This bucket bag project has been designed by Helen Rhiannon Gill. Helen teaches people how to sew through her All Sewn Up Workshops in Swansea and she is also a fashion designer specialising in unique handmade wedding dresses. Visit her website to find out more.
The Bucket Bag is a lovely simple bag which is fully lined and it can be made in a range of fabrics. You can choose to buy leather straps to give it that professional finish or you can insert fabric straps to save on cost. The size is great to fit lots in! Enjoy making it!
You will need…
1 fat quarter for top half of outside bag
Half metre of denim or heavy fabric for bottom half and base, and straps if making
Half metre for the lining
Half metre fusible interfacing
Half metre of ribbon or tape
Leather straps and fastening (if using)
Usual sewing equipment
Use a straight stitch length 2.5 on your sewing machine.
Use a 1cm seam allowance unless otherwise stated.
Stage 1 – Cutting out
Cut out all pieces as instructed on the bucket bag pattern. Remember to cut Interfacing as indicated to make the outside sections nice and firm. You can fuse the inside too for extra stability if you wish.
Press the cut pieces ready for sewing.
Stage 2 – Creating the front and back
Pin the top section to the lower section with right sides together and raw edges together. Match the centre notches to help line the seams up and stitch. Press the seam open.
Pin only one of the side seams together and sew. Press open.
Open out the front sections at the side seam. On the front, pin on your chosen trim over the seam using either straight stitch or zig-zag. I chose a thin satin ribbon and sewed two rows of straight stitch along each edge of the ribbon.
Stage 3 – Completing the outside and creating the lining
You can now match the other side seam together so the right sides are together and raw edges together. Try and match where the ribbon sits on each side as best as you can. Pin together but don’t pin across the bottom of your bag as this is the base! Sew and press the seam open.
Take your lining pieces with right sides together and raw edges together. Pin each side seam but make sure to mark where to leave a 10cm gap in one side to turn the bag through. Leave the gap in the centre of the seam as marked on the pattern.
Stage 4 – Making your straps (optional)
Take your strap pieces and place them with the wrong side facing up. Press in 1cm on each long length towards the centre.
Then fold the strap in half so the seams you just pressed are sitting on top of each other.
Zig-zag along the open edge, making sure you go as near to the edge as possible to keep the seam edges from opening.
You can do straight stitch or an embroidery stitch if you prefer. Place your straps to one side.
Stage 5 – Attaching the base
Make sure that you mark all four notches on your base pattern by cutting into the fabric at these points using the tip of your scissors. The notch should only be a few mm’s deep. Make sure you have marked the centre notch on the bottom of the lower section.
Looking at the base pattern piece, match the notches accordingly. Match the sides notches to the side seams and the other centre notches to the lower section centre points. Get those four points pinned in first.
Then, pin each quarter. Your right sides are together and raw edges together. You may need to fiddle to fit it all in but don’t worry too much as it takes practice to ease in. Sew a 1cm seam allowance around the pinned sections. Repeat for the lining.
If you get a small fold then you can unpick that section and re-sew or embrace the quirks. My motto is, “If it’s too perfect, people won’t believe you made it!”.
Optional – If you want to, you can sew in a base to reinforce the bag bottom.
Stage 6 – Attaching your outside bag to the lining bag
Turn the outside bag the right way around and, if inserting straps, place the end of the straps on the top of the bag where marked on the pattern. Make sure the right sides are together and the raw edges together.
Keep your lining inside out so you are looking at the wrong sides. Now place the outside bag into the lining so the right sides of the lining are facing the right sides of the outside bag. The top raw edges of both the lining bag and outside bag are together with the straps sandwiched in between the layers.
Pin around the top of the bag so you are pinning through one layer of lining and one layer of the outside bag. Pin the whole way around, matching the side seams.
Sew a 1cm seam allowance along that seam, pivoting at the corner points to get a nice neat corner. To help you sew the corners, you could mark the stitch line with some chalk or fabric pen.
Important Tip – Make sure you cut the excess off the corners to reduce bulk at the corners. Also, cut into the seam allowance within a few mm of the stitching line at any curved seam. This allows the bag to sit beautifully when turned through the right way.
Stage 7– Turning your bag through
Turn your bag the right way around by pulling it all through the gap in the lining. Pull your outside bag one way and your lining the other way. Pin and sew the gap in the lining by machine. (Straight stitch along the edge).
Stage 8 – Pressing and adding finishing touches
Push the lining into the outside bag. Using the iron, press the top of the bag and use a bit of steam to get a flat finish. I chose to sew all the way around the top of the bag to create a lovely neat finish.
If you have chosen to use leather straps, you need to position them where you would like them and hand sew through all the layers to keep them in place. Always use a double thread. Sew through one hole on the front and come back up through a different hole and repeat for each hole of the strap.