How to Make The Artsy Bag with Free-Motion Flowers

Floral impressions meet practicality. Stitch up this special purse and treat yourself to a great fashion add-on, a perfect canvas for free-motion stitching or any type of embellishment. Let your artistic side out of the bag.

Useful has never been so beautiful.

Artsy Purse with free-motion stitching

Supplies

Artsy Purse supplies

*thread and fabric details

Step 1) Cut the fabric pieces.

Cut from main fabric:

  • Two 12ʺ squares
  • Four 2-1/2ʺ x 3-1/2ʺ strips for handles
  • One 1ʺ x 4ʺ strip for closure
  • Two 2ʺ x 7-1/2ʺ strips for binding
  • Eight 1-1/2ʺ x 2-1/2ʺ rectangles for handles

Cut from lining fabric:

  • Two 12ʺ squares

Cut from batting:

  • Two 12ʺ squares
  • One 1ʺ x 12-1/2ʺ strip for handles
  • One 3/4ʺ x 14” strip for binding

Cut from scraps, for handles:

  • Four 1-1/2ʺ x 2-1/2ʺ pink rectangles
  • Four 1-1/2ʺ x 2-1/2ʺ yellow rectangles
  • Four 1-1/2ʺ x 2-1/2ʺ blue rectangles

On each of the 12” squares (main fabric, lining, batting):

  • Make a mark 3” up from the lower right corner.
  • Make a mark 3” to the left of the right corner.
  • Make a mark 3” up from the lower left corner.
  • Make a mark 3” to the right of the lower left corner.
  • Using a small plate to create a curve, connect the dots at each corner.
  • Cut along the marked curves.

Artsy Purse - curve corners

Artsy Purse - curve corners

Artsy Purse - curve corners

Step 2) Embroider the free-motion flowers.

Layer the fabrics:

  • Position the lightweight stabilizer under the batting.
  • Position the main fabric on top of the batting.

Artsy Purse - layer the fabrics

With the white water-soluble marking pen, mark the placement of the flowers on the main fabric. Make sure the dots are visible on the fabric you’ve chosen. They will be removed later.

Artsy Purse - mark the centers of the flowers

Thread the machine with your first thread choice for drawing the flowers.

Attach a free-motion foot to your machine.

Select the straight stitch (width = 0.0, length doesn’t matter).

Lower the feed dog (see machine manual for instructions).

TIP: Use the BERNINA Stitch Regulator for free-motion stitching; the “eye” of the BSR reads the motion of the fabric and adjust the sewing speed relative to the motion of the fabric, assisting in the production of evenly-spaced stitches even if you’ve never tried free-motion stitching before.

Before installing the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR), select and attach one of its three soles:

  • Closed Circle: for detailed free-motion stitching, such as thread-painting and stippling
  • Open Circle: for added visibility when following marked lines
  • Large Clear Circle: the crosshairs and concentric circles are helpful for outlining and echo-quilting; the large sole works well with thick, poufy batts

BERNINA Stitch Regulator Soles

After installing the BSR, adjust the stitch length to 1.00 to control the flow of the stitches.

Artsy Purse - step 9

Now comes the fun part!

Place the “fabric sandwich” under the presser foot and lower the foot. Take one stitch, then tug on the needle thread to pull up the bobbin thread.

Sew a few stitches close together. Lift the presser foot and cut the thread tails.

Artsy Purse - free-motion stitching

Start free-motion stitching by moving your fabric slowly in circles, going around and over your stitches to form an abstract flower. Keep in mind that for now you are stitching just the flowers, not their stems or leaves.

Add more loops or circles if necessary; the more circles you make, the more complex the flower will look.

Artsy Purse - free-motion stitching

Once you have achieved the desired effect, stop, sew a few stitches in place, then cut the thread.

Tip: To personalize your flowers even more, use different colors for each flower, and then add small, tight circles of contrasting colors in the center of each flower.

Artsy Purse - free-motion stitching

Complete the remaining flowers in the same way, remembering that you’re only working on the actual flowers and not their stems and leaves.

Artsy Purse - free-motion stitching

Freehand draw the stems and leaves using a water-soluble fabric marker. Draw loose shapes that will make them look very artistic.

Thread the sewing machine with thread for the stem. Place the fabric sandwich under the presser foot, lower the presser foot, then bring up the bobbin thread as before.

Free-motion stitch the stems and leaves, following the guides you’ve drawn for yourself, going over each line two or three times.

Artsy Purse - free-motion stitching

When finished, clip the thread tails.

After completing the stitching, look at the flowers and see if you are pleased with the results. Don’t be afraid to go back in and add a few details here and there, like extra little flowers that spread from other stems.

Remove the markings from the fabric with water or a marker-erasing pen.

Artsy Purse - free-motion stitching

Trim the excess stabilizer from the back of the fabric.

Step 3) Assemble the body of the bag.

Take one of the 12ʺ main fabric squares; make a mark 3ʺ from each upper corner. Repeat for the second lining piece.

