Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bag

This is a great project to make with a young or beginning sewist. Here are a few tips to help them succeed. 
  • Remove the selvage edges from the fat quarters so cutting mistakes aren’t made. 
  • Teach the new sewist how to combine rulers for wider cuts.
  • If possible, select the “half speed” option on the sewing machine as that may help in maintaining seam allowance.
  • You may wish to have your sewist use a walking foot.
  • If any of the fabrics are directional, please plan ahead when cutting.  
  • Finally, be sure to pin well on those steps that call for pinning! 

Please read through all instructions before beginning.  Seam allowances are ¼” unless otherwise stated.  All instructions are given in good faith as a free tutorial.

3 coordinating fat quarters (measuring approximately 18” by 21” each)
2 pieces fusible fleece measuring 10” x 11 ½” (I used Pellon 987F.)
(Note: I have also made the bag using Soft & Stable if you want a firmer bag.)

My sample bag is made up of the following fabrics:
Main outer fabric & strap: “Scrumptious” (red floral) by Bonnie & Camille for Moda
Outer trim fabric: “Chicken Wire” by Classic Moda
Inner Lining:  “Avalon” (aqua stripe) by Fig Tree & Company for Moda
First, press all three fat quarters.  Then cut as follows.

    Main (Outer) fabric:
  1. From the main outer fabric, cut a 9” strip on the long side, so you will have a strip that is 9” x 21”.
  2.  From that strip, cut two pieces 10 ½” wide, yielding two rectangles that are 9” by 10 ½”.

  3.  From the remainder of the fat quarter, cut two 4 ½” strips on the long side, so you will have two strips that are 4 ½” by 21”. These will be joined to form a long strap.

    Lining Fabric

  4. From the lining fabric, cut a 12” strip on the long side, so you will have a strip that is 12” by 21”.

  5.   From that strip, cut two pieces 10 ½” wide, yielding two rectangles that are 12” by 10 ½”.

    Outer trim fabric

  6. From the outer trim fabric, cut two rectangles that are 3 ½” by 10 ½”.

    Fusible Fleece

  7. From the fusible fleece, cut 2 rectangles that are 10” by 11 ½”.


  1. Sew the trim pieces to the top of both outer pieces.  Press to the darker fabric.

  2. Iron the fusible fleece rectangles to the wrong side of the outer pieces per the instructions on the fusible fleece wrapper.

  3. Pin the outer pieces (which now have fusible fleece on the wrong side) right sides together.
  4. Sew along both sides and the bottom.  Do not sew across the top.  Back stitch at all starting and stopping points.

  5. Pin the interior lining pieces right sides together.
  6. On this step only, use a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Sew down both of the sides (the 12” sides).  Sew across the bottom, leaving a 4” gap in the middle.  Backstitch at all starting and stopping points.

  7. You may now return to a ¼” seam allowance.
  8. Put the two 4 ½” by 21” handle pieces right sides together and sew along one short edge to create a long shoulder strap.    Press this short seam flat.
  9. Press the shoulder strap in half lengthwise to create a crease.
  10. Open up and press both edges half way toward the middle crease.

  11. Then press in half again.  This should yield a strap that is approximately 1 ½” wide.

  12. Pin the strap and top stitch along both edges as close to the edge as possible.  If you are working with a beginning sewist, assist in finding a “sweet spot” on the sewing machine foot to achieve this scant edge.
  13. **Note: at this point you may shorten the strap if this bag is for a young child.  Shorten as desired.  The original design will create a bag that rests just above the hip for a teenager or adult.


  1.  Turn out the outer bag piece.
  2. Pin the long strap to the outer bag piece as shown below.  Make sure the strap isn’t twisted.

  3. Gather the strap up and insert the outer bag piece and handle into the lining bag piece. Tuck the outer bag piece down into the lining bag piece until the tops meet. The outer bag piece and lining bag piece will have right sides facing each other.

  4. Pin well all the way around the top.
  5. On this step, use a half inch seam allowance and sew all the way around the top of the bag.

  6. Turn the bag out through the 4” gap in the bottom of the lining piece. Push out all corners.

  7. Sew a very scant seam (1/8”) to close the hole in the lining.  Tuck the lining back inside and again push out all corners.

  8. Carefully sew a very scant seam (1/8”) around the top of the entire bag to keep the lining in place.

  9. Adorn with a button or other embellishment if desired!

I would love to see your bag!  Please post your creation on Instagram at this hashtag:  #easyfatquartershoulderbag

If you make the bag for personal use or to sell, please give credit and tag or link back to my blog and my Instagram account (@taunjalynn).  I appreciate it!

12 thoughts on “Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bag

  1. Thank you for this tutorial! I'm making 5 book bags and will help my 7 year old granddaughter make one of these for her teacher. Such an easy and cute design!

  2. I am so happy to hear you are enjoying this project! Great fun! What a lovely thought to make one together with your granddaughter as a gift for her teacher. The teacher will love it, and it will be a special time with your granddaughter! Thanks for sharing Pam!

  3. I really wish this had been in a pdf form… so hard to bring up on computer and then try and sew it together…. printing out the page is not good…pdf plain , simple and very helpful

  4. You can just highlight whole article and then copy and paste into a word programJust did it. I do this with alot of good ideas that I find

  5. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I'm looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thank you backpack bags

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