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Evening Bag Project

Oakshott evening bag project

This project was written by Anna Wilson you can find more projects from her on her blog or find her handmade products on Etsy here.

Oakshott fat eighths

A little bag, perfect for evenings or when you don’t have too much to carry!

You will need:

Fusible interfacing
1 magnetic snap fastening
1 button
Co-ordinating thread
Needle or sewing machine

A 1cm seam allowance is included in the measurements.

How to Make the Bag

This lined bag is made up of pieces of different coloured fabric. The bag main features coloured pieces on either side of a black piece, with different colours on the front and back. The bag main and the plaited handles are held in place by a band with different colours being used for the band outer and the band lining.

Decide which fabrics you are going to use for each element of the bag.

You will need to use fabric A for the band at the top, B for the middle on both the front and back, C and D for the left and right pieces on the front of the bag main, E and F for the left and right pieces on the back of the bag main, G and C for the handles and H for the lining.

Fuse interfacing to the fabric for the handles and the bag outer.

Step 2 Cutting Out

Make pattern pieces for the bag main. The centre piece needs to be 16 cm high, 8 cm across the top and 16 cm along the bottom. It should look like a triangle with the top cut off.

For the side pieces, trace the side edge of the centre piece. Draw a horizontal line from the top 10 cm long. Repeat for the bottom. Join the lines to make a 4th line parallel to the sloping line that you traced from the centre piece.

Cut the pieces for the bag outer. You will need to cut:

From fabric B 2 pieces using the pattern you made for the centre piece.

From fabrics C, D, E and F, 1 piece using the other pattern piece that you have made.

For the band at the top, cut 2 pieces 26 cm x 8 cm each from fabric A and fabric H.

For the handles cut 4 pieces 45 cm x 5 cm from fabric G and 2 pieces 45 cm x 5 cm from fabric C.

With right sides together  join a side piece to each side of a centre piece. Trim seam and press. Repeat with the other side and centre pieces.

Step 3 Bag Main Outer

Free pattern for an evening bag
Sewing a simple evening purse

Round off the corners of the bag main outer front and back. You may wish to do this on a piece of paper first. 

Step 4 Bag Main Lining

Place the bag main outer on top of the lining fabric. Draw round it and cut out. 

With right sides together sew round three sides of bag main lining leaving the top open. Trim seams and press. Repeat for outer.

Free bagmaking tutorials
Shot cotton evening bag to sew

Step 5 Bag Band

With right sides together join band outer at the short edges, checking that the seams match the side seams on bag main. Trim seams and press. Repeat for band lining.

Sewing a small evening bag

Attaching Bag Band to Bag Main 

Pin band outer to bag main outer with right sides together, aligning the bottom of the band up with the top of the bag main.


Sew a bag with Oakshott cottons

Repeat with band lining, so that the band lining is pinned to the bag main lining in the same way. Sew. Zig zag or overlock seam to prevent fraying. 

Turn band outer and band lining  right way out. Press. Top stitch, keeping close to the seam.

The Sewing Directory free UK sewing resource

Attach magnetic snap to bag band lining according to instructions. (Read our bag closures technique guide for more information).

Fold the top of band outer inside. Repeat for the lining and press.

TIP – Sewing the bag band after you have attached the magnetic snap can be tricky. However, it should be possible to slide the presser foot between the snap and the fabric.

Sew a bag with a magnetic fastening

Step 7 Making the Handles 

Take one of strips and fold in half. Press. Open it out and fold the raw edges into the middle.

Sewi9ng fabric bag handles

Press again. Fold the strip in half and sew along both long edges. Repeat for the other 5 strips.

Make a plaited bag handle

Take 3 of the strips and sew together at the top. Plait them together, folding each strip over carefully. Sew across the bottom to hold.

How to plait handles for a purse
Using Oakshott cottons

Step 8 Attaching the Handles

Insert the ends of the plaited handle between the band outer and the band lining. Pin in place.

TIP – The handles can be made by attaching single straps in the same way.

Shot cotton evening bag project

Repeat for the other handle. Top stitch.

Step 9 Making the Flower

Cut 2 strips of fabric 16 cm x 4 cm. Fold in half lengthways and put one on top of the other with raw edges together.

Sew 2 rows of long stitches for gathering along the raw edges.

Gather. Sew the short edges together and press.

Hand sew flower to bag and sew a button in the middle.

Sew a small evening bag

TIP – The flower could be left off and the bag could be decorated in another way, with beads, sequins or buttons.

For more projects and tutorials from Anna do visit her blog: