Osoberry bag pattern

by kath_red on 13/04/2011

in Guest Blogger, Sewing+Fabric, Whip Up Tutorials

A new bag for a new season – the Osoberry bag by Kate from FoxFlat.

Made from large fabric scraps and/or thrifted clothing items (this bag is made from some IKEA fabric and two pairs of ladies’ pants), and the construction is simple enough to make this a one-day project.

I like a good fabric handbag. They’re inexpensive to make, so I don’t feel guilty about owning a half dozen. They’re washable, which is great for me and my exploding pens and leaking lunch containers (and good for you too – they can carry anything from books and laptops to nappies, craft projects and shopping). And best of all, they can be made from all sorts of thrifted items that, despite a beautiful color or pattern, should not be walking the streets in their current form (fashion police community service!).

My preference is a bag design that doesn’t necessitate closures. This is based purely on impatience (I like to finish projects in a day) and laziness (I don’t like fussing with zippers or button holes). I was admiring the construction of the reusable bags at our local grocery this spring, and realized that with a few tweaks it could be the new design I was looking for.

Osoberry is named after a plant that’s native to the Pacific Northwest. Also called “Indian Plum,” Osoberry is often one of the first plants to flower in spring! The bag expands to fit a knitting project or groceries for dinner, but folds over for when you’re just carrying the essentials. The pocketed exterior keeps cellphone and keys handy, and the reinforced bottom means you can safely carry a small laptop or a stack of library books.

Below you’ll find illustrated step-by-step instructions for making your own Osoberry. If you’d like a 2-page summary of the pattern, click here for a pdf to print and keep.

– Sewing machine, sewing shears, pins, ruler
– Contrasting thread color
– Some combination of fabric scraps and/or thriftstore items (my favorites are vintage bedsheets, printed cotton dresses, and ladies’ summer pants)
– If any of the fabric is flimsy or see-through, back it up with lightweight iron-on interfacing

The Pieces
Cut apart any thriftstore items so the fabric lies flat. Press. If needed, iron on lightweight interfacing. Use ruler to mark and cut pieces shown in drawing below [click for larger image]

How to make
Step 1: With right sides facing, sew top and bottom edges of pocketed exterior and lining (C & D). Turn right side out and press.

Step 2: With bag exterior (A) right side up, place pocketed exterior and lining (C side up) on top, matching side edges. Place a pin every few inches. Stitch horizontal and vertical lines through all layers as shown in drawing. These lines create the reinforced bottom and the exterior pockets.

Step 3: Fold bag exterior (A) in half, with right sides facing. Sew side edges as shown. Press seams open. **Flatten bottom of bag exterior (A) so that edge indicated by “Arrow 1” matches edge indicated by “Arrow 2”. Pin and sew. Repeat from ** for other side.

Step 4 & 5: With right sides together, sew edges of interior pocket (E) and lining (F), but leave a 2” length of edge unsewn. Turn pocket and lining right side out and press, turning unsewn edges in and pressing in place.

With bag lining (B) right side up, place pressed pocket 7” from top edge of lining (B), with the unsewn edge of the pocket at the bottom. Sew in place, starting at one upper corner and sewing down and around to the other upper corner. Repeat Step 3 with bag lining (B).

Step 6: With bag exterior (A) right side out and bag lining (B) wrong side out, place A inside B as shown. Pin top edges together.

Step 7: Sew top edge through all layers. Open a 2” portion of a side seam on lining (B) and pull bag right side out. Press, paying special attention to the upper edge. Topstitch upper edge through all layers. Sew shut the open portion of lining seam.

Step 8: With right sides facing, sew short edge of straps G&G and H&H together. Press seams open. With right sides facing, match all edges of G&G and H&H and sew. Leave one short end unsewn, and turn strap right side out. Press, paying special attention to the edges.

Final Step: Pin strap on bag, 4” from upper edge, and test length of it. Cut the unsewn end of the strap to shorten as needed. Turn unsewn edge in and press in place. Topstitch around the entire strap edge. Pin strap to bag, 4” from upper edge, and sew an “X” shape at strap end through all layers. (Attaching the strap 4” from upper edge allows the bag to fold over). Voila!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann April 13, 2011 at 4:59 am

I’ve lots of bags already but you’ve sold me on this one and I definitely want to give it a try. Excellent post!


2 Ruth April 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

This bag looks awesome! I also want to give it a try! Great fabric in the example above too.


