Charm Square Bag Tutorial

I am ridiculously pleased with myself because a) I made and designed this bag totally by myself, as simple as it is, and b) I actually remembered to take pictures of it as I did so! As I said, this is my first time trying to do a tutorial, so if there are any mistakes, or if I missed a step and it isn’t very clear on what to do, please let me know.

Supplies:

Charm pack (or 32  5 inch squares if you are using other fabric)

2.5 inch strips – 1 for binding, 2 for each strap. I only did one strap because I could only find enough strips to match for one.

Interfacing (or stiffer fabric for lining)

 

This bag is made using a charm pack that I got from Maxine’s Shed. There was a huge range of colours in the one pack, so I decided to make a reversible bag to so I could have fun while it still being something that normal people could look at without cringing. (My sister has an eyebrow. If she raises that eyebrow, I know just to scurry away and try again. There is no arguing with the eyebrow.)

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Lay the squares out to look like so. One side had rows of 3 and the other has only 2 because they will be folded around and sewn to the other side. Okay, that sounds complicated. Rest assured, it really isn’t and I’ll show you a bit later on.

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The next step is the pocket. If you don’t want a pocket no harm done, but I find that I often want one on the inside of the bag to put lipstick or little things in that I don’t want to have to dig around in the bottom of the bag to find. No matter how small the bag is, a black hole seems to open up inside it right when you’re searching for something. So for me, a pocket.

Fetch a square and fold over one edge twice. This will be the top of the pocket so make sure to press it and sew as straight as possible.

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Next fold over the bottom corners and press. This makes it easier to have a neat finish with your corners when you sew the sides.

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Turn the sides and bottom over once and press. Make sure the corners look nice and square.

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Pin to the square below the middle triangle. Try to sew close to the edge and as neat as you can. Everyone will see this seam and silent judgement will commence if it isn’t straight or if your pocket has gapes.

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Now the tricky bit. I’m not sure if these photos show it clearly, but you take the green triangle on the small end and, right sides together, place it on top of the of green triangle on the big end. The sewing gets a bit tricky here. Fold the sticky out-y bits to match the in-y bits…

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Sew one side at each time, making sure to end off properly. If you try to turn the corner while sewing, if gets messy. And yes, I found that out from experience.

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Bag 1 done! Now do it all over again for bag 2.

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After you have the two bags lay them together on the interfacing and cut around them, leaving a 15mm edge around. Sew the interfacing together and trim the seams. I trimmed mine down to 5mm.

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Put all the layers together, with the interfacing in the middle. So, bag 2 on the inside, right sides together, interfacing, bag 1 on the outside, wrong side touching the interfacing.

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Lay the strap strips on the interfacing and cut one layer for each strap out. Sew the straps right sides together with the interfacing on the back of one side.

Turn the strap out the right way. It will probably take a few minutes… some time fighting it, some time trying to figure out a way to have a bag without straps, then some more time fighting until finally, it will start to cooperate and you will have a strap!

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After ironing it flat, I top sewed my strap with three rows. I just thought it looked nice and made the strap firmer. Because I had two different colours in the strap I used yellow thread on the top and blue thread on the bobbin. In a moment of laziness I didn’t set the machine up to put the thread on the bobbin, I did it by hand. Because that is always going to be quicker.

Yeah.

Not so.

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Now get the last strip of fabric. This will be the binding to hold all the layers of the bag together. Press it in half long ways.

Pin the binding around the top of the bag, through all the layers. Place the straps where you would like them and pin. Once you have pinned all the way around and are back to where you started, fold both ends of binding back on themselves, making sure the ends touch. Finger press to mark the seam, then open and sew along the mark. It will be fairly faint, so be careful. Oh! And make sure that you open it back out and check that it fits snugly against bag before you trim the seam. Again, experience speaking.

I forgot to take a photo of the binding, so if you’re having trouble with my not-so-good explanation, go over to Diary of a Quilter where she goes through it quite clearly!

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Sew it all together and just one more step…

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Slip stitch the binding down. Take a needle and thread and knot it. Making sure the knot is hidden from sight, slip the needle through a bit of the binding and then right along the seam line visible on the inside bag. When you finish the stitching, again make sure that the knot on the end is hidden under the binding.

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You’re done! A charm square reversible bag of your very own to have and to hold forever and forever… or to give away. And please, if you notice any mistakes please let me know.

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3 thoughts on “Charm Square Bag Tutorial

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