the weekend!
    See here:


  20. Lenka says:

    This bag is really great (and your tutorial is as well). It is I think the first thing that I have sown without anyone helping me and where I followed a pattern and I really LOVE my bag (really, I use almost daily). I think this pattern is very good for beginners and the results are really pretty!

  21. Dazzlin says:

    Almost finished sewing this bag! Its easy and lovely. As a beginner i made a mistake though :s I used a stretchy fabric which made the sewing very difficult. But i looks nice anyway and its my first “big” project!!

    Thanx for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. sisujones says:

    I love this bag! I’m making them for friends!

    A tip: When I sewed up the sides of the bags, I left spaces (small!) in the places where I’d like the strap attached. I backstitched at the stops, so the stitching wouldn’t unravel. I did this on both the lining and the outer part of the bag. It made the process of attaching the strap much easier, and I don’t think it compromised the strength of the strap.

    Thank you so much!!!

  23. kim says:

    i LOVE this bag. i tried out the tutorial this weekend and the “flap” is a little bit too short but i still love my new bag. thanks so much for this great tutorial! xo

  24. Great tutorial!! All I have left is to finish the little tab. I’m adding some stick on Velcro to keep it closed better and sewing a button onto it also. But love it!!

  25. LW says:

    Great tutorial. I made some for gifts with great response. I made the straps with sliding rings so it’s adjustable.

  26. Hi Anna,
    Thanks for taking the time to put together this tutorial.
    I really love the outcome….and you have made it look really easy.
    I have included it in a post on great tutorials for women and girls Christmas gifts.
    If you would like to see it …have a look here.

    Thanks again.
    Ally of harrysdesk

  27. Anonymous says:

    Woah! I love that inside pocket fabric! Where did you get it? That is such a cool bag!

  28. Anna says:

    inside pocket fabric is part of the Authentic collection by Sweetwater for Moda, you might be able to find some on etsy still….

  29. Thank you so much for the tutorial!! I made one:
    Very happy with my new bag! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Anonymous says:

    Nice bag, may I ask what brand the grommets are? I have a kit with some brass ones that I got from Home Depot that worked well on another project, but would love some in more of a nickel or silver color to use. Also, do you think that a strap made from a double folded over strip of fabric would hold up as the strap instead of the cotton webbing? Thanks! -Emily

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks! I think they’re Dritz (from hobby lobby or joanns, etc.) Yes, I think a fabric strap would work just as well!! have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. miss amy says:

    What is the name/brand of the outer fabric on the bag? Adorable!!

    1. Anna says:

      Hi Miss Amy! It’s from Ikea a couple years ago. They might not have the same print, but there’s always fun fabrics to find there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Anonymous says:

    I have never commented on ANYTHING on the internet. I just have to say that I just found your site and can’t wait to get going. This is the bag I have been looking for to make for my grandaughter. Thank you so much for such a GREAT SITE!

    1. Anna says:

      thanks so much, what an awesome comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Sam says:

    I made this bag for niece…thanks for the instructions its a great bag for her to carry her flute and things in when she goes to orchestra!

  34. Amanda ร…kerberg says:

    Beautiful bag, I’m going to get the materials and make one for myself. Question: how big is the finished bag? What are the measurements? Thanks for a great tutorial!

  35. Amanda says:

    Wait a minute. I’m just about to start sewing but it doesn’t say where and when to do the interfacing? Can you please explain?

    1. Anna Graham says:

      Hey Amanda, sorry that part is missing. You’ll want to fuse interfacing to the exterior main bag pieces and pocket piece (and any other pieces you’d like to interface) before sewing.

      1. Amanda says:

        Oh good! Because that’s what I did xD one more question though: it says I should fuse some interfacing on the lining for the pocket. Is this one the actual lining or is it a seperat piece? As I understand it, you fuse it on the lining behind the pocket to protect it, is that correct?

        1. Anna Graham says:

          Yep! That’s correct. I fuse it on the wrong side of the lining behind where the pocket will be sewn, for extra reinforcement. ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Amanda says:

            Great ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  36. Amanda says:

    Alright, I finished my bag and it’s really awesome, I’m super happy with it! I didn’t use grommets for the strap, I just sewed them to the back of the bag which worked perfectly, very easy. Thanks so much for this tutorial, not only was I able to make a beautiful bag but also learn a few new techniques and materials to develop my bag making skills. Thanks again!

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