I am so excited with how this little bag turned out! I have made five now, each time being able to perfect the pattern a little more, and it’s finally ready to release for your sewing pleasure. The style is a cross body, which is a personal favorite of mine. It allows you to put it on and forget it. Especially handy at the grocery store, or anywhere else I need free hands to chase little ones. It fits all the essentials perfectly, making it a great “purse for your purse” – for a quick grab and go when you don’t want to take your larger bag.
It’s fun to sew, and the possibilities for variation are endless. Plus with less than two fat quarters required or just a few scrap pieces of your favorite fabric, it’s super inexpensive to make. I have written up a very detailed tutorial with a photo for almost every step so that even the novice sewer can turn out a great finished product. You will find it, along with the free PDF download of the pattern pieces after the jump!
The Little Betty Bag Tutorial and Pattern
There are many variations that can be made to this bag, but I will let you use your imagination for those, and just go over the steps for the bag I made. After you make one, you will think of all sorts of possibilities. I will give a couple variations on the strap if you prefer not to use chain. Let’s get started!
Save on ink when printing! Like I said, this is a very detailed tutorial, with a lot of images. You can read through it and print out only the steps and photos you need using the print button at the bottom of the post. Simply click on the photos and text you don’t need and it will prompt you to delete.
If you are new to sewing I have a Sewing Tips Directory that might come in handy. Read through the tutorial before beginning, and if you have any questions leave them in the comments where I can help you out!
A half a yard total is more than enough to make the bag body. If you want a different color for the lining two fat quarters work great. Or just dig through your scrap bucket 🙂
A heavier fabric works best, like a canvas, twill, or anything that has a sturdy weight. If you are using a lighter weight like quilters cotton, you can iron on an interfacing to the fabric before cutting.
- all your sewing stuff
- chain for the strap – I like to use chain found in the jewelry making supplies at my craft store – they are more comfortable
- D-rings or something similar. I actually used a little buckle clasp I found in the button section and it was perfect. You want the d ring to be 1/2 inch or smaller.
- a little scrap of bias tape if you have it
- hot iron
Preparing the Pattern and Fabric Cuts:
Click here to download Free Little Betty Bag PDF Pattern pieces – click on file then download and print.
Print out the pattern at 100% with no scaling, letter format. I provided a 1 inch box on one of the pieces so that you can check it is printing properly. Cut out the pieces and pin to the respective fabric.
You will cut as follows:
- 1 front yoke from main fabric
- 1 bag body from main fabric
- 1 flap piece from main fabric
- 1 front panel piece from main fabric
- 2 bag body from lining
- 1 flap piece from lining
We are going to start with the straps, so they are ready to go.
I used bias tape with the sides sewn for the little straps to connect the D-rings to the bag. You can make your own using scrap from the fabric. You will want two 1/2 inch by 3 inch pieces long (or width to match the ring). The buckle pieces I found in the button section at Hancock’s Fabric were smaller so I used 1/4 inch bias tape.
If you are using a chain strap, you can just skip the next steps for the fabric strap.
If you are making a fabric strap, you will want a 2 x 48 inch strip. You can piece two pieces together to get that length, or simply make it shorter if you like.
Fold over a half an inch towards the center on each side and press like shown in the first image, and then in half again and press like in the second.
You’ll have one 1/2 inch by 48 long strips when your done, now just sew up the side and set aside.
Next up the front yoke. With a hot iron and the steam on, press the outer edges over a full 1/4 inch. I find it easier to start with the curved tips, working the rounded edges with my fingers. Hold and press for a few seconds when you have them just right. Let cool and then fold over the sides and press. Then sew a basting stitch on the inside edge as shown. Set aside.
Now take the large front panel piece, sew a basting stitch (largest stitch on machine normally) across the top. Pull on the bobbin thread to gather.
Take the back outer panel of the bag to use as a guide – lay your gathered piece on top and adjust gathering to match. These two pieces will form the outer bag. You can see how I focused on putting the gathers towards the center and left an inch on the ends that were not.
