Sew sweet….

I recently found an image of these super cute little tote bags at Flutterby Patch ….


3bags_1       back of bags

Unfortunately there was no tutorial that you could follow – but I thought that these would make lovely presents for a couple of little girls in the family. So I decided to try and make my own version. I knew that I wanted to modify the bags slightly by having the house extend to the back of the tote and boxing off the bottom corners. But where to start?

Inspiration struck after a visit to Gail’s the bakery – their bags were almost the right size, especially if I folded over the top – so here is my design pattern (all in old money I am afraid as the only ruler I had to hand was in inches!).


I used the following supplies for the basic background of the house – both front and back:

  • Gingham check for roof – 2 x (11inches X 4.5 inches)
  • Linen for centre of the house – 2 x (11 inches X 5’5 inches)
  • Green material for bottom edge – 2 X (11 inches X 2.5 inches)
  • Fabric for handles – 2 X (16inches X 5 inches)
  • Lining material – 2 X (11 inches X 11 inches)
  • double sided interfacing
  • thicker interfacing for bag front and back – 2 x (11 inches X 11 inches)
  • A selection of scrap materials, ribbons and trims for appliqued items
  • A small bell
  • button


First I put double sided interfacing on the door (scrap of about 2.5in X 5in), turned under the edges and attached the bell.  These were sewn straight onto the linen. Then I joined the bottom fabric to the linen and pressed.

The window was next – for this I took a scrap of white linen, approximately 3.25 inches X 4.5 inches, and turned under all the edges. I then covered either end of the linen with scraps to form curtains. The little appliqued girl was the trickiest for me as I have never tried free motion applique (so lots of googling ensued!). After finding, or drawing an image, you trace round each individual element and cut those pieces out of the scraps that you have chosen.


These are then reassembled onto double sided fusible interfacing and ironed in place.


I then placed the image onto the window and free machine stitched around it several times. Her eyes and mouth were sewn afterwards by hand.


The window was then positioned onto the linen and sewn in place. Ricrac was then added along the top and bottom edges of the window.


The next step is to sew on the roof and the roof trim. I placed the pompom trim on the right side of the fabric square above. Then I lined up the roof with right sides together and stitched in place. The two pieces were then opened up and pressed. I added ricrac across the roof at this point – but forgot to take a photo!


I then repeated the whole process for the back of the bag – although by this stage I had run out of ricrac and pompoms – so the back of the bag is far simpler.


I decided on just the one window and put a little appliqued cat on the window sill and a scattering of flowers around the window.

The handles were made by folding each strip of material in half, then folding each side into the middle to make a sandwich – these were then sewn down along each edge. A heavy duty interfacing was then ironed onto both the front and back of the bag.


I marked the centre of each panel (about 5.5 inches in) and then placed the handles about half an inch either side of this.


The lining material was then placed over this, right side up and stitched in place. Then pressed open.


The process was repeated with the other half of the bag.


Once opened up and pressed you should have two pieces that look like this…


Place both pieces right sides together and pin or clip in place.


At each corner I cut away a 1 inch square of the fabric. I then sewed around the edges  – leaving the cut outs open and a gap at the lining end to turn the bag in the right way.

The corners were boxed off. I then topstitched around the top edge. And handstitched the hole in the lining together.


And here is the completed bag…

I just hope the girls like them. I was pleased – but for the second bag I think I will extend the ricrac and pompoms to the back of the bag and I will also make it an inch or so wider.

Sorry for the long ramble, Happy stitching everyone!


About wybrow1966

My name is Deborah, and my earliest recollection of being creative is learning how to smock at primary school. We had a wonderful, white-haired lady who came in once a week to teach the 'girls' how to sew. I am not sure what the boys got up to during this time - but I never once felt as though I was missing out on anything. Now, as a primary teacher, I often give up evenings to teach enthusiastic children how to embroider. I am now just about to embarked into the world of blogging. Who knows if anyone will be interested, or if I can even keep it up. But here goes....
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17 Responses to Sew sweet….

  1. Lucie says:

    Hi Deborah, your wee bags are soooo cute. You did a brilliant job. I’m sure the recipients will treasure them x

  2. Catherine says:

    What a sweet bag! I’m sure the girls will love them. Very clever of you to work it all out and thank you for the tutorial!

  3. What fun! And it has turned out charmingly.

  4. Oh this is so cute, and I love the little girl in the window with the detail in her hair. Thank you for the tutorial 😊

  5. These are adorable. I always sew in inches. I think it’s from following so many US tutorials when I started out

  6. claire93 says:

    oh how cute! I love all the attention to detail, like the little bell on the front door!

  7. Dima says:

    These are adorable!

  8. Kim says:

    So sweet. What little (or indeed not so little) girl wouldn’t love one of those!

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