Christmas Handibag - a tutorial

It's almost Christmas - and you've still got some gifts to get!  You'd best be prepared when you're out - you never know when you might see something good!

I'm going to show you how you can make this nifty Christmas Handibag:
Basically a simple tote bag - that folds into it's own pocket so you can slip it in your handbag and you're prepared for any unexpected Christmas shopping!!

Small enough to fit in your palm...

Big enough to carry plenty of gifts!!

You could always make one of these as a stocking filler too!  You could choose any colour and any design for the front - not just Christmassy!  Perhaps even someone's initial to make it personalised!

So here's how:

(note about your fabric choice!  I'm all for make things with whatever fabric you choose - but just be aware if you choose thick or heavy fabric for this bag - you will need to make the pocket size bigger to be able to stuff it all in! for this bag I used shiny material - kind of like what you'd find in a skirt lining!)

First you need your fabric:
1 piece for main bag 90 x 43cm (35.5 x 17")
2 straps - 60 x 10cm cm (23.5 x 4")
2 pieces for pocket - 24 x 16cm (9.5 x 6.5")
Alternate scrap colour for tree - around A4 paper size!
Using these templates cut out your two trees.

First you need to stitch your trees onto the bag and the pocket.
Fold one pocket piece in half and place the small tree centrally on one side.
Pin through just one layer of fabric to hold in place, and open out the fabric:

Then stitch around the edges of the tree -either using a tight zig-zag stitch, or the applique setting on your machine if you have one!

Repeat this for the large tree on the main bag piece:

Place your 2 pocket pieces right sides together. Pin and stitch around the edges leaving a small gap to turn out when you're done:

Turn the pocket out, using your scissors to carefully poke the corners out ,

Then topstitch around all four edges:

Then set your pocket aside, and turn to the main bag:

Fold the main bag in half, right sides together.  Then put your hands into the bottom corners of the bag at the fold:
...and kind of flatten the bottom like this:

Then fold the bottom so it looks like this from the side:

This fold means the bottom of the bag opens out when you put things in.
You could also ignore this hole folding step and just leave it flat as a basic tote!

Pin and stitch down the two sides of the bag:

Then overlock / serge the edges to prevent fraying.  If you don't have an overlocker (serger) then you can just do a zig zag stitch along the edge of the seam.

Now to the straps.

Iron the straps in half lengthways:
Then open out and iron the edges into the centre fold:
Then fold in half and iron again to enclose all raw edges:

Topstitch down both edges of both straps:

Now you can put the whole bag together:

Take the straps and pin to either side of the bag matching the raw edges - and around 10cm (4" )in from the side seams:

Stitch the straps to the bag to secure in place:

Now double turn the whole of the top edge of the bag to hide all the raw edges, and pin into place:

Run two rows of topstitching around the bag - and small crosses on the handles for extra strength:

Almost done! You just have to add the pocket now!

Fold the pocket piece you made in half with the tree on the inside - and place on the top center back of your bag, with the open end facing to the bottom of the bag:

Make sure you have the top flap slightly overlapping the bottom part with the tree on - you must NOT stitch the top edge with the tree on to the bag :

Pin then stitch around three edges of the pocket, as close to the edge as you can:

That's it! DONE!

your finished bag should look like this:

To stuff it into the pocket - open the pocket at the top of the bag like this:

Then push the bag into the pocket from the BOTTOM upwards!

It will be a tight fit - push it all in,including the straps, then flip over the flap of the pocket which has the tree on and smooth the edges!

Now you're all ready for some more Christmas shopping!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

(this is a Christmas version of my pillowcase handibag tutorial)

If you like this tutorial, there are well over 100 Free Sewing Tutorials for all levels of sewing ability.
To browse through them, please visit 
My Free Tutorials Page.

And for plenty more sewing ideas for Christmas - take a trip over to the fabulous AllFreeSewing site and check out all the 
Free Christmas Sewing Tutorials they have there! So many ideas for hand-making your Christmas merry and bright!

Furoshiki - best enviro-friendly wrapping ever!

After my mum and dad's visit this year from the UK, they left behind our Christmas gifts - all wrapped up and ready to put under our tree.
When we put the tree up and I sorted through the gifts, I noticed that Mum had wrapped some in Christmas fabric instead of wrapping paper!

I love this idea of using fabric instead of paper. We have a few of these 'furoshiki' cloths in our Birthday wrapping box which we use for family birthday gifts, then put them back in the box for the next time! No ripped paper, no sellotape and no waste!

Now I'm eyeing up this Christmas fabric Mum has used to wrap our gifts!  Do you think my kids will let ME keep the wapping?  Knowing my girls - they will snaffle the fabric straight away!  At least my gift is fabric wrapped too!

Now if you haven't heard of furoshiki before - it's basically just this - wrapping things in fabric. It is a nifty Japanese idea from old times, and you can wrap anything you like with them.

So if you want to be eco-friendly with your wrapping this year! Try a furoshiki!

Sparkly Christmas Cushion Cover Tutorial - 5 steps in 15 minutes

A simple way to add sparkle this Christmas is to cover your cushions in shiny or sparkly fabric!
Inspired by my daughter who spotted a Gold sparkly cushion in a shop ! Here's how to make your own in just

5 steps and 15 mins!

Step 1:
Gather your materials:
One cushion, 2 pieces of fabric to cover - 2 cm (0.75") wider than the cushion itself, and 1 zip, slightly longer than the cushion.
(eg my cushion was 40 cm x 40 cm (15.75"x 15.75") and I cut the fabric 42 cm x 42 cm (16.5" x 16.5")

Step 2:
Pin the zip face down along one edge of the right side of one of your fabric squares.

Then stitch - using zipper foot on your machine.
Flip the zip over - and top-stitch the fabric to the zip to prevent it catching when you open and close the zip.

Step 3:
Repeat Step 2 with the other side of the zip pinned to the other square of fabric. (just remember right side of zip to right side of fabric)
Then stitch and topstitch the zip into place.

Step 4:
Then pin the 2 squares of fabric right sides together along the remaining 3 edges and stitch.

Step 5:
Turn the cushion cover right sides out, push your cushion in and zip up!

And there you have your finished Sparkly Cushion Cover!

With a pink side too on this one - specially chosen by my daughter!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you liked this tutorial - Have you seen my other tutorials for sewing simple projects in 5 steps and 15 minutes?

Anyone can sew - REALLY! 
Don't worry about perfection - make things you can use, have fun with!