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Jumbo Bag Tutorial

Jumbo Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Hey there! I’m Natalie, from The Creative Mom.com. I am so excited to be here, at the Ribbon Retreat. I am thrilled to be able to show you a sewing tutorial I did with some of the beautiful fabric from the Ribbon Retreat. I love all the designer fabric they carry, and seriously spent two hours trying to choose which fabric I wanted to make my bag out of. It is all so cute!

I love a good bag. And I have a ton of them. Just ask my husband.

But, good bags are hard to find. And they are expensive. And if you do find a good, reasonably priced bag, chances are it’s got Hello Kitty or something hideous on it…

So when I needed a new bag for church, I decided to make my own. One that would be sturdy enough to hold books and binders, and 25 pounds of fruit snacks. Oh, and be cute… cute is a plus.

And I think this one will do the job.

 This bag is big, really big. Jumbo, even. It’s sturdy and it’s cute! 

The fusible fleece helps it so it’s not too floppy and flimsy. So, although it’s soft, It still holds its shape.

Jumbo Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

And the lining really finishes the whole bag. I love a lined bag. I love that every once in a while, you get a peek-a-boo of the inside fabric, and it’s just like an extra surprise that you weren’t expecting!

I also added a little magnetic clasp to keep it closed up nicely. It’s those finishing touches, like lining and adding bag hardware that really makes it seem like a professional made bag, even though it was actually made by little old me. And trust me, I’m no professional.

Jumbo Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

 You don’t need to be a master seamstress to sew this bag (in fact, if you are a master seamstress, please stop reading because I just made this pattern up and I’m no expert). All together, it took about 2-3 hours to sew.

My finished bag is about 15″ tall by 21″ wide with a 4″ deep base.  The straps are approximately 20″ long. You can use this tutorial to make any size bag you want. The instructions will be the same, just change the size of fabric you use.

To make a bag the same size as mine, you will need:

1 yard outside fabric (I used Medium Chevron in Navy)
1.5 yard liner fabric (I used Yellow Medallion)
1 yard fusible fleece
1 magnetic clasp

Start by cutting your fabric.

(all measurements in this post are in inches)

Outer fabric: 24×36 If you are using a pattern that has an up and down, like my chevron, make sure you take that into account when cutting.
Inner fabric: 24×36
Fusible fleece: 24×36
Handle: 5×144 (you might need to stitch two or three lengths together)
Pockets: 7×8 (these can really be any size you want)

Start by ironing your fusible fleece to the wrong side of your outside fabric. 

  If you want a pocket, you’ll need to make that next. You can make your pocket any size you want.
Mine is about 7×8 inches. 

Fold the sides over twice and stitch down to finish off the edges. 

  Top stitch your pocket onto your bag. Make sure you only do 3 sides.

Mine was centered on the front and about 5 inches down from the top.

 And you should have something that looks like this… (My pocket is hard to see because I purposely matched the print on the pocket to the print on the bag.)

Next comes your handle. You make your handle by creating a tube, a REALLY long tube. Fold your strip in half (right sides together), long ways, and sew down the edge. Then turn right side out.

If you don’t have a piece of fabric 144 inches long, you’ll need to stitch two together like I did. Just fold the end of one of the tubes in, and stick the other end in it. Then sew it flat.

 I messed up and forgot to attach my handle to my bag before I stitched up the sides… So, if you want to save yourself a headache, sew it on now.

You’ll need to stitch down one edge and up the other edge of your handle fabric. Start and end, in the middle of your fabric, so your ends will be on the bottom of your bag. And make sure to tuck the ends inside each other, like I showed you above.

While you are sewing on your handle, make sure to stop sewing about an inch from the top and an inch from the bottom of your bag fabric. Pretty soon, you’ll need to stitch your lining to your bag, and if you’ve got the handle sewn on that part, it’s not going to work out well.

Hopefully my horrible illustration below will help you out.

  Now, fold your fabric in half, right sides together and sew along both sides. In the photo below, you can see how I sewed on my pocket.

 After you’ve got your sides sewn together, open the bag up, and fold a triangle on each corner, with the side seam in the middle. Since my bag is going to be 4 inches deep, I measured 4 inches across, making sure my seam stayed in the middle of my triangle.

 Sew across that line and then cut off the excess.

 Now your bag has a bottom! Yay! We are making progress! And imagine the bag has handles on it.

 Now to sew the liner. Repeat all the steps we just did on the outside fabric, with your lining, minus the fusible fleece and the handle.

Sew a pocket on.

Fold up, and stitch the sides together.

Sew the corners and clip the excess off.

Also, if you want a clasp on your bag, do it now, before you stitch the lining to the bag. I got mine here.

 Ok, so by now, you should have an outside and an inside (liner).
Keep your liner turned inside-out and stick it inside your bag.

  Fold the top edges over and pin the inside liner to the outside fabric of your bag.

Here’s a tip for attaching the liner to your bag… Start by pinning the side seams together on one side of your bag and then the other side of your bag. Then pin the middle in the front and the middle of the back. Then pin between those pins, and between those pins, etc. That way your liner will end up sewn in straight.

 Once you’ve got it all pinned, top stitch the two pieces together. Make sure your handle gets stitched down too. In fact, I stitched over my handle a few times just to make sure it’s secure.

 And you’re done!  

Jumbo Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Now you’ve got yourself a really handy (and pretty) tote bag. Perfect for the beach, the park, or carrying all those snacks to church.

Jumbo Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog


Thank you Natalie! Thank you for sharing your incredible talent with us and welcome aboard! We love our Contributors, and we are so excited to have you as our newest!
For more fantastic tutorials by Natalie, don’t forget to pay her a visit at The Creative Mom.com.

To check out more fun bag tutorials here at The Ribbon Retreat, click here. We have everything from a Lego Carrier to a Diaper Bag and everything in between!

Do you love bags? What are your favorite bags? Do you like tote bags, big bags, small bags, jumbo bags like these? I would love to hear what bags make your day. 🙂

Happy Creating & Happy Bags, Bags, Bags!
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10 Comments

  1. Posted September 17, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for having me! Such a fun project!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Natalie! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing bag with us today! You are amazing! Have a great rest of your day! Michelle 🙂

  2. Christine Sherman
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks! Great bag!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Christine! Thank you so much! This is such a great bag…I agree! I think I need one or two. You? Have a wonderful rest of your day! Michelle 🙂

  3. Posted September 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    So adorable! Pinned!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kami! Thank you so much for your comment and your pin. 🙂
      Have a wonderful rest of your day! Michelle 🙂

  4. Lillian
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    So, if I wanted to add a zipper to this bag instead of a snap, would that be possible? Beginner sewer here! =)

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 18, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Hi Lillian! Yay for beginner sewers! You are awesome! Yes, you could use a zipper instead of a snap for sure. We have a ton of great tutorials that give instructions on adding zippers to bags and pouches. You can find some of those HERE, HERE and HERE! Good luck with your zipper and with your bag! Have a great day! Michelle 🙂

  5. Lillian
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Ugh. I just made this bag and the whole time I was thinking, “Man. These straps look really long.” I put it on my shoulder and the top of the bag hit my hipbone (I’m 5’9″). I just re-checked my math (which I swear I double checked before cutting) and my straps are 180″ long. Ha! No wonder! I’m going to try to find a taller friend to give it to because I don’t feel like seam ripping and re-sewing. =)

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 18, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Hi Lillian! BUMMER! I am so sorry! However, great job on making this adorable bag, and your taller friend will LOVE it! Good luck with your next one and thank you so much for your comment! Have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

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