Life story - the short version

I'm a fun loving 30 something year old . Married my favourite guy. Started on my production of children & number 1 is an adorable boy. Big on family. Big on craft. Love country music. Love fuss free + practical ...aaand maybe with just a little bow for decoration!

Love the law of attraction too. And singing ...dancing ...bright colours and excessive punctuation ...and stationery.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pumpkin bag tutorial - big beach tote or nappy bag

A lady named Teresa was interested in recreating a bag she saw for sale on Etsy. I knew that around here it's known as the pumpkin bag (have a geeze at it and you understand, 'cause it looks like a pumpkin!) but I couldn't, for the life of me, find a tutorial. So I offered to make one.
[Then I went out and drank excessively for the first time in 2 years and am rather hungover ...damn. I'm gonna apologise in advance for being so vague with directions]
This is the idea...

So for MATERIALS, you choose the size you want, and I'll tell you the size in the pics. I have also done this with 2 fat quarters before, see pic of the green bag at the end.
  • Wadding to cover all pieces apart from any pockets you include, and the buttonhole loop (in mine it's a total requirement of 22x27 inches plus handle - see my handle measurement below)
  • 2x squares for bag lining and bag outer (or rectangles, it doesn't matter) "Square A"
    In the pic I've used 22x22inches (56cm)
  • 2x pieces for "Rectangle B". For 'binding' the bag edge where the fastening goes
    12x5 inches (this needs to be 5 inches deep so that you can fold over and bind the edge, but as for width: simply make it a bit over half your square's width)
  • Scrap for button loop
  • button or other fastening if desired.
  • Handle on mine is made up of strips totalling 80 inches by 5. The bag on Etsy has a drawstring handle using a casing instead of making a handle, which I think looks more modern.
  • Pocket materials if you want any.
  1. Begin by sewing your pocket to square A fabric if you're having a pocket. (inside)
    Here's a link to my favourite pocket tutorial
  2. Then sew the sandwich of fabrics together: Front, wadding, back (right sides facing out).

  3. Gather the "top" edge to bunch in to the width of your "Rectangle B" and pin with right sides together like below.
    If you have a pocket, make sure the pocket opening is facing the gathered edge. (Either this one or on the opposite side which will become the other top edge)
    Then sew through all the layers, removing pins as you go. If you are able to use a walking foot (AKA Quilting foot) or release the pressure foot a little, that will help with the bulky sewing.
  4. We will then do the same thing on the opposite edge. (Bunch>Pin>sew)
    If you are fastening with a button like in my pic, create a strip of fabric and pin it between the "square a" and "rectangle b", facing in, like below.

    Once you finish off, you will end up with this effect:

  5. Then you need to fold over the "Rectangle B" (so that no raw edges show) and machine or hand sew it down. (Sorry I don't have a separate pic for this)
  6. Next is the handle, to be affixed in the same way as the Rectangle B after you baste some wadding to it

    (I didn't worry about wadding in the handle of my mini bag, I think it looks too "80's"). So
    • bunch the side to almost half as wide as your full length and pin.
    • Pin the handle on, right sides together and sew to the edges of "Square A".

      NOTE: I could use the one long handle piece as long as I joined the handle in the following way (big blue bag). I got this wrong on my little green bag and needed two handles. Take time to study the difference between the two pictures:

  7. Do this for both sides (affix the handle, right sides together), then fold your handles so that no raw edges are showing and sew all the way around to finish your bag.


Please comment if you read this, and let me know where I need to be clearer. I love interacting with ...well, anyone!


  1. Teresa well done your work so nice. you are great hard-work beach bags make here. Keep it up.!

  2. Awesome instructions....a great refresher! I made one of these bags years ago, and struggled with some of the finer details! The one I made was done with log cabin memory stretched as far as the patchwork and sandwiching the layers together!
    Now I'm ready for production again!

  3. What would we do without Google .... made these bags years ago, but could'nt find my pattern. Need to make a couple for a friend, one to carry her cross stitch, the other for her c2c crochet. Thank you for posting this information way back when ... saved me a bit of time "gestimating"

  4. Hi Teresa i love your bag, a friend has asked me to make her some for her baby Joeys as shes wildlife carer and has lots of baby wallabies. Just a few questions whats the pleat sizes on the blue side of the bag and what type of wadding did you use? Where in Northern central Australia.
    Cheers Sandy.

  5. My mum used to make these and made me one as a nappy bag with water proof material for the outside. Lasted me 15 years.


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