3 Lori April 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

OH MY GOODNESS! I have had this vague idea for a bag knocking around in my head for days now. The picture in my mind was this exact shape/structure but I hadn’t worked out the top yet (or come up with measurements or anything.) This is so great! Thank you for posting a tutorial and saving me having to figure out how to make my vague idea into a workable bag!


4 Katie April 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

@Ann – Yay! Send me pictures of the finished creation!! (foxflat@gmail.com)
@Lori – I checked out your blog – it’s pretty awesome! The only reason you hadn’t worked out the details yet is you’re so busy making all kinds of super cool things haha I’m gonna try and find you on ravelry…


5 Elizabeth April 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Beautiful bag, I would love to have a go at making it, but am not sure my sewing skills are up to scratch . . . but, I like it so much I think I’ll just jump right in and have a go!



6 Seanna Lea April 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I have a few glorious fabrics that would work for this. I should pull them out and see if it will work as well in real life as it does in my head!


7 wendy April 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

this is just what I need. My kid spilled some juice at the counter and my new purse sitting right underneath got completely ruined, it was not a washable one. I am the kind of girl that only has one purse/bag at a time. Lucky for me i had a little one stashed in the closet. It’s super small but I refused to buy one when I perfectly capable of making me one, since I am kind of wanting a fabric one, with this pattern i will be making who knows two or tree. Thanks for sharing this.


8 kat April 14, 2011 at 1:53 am

Hei there!
I love this pattern and especially how you drew it! great idea and concept and drawing!
thanks for sharing!
btw. the bagpattern itself is very cool too! i might end up sewing one for myself or gifts sooner than later!
best, kat


9 Dee April 14, 2011 at 3:29 am

I’ve been rummaging round the internet looking for a good aul bag pattern as am in desperate need of new bag and this fell on my lap – Thank you!


10 Fiona April 19, 2011 at 2:03 am

I actually made this! I was inspired by the photos and went straight out to buy some fabric – lovely blue cord for the base, navy material with a design for the coordinating material and red for the lining. It’s fab. I love it! And it was so easy, took me less than a day to do and I’m not too hot at sewing. I’ve got a friend who’s expecting a baby girl in July so I’m going to hunt out some nice fabric and make one for her as a gift. Thank you!


11 electricbluebird April 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

This looks like the perfect messenger hybrid I’ve been looking for!


12 Nancy Phillips April 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I used re-claimed apolstery samples.
thanks for the great pattern drawings


13 electricbluebird May 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I made mine and its AWESOME. I used a vintage tablecloth that was stained. Was able to cover the stain with the pieces of some grey cord pants. I used the pants pockets as pockets on the inside. The outside pocket and the straps used M’Liss Rawley Asian fabrics. The inside was a pretty piece from my stash. I love it.



14 katie May 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

– I tried clicking on the photo but it wouldn’t give me access. Do you have one on flickr? or you can email it to me at foxflat@gmail.com Would love to see!!


15 Fifi July 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Oooooh!! I will be making this!!


16 2paw November 5, 2011 at 1:19 am

Thanks for the great pattern. I just sewed myself a bag, I scaled it down a little, but I just love it!!!


17 Rilana December 25, 2011 at 10:13 am

Hello, thanks for this fantastic tutorial!

I’ve changed a few things, but the Bag is beautiful! THANKS!


18 Girl December 27, 2011 at 9:25 am

Thank you for your tutorial! Made one bag yesterday for my sister-in-law, she was very happy. Very easy, quite quick to sew, nicely explained. Great result!


19 Jen April 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Great tutorial! You’ve been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for the home sewist.

Grab a brag button!


20 Emma Foster May 27, 2012 at 4:22 am

Oh just what I was looking for, thank you so much for sharing, can’t wait to give it a go!! you’ve inspired me so much, thank You :o)


21 Nicole Ferguson May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Thank you for the great tutorial!! I just finished making this great bag and I love it! I posted some pictures here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1769616007471.99680.1451352384&type=1&l=f23e063deb


22 feelin felty June 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

thanks again for sharing your tutorial… here’s a link to my bag, i’m making another in a vintage flower material and am already thinking of more colour combinations!!
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=450895394920530&set=a.334204233256314.89776.133998193276920&type=1&theater thanks again :)


23 angie November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Great tutotial. I made one yesterday in a little over 2 hours! The bottom stitching looks great on contrasting fabric for pockets. Thanks!


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