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Asymmetric Rainbow Handbag Project

Asymmetric rainbow handbag project

This asymmetric rainbow handbag project is a great way to use a colourful fat quarter or fat eight bundle. Using a dark fabric for the main bag will really allow the colours to pop. It’s a medium sized handbag, with an internal pocket and Velcro fastening. I used Alison Glasses Sunprints 2019 collection to make mine, I also made a version with Makower’s Linen look fabrics too which is pictured at the bottom of the tutorial.

Alison Glass sunprints


1m of black or dark coloured fabric for the bag exterior and strap

1/2m of lining fabric

7 fat eights of colour fabric for the flap

1 fat eight of fabric for the internal pocket I used prints from Alison Glass Sunprints 2019 for all the fabric requirements, mainly the text prints (called Path).

1/2m of Vliseline fusible fleece

15cm x width of roll strip of Vlieseline fusible interfacing F220

Gutermann sew all thread in black (colour 000)

7 inch strip of Velcro (I used black so it blended with the fabric better)


Pattern Pieces

Click the file names below to download the pattern pieces.

Bag Body 

Bag Flap 1

Bag Flap 2

TIP – Don’t panic if your printer prints the templates slightly larger or smaller (up to around 0.5 inch variation) than the sizes indicated on the templates. Because the gusset is trimmed to size after attaching it will still work.  

Seam allowance – ¼ inch

Patchwork rainbow bag project


Bag body: Cut 2 pieces of exterior fabric, 2 pieces of lining fabric and 2 pieces of fusible fleece using the bag body pattern.

Gusset: Cut 1 piece of exterior fabric, 1 piece of lining fabric and 1 piece of fusible interfacing 31 inches long by 2 inches wide.

Internal pocket: Cut 2 pieces of pocket fabric and 1 piece of fusible interfacing 6 inches high by 8 inches wide.

Strap: Cut 1 piece of exterior fabric and 1 piece of fusible interfacing 20 inches long by 3 inches wide

Flap: Cut 7 strips 14 inches high by 2 inches wide from your colourful fabrics, cut 1 piece of lining fabric using the bag flap template and 1 piece from fusible fleece.

Note – Turn the bag flap template over when cutting the lining fabric.


Step 1 – Sewing the flap

Arrange your rainbow strips into a layout that you like, ideally with the colours blending into each other like a rainbow. Sew them together making sure if you are using a directional print that they all face the same way up.

Lay your bag flap template over the top of the rainbow panel you’ve just sewn and cut around the outside. Fuse the fusible fleece to the back of your rainbow bag flap piece and put aside.


Using the bag flap piece cut from lining fabric take your 7 inch strip of Velcro and peel one side of it off.  Draw a chalk line parallel to the long diagonal edge, half an inch in from the edge and 7 inches long. Start it approximately 2 inches from the bottom edge (as per the photo). Pin your Velcro into place lining the bottom edge of the Velcro up with the chalk line, then sew it into place with a thread colour that matches your Velcro.

Put the 2 bag flap pieces on top of each other, right sides together and use Wonder clips or pins to hold them together.

Sewing a handbag

Sew right around the outside, leaving a 4 inch on the top edge (the shorter edge) for turning through. My gap is marked in orange chalk in the image above.

Turn through, press it and then top stitch close to the edge all the way around closing the gap on the top. Put the flap aside for now.

Step 2 – Sewing the bag body

Take your 2 internal pocket pieces and place them right sides together. Sew around the outside leaving a gap to turn through. Trim the corners to reduce bulk then turn it through, press and then top stitch right around the outside close to the edge closing the gap as you go.


Sewing with Alison Glass sunprints

Place the pocket on one of your bag lining body pieces, around 1.5 inches from the bottom and centred as per the image above.

Pin into place, sew around the 2 sides and the bottom, leave the top open. Try to sew over your top stitching lines.

Round the corners of your 2 bag body pieces I used circular pattern weights to do so as shown above. You could cut around the base of a cup or glass, or your tape measure. Whatever you have to hand which has a curved edge.

Adding a bag gusset

Pin/Wonder clip the gusset piece in place around the edge of 1 body piece (don’t worry if it’s slightly longer, it should be).

Bag making skills

Make a few little snips within the seam allowance of the gusset piece around the corners to help it ease around the corner when you are stitching. Sew into place.

Free shoulder bag pattern

Attach the other bag body piece to the other side of the gusset and repeat – but leave a 4 inch gap for turning through. Trim off any excess gusset fabric which passes the top of the bag.


Take one of the external bag body pieces. Position the bag flap on top so the bottom corner of the flap aligns with the bottom edge of the panel. Fold back the diagonal edge of the flap to see where the Velcro is, mark the edge of the Velcro strip with chalk.


Fabric handbag project

Remove the flap and pin the other side of the Velcro strip along the line you just marked, sew it into place.

Repeat the steps above to sew together the exterior bag fabrics but do not leave a gap in the bottom. Turn the exterior of the bag so the right sides are facing outwards.

Make a bag strap

Step 3 – Making the strap

Fuse the interfacing to your strap fabric if you have not already done so. Turn in ½ an inch on each long side of the strap and press. Fold the strap in half right down the length and press.

Topstitch a bag strap

Now sew along both sides of the strap.

Align the ends of the strap with the top of the gusset pieces, making sure the strap is not twisted. Stitch 3 times to secure into place.

Assemble a bag and its lining

Step 4 – Assembling the bag

Place the bag exterior inside the bag lining right sides facing together. Ensure the strap is tuck down between the 2 layers out of the way. Pin or clip around the top edge and then sew the layers together.

Alison Glass fabrics

Using the hole in the bag lining pull the bag through. Close the hole in the lining, tuck the lining inside the bag exterior and press into place.

Top stitch around the top to keep the lining in place.

Position your bag flap so the bottom point of the flap aligns with the bottom of the bag front and the Velcro strips join. Fold the top of the flap over the top of the bag and pin it into place on the back of the bag (as shown above). 

Sew to attach it to the bag body, ideally following the line of top stitching you did in step 1.

Et voila! Your bag is finished!

This project was written by Fiona Pullen on The Sewing Directory. 

For more free bag projects please visit our free projects page.