Charm Square Bag Tutorial

Charm Square Bag Tutorial

A quick and easy reversible Charm Square tote bag. Free Pattern and Tutorial.


    Thirty two assorted charm squares. (These can be any size you wish. 5 inch (13cm) squares were used in this sample.)
    1/2 meter (5/8 yd) fusible pellon.
    Fat eighth or 10 cm (1/8 yd) fabric for handles
    Two 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) diameter buttons.
    Sewing machine
    Rotary cutter, ruler and mat
    Fabric Scissors
    Marking pencil
    14 flower head pins
    General sewing supplies

Finished Size

Finished bag measures 12 inches using 5 inch squares. You can make a larger bag by using bigger squares.

The squares can be used straight from the pack or used to make a selection of blocks (such as square in a square or quarter square triangles) for a more interesting effect.

Step One

Divide the squares into two groups (one group for the bag and one for the lining), sixteen squares to each group.
Working on the first group of sixteen, arrange in five rows as shown in Figure 1. Take time to arrange the squares to give a variety of colour and/or tones.
Rows 1 and 5 have two squares each, rows 2, 3 and 4 have four squares each.
Note: The top edge of the bag will be formed by the squares on the right hand edge of rows 2 to 5. You may like to select the design squares with this in mind. 

Step Two

Using a 1/4 inch seam, join the squares together in rows. Press the seams to the left in rows 1, 3 and 5 and to the right in rows 2 and 4. Join the five rows together as shown in the diagram. Press the seams to one side.
Note: All seams marked with a red dot should be stitched to a point 1/4 inch from the end of the seam and finished off securely. This will make it easier to join the seams in step 4.

Charm Square Bag Tutorial

Figure 1: Layout Diagram

Step Three

Pin the work right side up onto the fusible side of the pellon as shown below. Mark all around the outer edge. Unpin the piece and cut the pellon 1/4 inch inside the marked line. This will leave a 1/4 inch gap around the edge and will avoid bulky seams in the finished bag.
Place the work, wrong side up on the ironing surface and position the cut pellon, fusible side down, on top so that there is a 1/4 inch gap all around. (This will avoid bulky seams). Fuse the pellon onto the fabric with a hot iron until both pieces are securely bonded.

Figure 2: Fusing to the Pellon

 Figure 3: Marking the edges

Referring to Figure 1, mark the edges of the work alphabetically .
Tip: Use a series of fourteen flower head pins to identify the edges. Mark them with a permanent marker pen.

Step Four

With right sides together and using a 1/4 inch seam, join the two sides marked ‘A’.
Begin and end the stitching 1/4 inch in from the edge, making sure that the ends of the stitching are firmly secured.

Figure 4: Joining the pieces

Step Five

Rotate the top fabric clockwise through 90 degrees so that the two edges marked ‘B’ come together. Stitch the seam as before, beginning and ending 1/4 inch in from the end.
Be sure to check the work from the right side to make sure that the points are joined correctly.
Continue joining the seams in alphabetical sequence, taking care to match the edges, until all of the seven seams have been stitched.

Figure 5: Joining the seams

Step 6 - The Lining

Take the second group of sixteen charm squares to make a lining and repeat all previous steps except step 3. Seams ‘F’ and ‘G’ on the underside should be left partly open to leave a gap for turning the bag through.

Step 7 - The Handles

Figure 6: Handles

Cut two strips of fabric each 4 x 22 inches for the handles.
With wrong sides together press the fabric strips in half lengthwise.
Open and bring the side edges to the centre and refold along the crease line. (This will be four thicknesses of fabric.)
Stitch down the two long sides close to the edge.

Step Eight

Position the handles on the right side of the main bag in the centre of the two points, (one handle each side of the bag).
Make sure that the handles are not twisted. Stitch across the top 1/4 inch in from the edge as shown.

Figure 7: Adding the Handles

Step Nine - Inserting the lining

With the main bag wrong side out and the lining right side out, place the lining inside the bag so that the right sides are facing and the four points at the top edge are matching.
The handles should lie between the two sections.
Pin into position.
Using a 1/4inch seam, stitch all around the top edge taking care to stitch across the points through the handles.

Figure 8: Inserting the lining

Cut the excess fabric from all four points to avoid bulk.
Clip the four corners as far as the stitching line, being careful not to cut through the stitches.
Turn the work through the gap in the bottom of the lining.
Manipulate the fabrics between the thumbs and forefingers until the edges and the corners are fully turned through.
Close the gap in the lining. Use small hand stitches and matching thread.
Press the edge seam. Top stitch around the top of the bag 1/4 inch from the edge.
Sew a thread loop in the centre of the top of the bag on one side and on the opposite side of the bag stitch two buttons, (one on each side).

Figure 9: Trim bulk

Congratulations! The reversible tote bag is now complete.

Charm Square Bag Tutorial

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