Sew Along – Work Bag (week6)

This week we are finishing our work bag by decorating with ruched ribbon, adding the ribbon handles and the wool needle pages for the cotton bag and adding a handle & draw for the silk bag.

Cotton Work Bag

To cut your wool needle pages, take the template from week 1 and trace this on a piece of paper. Trim the piece of paper down along the curved sides to the size and shape you like. Be sure to leave enough of the flat side for the fold to be a solid anchor. I trimmed about a half inch in from the edge for mine. This becomes the template for  your wool pages.

Fold the wool in half. Place your template on the fold. Mark around your template. Cut with pinking shears or a pinking machine. (Note – With a pinking machine, you will loose a tiny bit of the size.)


Place the fold along the inside crease of the flap and front piece. With the pages open, sew through the fold and crease.  I suggest a set of stitches in the center and at each end.


Here is a set of needle pages in place:


Cut 2 12″ sections of ribbon and set them aside for the handles.

Box pleat the remaining ribbon in small box pleats (about a half inch.) You will need the pleated ribbon to be flexible because it will need to go around the curves easily. (See how my box pleats like to flop below.) You can pleat enough to go around the front flap of your bag. You may have enough to go around the back as well. (The original does not have this.)


Sew through the box pleats and the very edge of the flap. I like to catch the top center of each box pleat and the bottom center as well.

Here is the flap trimmed in box pleats.


For the handles, fold under each end about a quarter of an inch. Pin in place at the very edge of the pasteboard center. Sew around three sides (sides and bottom) going through the lining and catching the decorative fabric hidden inside.

Repeat with both handles. (front to front and back to back seems to work better. Though some originals have handles going front to back.)

Here is my finished cotton work bag. (You will notice I opted for self fabric handles as I somehow ended up a bit short on my length of ribbon. I suspect I used a bit for another project and forgot.)




Silk Bag

The silk bag has just a few remaining steps.

Remember this channel that was made when we attached the lining and silk? We are simply going to run a silk ribbon or cord through it.


For each side, cut between 12″ and 18″ depending on how long you want your handles to be. (or cut one 24″ to 36″ long piece.)

Run the ribbon or cord from the inside where the bag meets the pasteboard, to the top of the bag’s channel and back to the base on the other side.

I prefer to work a small hole in the base of the lining to access the channel.

Also use a bodkin or stiletto to work a hole in the top of the silk. You may want to do a fine button hole stitch around this hole.


I also use my bodkin to bring the ribbon/cord through the channel.

I anchor the ribbon/cord at the base of the channel. This could be done with a knot at each end or folding the end over and stitching down. Since I used a single ribbon, I tied one side and have a flat ribbon on the other side.

My finished version:

Published in: on February 7, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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