Take the front yoke and pin to the center of the gathered panel. This is where you’ll make sure the gathers are within the yoke, and the ends are flat. Hold up to the outer back panel again, just to make sure it still matches in length.
Sew a basting stitch across the top.
Your piece should look like this, with all the gathers under the yoke.
Now press the gathers with a hot iron. Again you want the gathers to fall within the yoke.
After you press the gathers to pin the sides to hold them within the yoke. You can see in the picture how my gathers reach right to the edge of the yoke. Sew with a slightly longer stitch length than usual (perfect for topstitching) starting at the top on one side. Sew down to the point and stop, cut threads – move to the other side and sew again to tip. Make sure to give a little backstitch.
Now pick out the basting stitch on the yoke. There’s your front panel!
Now we’ll add the magnetic closure to the front panel. You want the female part centered on the bottom tip of the yoke, but not to close to the edges. Just line it up, mark your lines, then snip the holes cutting through all the layers. Hold the magnet there again and double check you have it right.
Push the prongs through, add the washer, and then press the prongs down.
Now take the front and back outer panels and pin with the right sides together. I like to start by pinning the top and bottom, making sure it’s centered.
Then work around the edges, working the corners and pinning as you go. The front panel will have a little more pucker from the gathers, but you want that. Just line up the edges to the back panel and it will look great when sewn.
After lining up the corners and sides, you might have a little corner peeking up like shown in the picture. Just cut it off.
Now sew around the perimeter leaving the top open. Make sure to check your stitch length and that it is at a regular setting. Then snip out little notches around the corners like shown. Turn out and press, getting the corners nice and round.
Take the two body lining pieces and sew right sides together leaving the top open, and a 3 inch opening along the bottom. notch out corners like above, turn out and press.
Take the two flap pieces and sew with the right sides together leaving the top open. Notch out corners, and cut the corner at the point.
Turn out and press, working those corners nice and round, and the point crisp. You can topstitch (how to get a great looking topstitch) around the outer edge if you like.
Now let’s add the magnetic part. Lay the flap (lining side up) on top of the yoke of the outer bag. You will want the flap edges overlapping the yoke a smidgen (1/4 inch or less). Hold the male part over the top to mark where you will want the magnet to go. Measure twice – cut once!
Use a small piece of fabric for reinforcement, cutting slits and adding below the washer.
Now take the flap, center it on the back of the outer body matching the top edges – right sides together like shown. Pin the side pieces with rings attached to the side seams of the outer bag piece. Pay attention to how much of the bias on the ring you leave to be shown when sewn up – I left about a half inch.
Now just sew the flap and side pieces in place with a basting stitch.
Leaving the right side out, place the outer body of the bag inside the lining so that the right sides are together like shown in the picture. Line up the top edges, and sew around the entire top edge.
Now pull the outer body of the bag through the hole you left on the bottom of the lining. Press the edges in on the hole to match the seam.
Then stitch the opening closed. Fold the lining inside the bag outer body.
This is how it should look, and now all you have to do is add the strap. You can add a topstitch around the top of the bag opening if you want too.
To add the fabric strap, just loop around the D-rings and sew in place. For the chain strap, make the chain 48 inches long, using needle nose pliers to open the links if necessary. Close the end links around the D-ring with the pliers.
**If you have no hardware, or don’t care to use it – you can just sew the fabric straps onto the bag. When you sew the top of the bag’s outer piece and lining before turning out, leave a small opening at the side seams to add the straps after turning out.
And you’re finished! Here is a good picture to show you the size – it holds my card sleeve, sunglasses, iPhone, and lip gloss perfectly.
Perfect for a night out, a quick trip to the store, or even to keep in your larger purse to grab out when you don’t want to lug around all the weight.
Again, use the print button below to delete images and text you don’t need and save on ink. You can also make the print larger if needed!
Any questions? I’m here to help, just leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them there.
Thanks so much, and I can’t wait to see the pictures coming in on your finished Little Betty Bags!