Bring the marks together to form a pleat; pin. The upper edge should now measure 8ʺ across. Repeat for the second piece.

Artsy Purse - step 15

Secure the pleats with a basting stitch 1/8ʺ from the raw edge.

Artsy Purse - step 15

Place the two pieces right sides together. Stitch with a 1/2ʺ-wide seam allowance around both sides and the bottom edge, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Artsy Purse - step 16Make four notches in the seam allowances of each rounded corner, being careful not to cut through the stitches.

Artsy Purse - step 17

Turn right side out, opening the seam allowance using your fingers. Press if needed.

Take one of the 12ʺ lining squares; make a mark 3ʺ from each upper corner. Repeat for the second piece.

Bring the marks together to form a pleat; pin. The upper edge should now measure 8ʺ across. Repeat for the second piece.

Secure the pleats with a basting stitch 1/8ʺ from the raw edge.

Artsy Purse - step 18

Place the two lining pieces right sides together. Stitch with a 1/2ʺ-wide seam allowance around both sides and the bottom edge, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Artsy Purse - step 19

Notch the seam allowances of the rounded corners.

Turn lining right side out, opening the seam allowances using your fingers. Press if needed.

Step 4) Construct the handles.

Take the fabric pieces for the handles and lay them out as shown in the photo.

Artsy Purse - assemble the handle

Stitch the pieces together using 1/4ʺ-wide seam allowances, to create two handle strips. Press seam allowances open.

Artsy Purse - assemble the handle

Fold under 1/4ʺ along each long edge of each strip; press.

Press seam allowances open.

Place a 1ʺ x 12-1/2ʺ batting strip in the middle of each handle fabric strip.

Artsy Purse - assemble the handleFold each strip in half lengthwise, aligning the folded edges.

Topstitch 1/8ʺ from the edge, enclosing the batting.

Artsy Purse - assemble the handle

Trim away excess batting and threads.

Step 5) Assemble the bag.

Place the lining (wrong side out) into the main bag piece (right side out), with right sides together, aligning the side seams.

With seam allowances open, pin the lining to the bag along the upper edge.

Artsy Purse - assemble the bag

To make the loop closure, fold the 1ʺ x 4ʺ fabric strip in half lengthwise; press to crease. Unfold. Fold the raw edges in to the center and press. Refold along the original crease line. Topstitch 1/8ʺ from the long edge.

Make a mark at the center of the upper edge of one lining piece for the button loop closure placement.

Fold the loop strip in half and pin it to the marked center of the lining, matching raw edges, as shown in the photo.

Artsy Purse - assemble the bag

Place one of the handles inside the bag, with the center at the bottom of the bag and the handle edges at the upper edge of one lining section.

Align the outer edge of each end of the handle with the bag side seam.

Align the raw edges at the ends of the handle with the raw edges at the upper edge of the bag. Pin handle ends in place.

Repeat for the second handle, placing it on the opposite bag lining piece.

Stitch around the entire upper edge of the bag with a 1/2ʺ-wide seam allowance, removing pins as you go, securing the handles and loop closure in the stitching.

Place the two 2ʺ x 7-1/2ʺ strips of fabric right sides together. Sew the short ends together with a 1/4ʺ-wide seam allowance.

Place the band around the top of the bag, right sides together with the outside of the bag, aligning the side seams and raw edges. Pin.

Artsy Purse - assemble the bag

Change the stitch settings of your machine to

  • Straight stitch
  • Stitch length = 2.50 mm
  • Needle position = 2 steps left of center

Artsy Purse - assemble the bag

Working from inside the bag, stitch the binding band to the bag, aligning the center of the foot with the previously stitched seam.

TIP: Stitching slightly to the left of the previous seam ensures that it will be completely covered when the binding is wrapped around the edge.

Place the 14ʺ-long batting strip around the upper edge of the bag, between the seam allowances and the binding strip.

Artsy Purse - assemble the bag

Fold under 1/2ʺ along the outer edge of the binding strip.

Artsy Bag - step 31

Fold the binding strip under again, encasing the batting and the seam allowances.

Artsy Purse - assemble the bag

Sew the binding in place by hand.

Sew the button opposite the loop, slightly below the center of the upper edge of the bag.

For the original PDF version of this project click HERE: The_Artsy_Purse_by_Pat_Bravo_for_WeAllSew.pdf

Visit Pat Bravo at her Soulful Eyes blog: http://patbravodesign.blogspot.com/ 

The Artsy Bag by Pat Bravo for WeAllSew

8 thoughts on “How to Make The Artsy Bag with Free-Motion Flowers

    1. Hello Carmen, the technique used for this project is called free motion stitching or quilting, and you do not need to use a hoop. Embroidery hoops are commonly used in the technique of machine embroidery. If you’d like to learn more about the free motion stitching technique, you can search here at WeAllSew for more tips and tutorials on the technique.

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