The simple construction makes this a great beginner sewing project!
The bohemian look of the bag would not have been achieved if I had used fabric from The Stash for the bag, so I used a scarf for the main fabric. Another option would have been to use those block print dorm room bedspreads from “back in the day”.
To give the fragile scarf fabric some additional strength, a foundation piecing method was used to create the patchwork. Foundation piecing is possibly the simplest and most accurate form of piecing.
Using the pattern and the instructions for the Boho Sling Bag, cut out two bag pieces from a plain light colored fabric – adding about 1″ all the way around the pattern piece.
In place of fabric, pillow cases or sheets may also be used. I used some no longer needed King-sized pillow cases (as we no longer have King sized pillows!)
Trace around the pattern piece with a pencil or disappearing marker directly onto the light colored fabric.
Make small snips or slits in the fabric to mark the center top and bottom of the bag. The centers are easy to find – just fold the pattern piece in half and the crease identifies the centerpoints.
Save pattern piece for later.
Fold the fabric pieces at the snips and press to form a obvious centerline. Using a yardstick or quilting ruler, draw a line along that centerline.
Draw additional vertical lines 4″ from the centerline and horizontal lines 4″, 8″, 12″ and 16″ from the base line.
This will result in a 4″ grid drawn on the body portion of the two light colored fabric pieces. These lines will be sewing lines.
Cut 5″ squares of fabrics selected for patchwork (Yes, 4″ grid, 5″ squares. It is not a typo.)
As there are 16 squares (2 of which are partial squares) on each of the two fabric pieces, a total of 32 squares will be required.
Cutting the squares accurately is important. A 5″ template will help – but it is not necessary to use one of these commercially available plastic ones – A 5″ square cut from a cereal box cardboard works just as well.
A rotary cutting device is also nice, but not required. By tracing around the 5″ square template with a fine-tip pen, a very accurate square will result.
Arrange the squares on ONE fabric piece in a pleasing manner – the other fabric piece comes later.
Cut another piece of fabric to cover the portion of the handle that is not covered by squares. It should extend at least 1″ beyond the 16″ grid line.
Then – take a picture of the layout with your phone or other digital camera or use small pieces of Painters Tape and write the number of each square shown in Photo 6.
Remove the squares and the handle piece from the light colored fabric – which we will now call the “foundation”.
Turn the foundation fabric grid side down on the table and place the handle fabric on top of it – right side up. Verify that the handle fabric extends 1″ beyond the 16″ line. Pin.
Turn over so the gridlines are visible.
Secure the handle fabric to the foundation fabric by stitching just below the 16″ line (at about 15.75″). Trim the seam to 1/4″. Also stitch just inside the bag pattern line drawn all around the handle.
Now it’s time for the squares.
Take squares 1 and 2 and place them right sides together. Sew together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seam open.
It may be helpful to press creases at each of the vertical grid lines.
Place the sewn squares 1/2 upside down on the handle fabric. The stitching line is shown in Photo 7 by the edge of the ruler. However, the stitching will be done from the grid side of the foundation fabric. Pin squares in place. Sew along the 16″ grid line.
Turn to the squares side. Remove pins. Flip the squares down and press. They should overlap the grid lines by 1/2″. Pin in place.
Place square 3 and on top of square 1 – RIGHT SIDES together. Place square 4 on top of square 2 – RIGHT SIDES together. Align the lower and outer edges. Pin.
Turn to grid side. Sew vertical seam between square 2 and square 4. Sew vertical seam between square 1 and square 3.
Turn to squares side. Remove pins. Flip squares 3 and 4 and iron. Pin.
Turn to grid side and sew 1/4″ below the 12″ grid line.
Photo 10 shows Squares 1 – 4 pinned and ready for the stitching that will be 1/4″ below the 12″ grid line – from the squares side.
Photo 11 shows the same squares – after the stitching 1/4″ below the 12″ grid line has been completed – from the grid side. Looking closely the grid lines are visible.
Foundation piecing is also called the “stitch and flip” method.
*Sew squares 5 – 8 into a row, using 1/2″ seam allowances. Press seams open.
Photo12 shows squares 1 – 4 secured to foundation by 11.75″ seam and squares 5 – 8 sewn into a row.
Place the row of squares 5 – 8 on top of squares 1 – 4 RIGHT SIDES together. Align seams and edges. Pin.
Turn to grid side and sew along 12″ grid line. Turn to squares side. Remove pins, flip fabric and press with iron. Pin.*
Repeat instructions between *’s with squares 9 – 12 and finally with squares 13 – 16.
Photo 14 shows a completed piece – but to sew a bag, two piece are required!
Typically when doing patchwork, placing two similar squares next to each other is avoided. To avoid that “piecing faus pax”, laying out the second bag piece was delayed until this point.
Fold the completed piece along the centerline. Fold the remaining light colored bag piece along its centerline. Arrange squares until satisfied. Pin to foundation fabric.
Flip both bag sections and align remaining squares.
Complete second bag section in the same manner as first bag section.
Sew around bag sections approximately 1/4″ from edge of squares.
Trim excess foundation fabric.
Complete bag following Boho Sling Bag instructions.