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Anything Goes Fun to Sew Shoulder Bag

Mary Wilkins
Category Sewing

I saw a picture of one of these somewhere years ago. It didn't really look like something I wanted to make, but it is surprisingly easy to run up on your machine. This is my own version, much easier and much more freedom in choice of size, fabrics, and embellishment opportunities.


The beauty of this little project is the fact that you can use just about anything. I used quilting cottons, drapery fabric, and some garment fabrics as well. Velvet would be nice, so would silk. You can also make a variation of what I have done using all the same fabric, just piecing it together to match an outfit.


  • about 20 or 30 different fabrics, prints, plains, whatever you have on hand
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  • Two squares of backing fabric. I used muslin, but you could use almost anything. Try to choose something light in colour. That way you can see everything that you have in your purse at a glance. My squares were 8 1/2 inches long by 9 1/2 inches wide but you can use any size you want.
  • Two squares of quilt batting 8 inch by 9 inch or whatever you have decided upon.
  • One odd button.
  • Thread - any colour will do. In fact, now is the time to use up all those unique, too bright, once in a lifetime ugly colours you will never use anywhere else. In other words, anything goes.
  • About 2 yds. webbing for strap or perhaps grosgrain ribbon or rattail cord. I was thinking you could also take 3 strips of fabric and braid it to make a strap. Something to think about.


Cut your fabric scraps into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide and about 2 inches longer than your purse is wide. DO NOT cut them into straight strips. Put some curve into those strips, use your imagination. No drastic curves, just enough to give it a little visual interest.

This project is fun and it's because everything is off the cuff.

Ok, so you have all those crooked, slanted strips and some really loud thread. Let's have some fun.


Centre your batting on the wrong side of your backing fabric. Lay your first strip right side up on the batting in the center of the bag.


Stitch your next strip to the first one, right sides together with a narrow seam thru all layers. Be sure to try and put some curve, albeit a slight one into each strip. Continue with your strips until you have come to the end of your square. Then, turn your block around and start adding strips to the other end.

Repeat these very same steps for the other square.

Trim your edges to the size of your square.

Button Loop:

Cut a piece of ribbon or rattail long enough for a button loop plus about one inch. Baste this in place in the center of the top edge, keeping raw edges of loop even even with raw edge of square.

Lay completed front and back right sides together and stitch around sides and bottom with narrow 1/4" seam. Be sure to catch in all your ends.

Now, cut a long 1 1/2 inch wide strip and pin to sides and bottom matching edges. Stitch in place and fold this binding over the raw edges and hand sew if the bulk is too much for your machine.

Attach another strip along top edge of purse, sewing right sides together, then turning over raw edge and stitching in place along the inside of the purse. Turn ends under.


Cut your webbing or rattail, and handstitch in place on the inside of your bag. Sew your button on securely on the front about 1" down from the top.

About The Author: This free, easy project was designed and written by Mary Wilkins, mother to 3 grown children and 4 perfect grandchildren.

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August 12, 20040 found this helpful

Just to let you know my dd and I made a purse with these directions and we love it ! So easy and so cute.

My dd's is done in pinks and blues with a cute button looped to hold it shut. She had a great time sewing !!

Thanks for the easy to follow directions.

Lisa & Jena

PS My niece loves it, so we are making her a velvet one with purchased beads for trim. The choices are endless :-)

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August 12, 20040 found this helpful

This is a great pattern! A fun take on this would be to sew wrong sides together and snip raw edges every inch or so to have a raggy effect after being washed.

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