Reversible tie-top handbag tutorial

This cute handbag has a strap that’s actually just two separate straps tied together at the top. It’s also fully reversible. No matter which way you have it, it will have a pocket inside and a pocket outside. The tab snap works from either direction. It’s an easy bag to make, so give it a try!


(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Akita sweet potato – AKASWL

Apriana confetti

Stiff interfacing

Fusible fleece

Magnetic snap
I use Craft Fuse for my fusible interfacing. The fusible fleece is another added layer of support for the bag.I used 3/4 of a yard of each fabric and had a little left over.

The pattern

tie strap 1 tie strap 2 tie strap 3 tie strap 4 tie strap 5 tie strap 6 tie strap 7
There are seven PDF pages above that you can print on regular computer paper and tape together for the pattern. The letters mark where you need to connect pieces that span more than one page. NOTE: a few of the pattern pieces have errors written on them, so please refer to the instructions below for cutting your pieces. Sorry for the trouble.
Cut two of the bag sides for both the lining and the main fabric.Cut two of the straps for each the lining and the main fabric. *NOTE: the pattern piece has this written incorrectly.

Cut 1 of the bottoms for both the lining and the main fabric.

Cut 1 of the tabs for both the lining and the main fabric.

Cut 2 interfacing and fleece for the side pieces

Cut 1 interfacing and fleece for the bottom piece.

Cut 2 pocket pieces from each the main fabric and the lining fabric. *NOTE: the pattern piece has this written incorrectly.

1/2 inch seam allowances except where noted otherwise on pattern pieces.

The process

Choose one fabric to be your “main” fabric and the other to be your “lining,” even though the bag is reversible. The orange fabric is my lining. On the “main” fabric, iron the interfacing onto the wrong side and then on top of that, iron on your fleece. Shown to the left are the two side pieces and the bottom.
Make your pockets by placing right sides together and sewing almost all the way around. Leave a hole on the bottom so you can turn your pocket right-side out. After you sew, clip the corners and turn the pocket. Then press. When pressing, you’ll press the seam allowance for the hole closed. At left, you see the floral pocket is pressed nice and neat and the orange pocket isn’t. The openings for both are on the bottom edges.
Top stitch your pockets along the edge that doesn’t have the hole (left). Pin your pocket to a side piece, centering it. Sew down the sides and bottom. You’ll be sewing that turning hole closed when you do this.
Place the bag sides right sides together and sew down the side edges (left) and then press the seams open (right).
Repeat the above steps for the lining.
Now we’ll make the tab with the magnetic snap. Take the “main” fabric tab piece and insert the “male” magnetic snap. I have added a piece of interfacing to the back for support. I placed it about 1.5 inches from the bottom edge so that there’s room to sew. Place the back over the prongs.
Bend the prongs toward the center. (For more on magnetic snaps, see this tutorial.) Place the lining piece against this one, right-sides together. I like to draw a seam allowance on because sewing an even curve can be tricky sometimes (center). Then clip the curve without clipping the seam (right).
Turn your tab right-side out and top stitch (left). To attach your tab to the bag, place raw edges together at the top of the bag side and like fabrics facing each other. Sew along the top edge to secure (right).
Now you’ve got something like this for your “main” bag.
To add the bottom, fold the bag in half lengthwise and mark the center. Do the same the other way (left). The center points on the short edges will line up with the side seams. Find the center points of the bag sides and line them up with the center points on the bottom. Distribute any fullness and pin (right). Sew all the way around. Repeat this for the lining pieces, but leave a hole along one of the long, straight edges for turning.
Insert the “female” side of the magnetic snap into the lining.

Now let’s make the straps. Place two strap pieces of different fabrics right sides together and sew, leaving the small, straight edge open (left). Clip the point and trim the sides near the point (center). Turn, press and top stitch (right). See how there is a straight edge in the picture on the left? That’s where your strap goes. Pin the strap to the top of the bag with raw edges together and sew within the seam allowance to secure. Make sure like fabrics are facing. In this case, the orange should be facing OUT. You can see this demonstrated in the picture to the right. Also in that picture, I have inserted the “main” bag pieces into the “lining” pieces, with right sides together. Make sure the straps and snap tab are sandwiched between. Once you stuff the outer bag into the inner bag, line up the side seams and raw edges and pin. Sew all the way around. I like to sew on the interfaced side because it tends to feed more evenly. Pull the bag right-side out through this hole and smooth it. Pull the lining out. Fold in the seam allowances of the hole in the lining and stitch the hole closed. You can do this either by top-stitching along the edge of the hole or by slip-stitching by hand if you want it to be invisible. Then push the lining back inside the bag and complete the bag by top-stitching around the top, keeping the straps and snap tab free. You’re done!