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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oversized Owl Bag Tutorial

Here are the instructions for making an owl bag, like the one from this gift set.
This tutorial is for personal and gifting use, please don't sell any that you make.
What you will need (I made this bag extra big, so adjust the fabric amounts according to the size you want to make):
  • 5/8 yard heavy weight fabric for outside of bag (I used canvas)
  • 5/8 yard fabric for lining
  • 1/4 yard fabric for owl's body
  • Coordinating scraps for owl details (eyes, beak, wings)
  • 1 1/4 yard Ribbon
  • Magnetic snap
  • Heat and Bond

Start by Creating a pattern. I simply drew the outline of an owl on brown craft paper. My pattern was approximately 15" wide by 22" tall (at the top points). Use your pattern to cut out two owl shapes from the lining fabric and one owl shape from the outer fabric. Next, you'll cut the pattern apart along the straight line across the owl's body. Use this to cut one top piece from the outer fabric and one bottom piece from the coordinating outer fabric. Next, cut the wings, eyes, and beak from the pattern paper. Use these to cut out the details from coordinating scraps. For the gusset (sides of the bag): Cut a 3 1/2" wide piece of fabric the length of the outer edge of the owl, starting from one top corner down around the bottom and back up to the top. I'm not sure how to better explain this step, but I took a piece of ribbon and laid it out around the large owl shape to get the length. You'll need one of these gusset pieces from the outer fabric and one from the lining fabric.

For the strap: cut a 5"x42" piece of outer fabric.

Attach heat and bond to back of wing pieces. Iron wing pieces onto owl body piece. Stitch around the edge. I used a simple straight stitch so that the edges will fray a bit and give a fun look. Sew top and bottom pieces together along straight edge (right sides together).Press seam open. Add the eyes and beak in the same manner as the wings. Sew the outer gusset piece to the front owl piece, right sides together. Once that is sewn, sew the gusset to the back outer piece in the same manner (right sides together). This step is much easier if you pin your fabric well. Turn the bag right-side-out: You're bag is taking shape! Next, sew the lining pieces to the gusset the same way you sewed the outside together, except REMEMBER TO LEAVE A HOLE at the bottom, to turn the bag right-side-out once the lining is sewn into the outer piece. Attach magnetic snaps to the center of the lining, 1 1/2" from top of lining. This is very easy, just follow the directions on the package.

Put the outside piece (right-side-out) inside the lining (inside-out). Sew the outside and the lining together all around the opening of the bag. Pull bag out through the hole in the bottom of the lining. Top stitch the hole in the lining closed, remembering to tuck in the raw edges. It helps to press it before sewing. Top stitch around bag opening. (This is where I forgot to keep taking pictures, sorry!)

Good work- You're almost done!

Make the strap: fold the 5"x42" piece of fabric in half length-wise. Fold in raw edges and press. Sew all 3 open edges closed. Sew ribbon to center of strap piece. Fold ends of strap under twice and center on the gusset, one side at a time and attach to bag, sewing in a rectangle, then an "x" in the rectangle. It's a good idea to either use a triple stitch, or go over this a few times to ensure that it's attached properly. I just realized this picture is sideways...sorry.

That's it! You're done!

If you make one, I would love to see a picture.


MM4ver said...

I love this bag! In this Step: "Start by Creating a pattern. I simply drew the outline of an owl on brown craft paper. Use your pattern to cut out two owl shapes from the lining fabric and one owl shape from the outer fabric." What size is the Owl pattern, width and hieght approximately.

Bethany said...

Megan: Thanks for the question, I totally forgot to include a size! I'm going to add that to the tutorial right now! The measurments are approximately 15" wide by 22" high at the top points.

marie*jolie said...

Oh my goodness! This is so darling. I love owls, and what a great idea to make a bag! I saw your lovely pattern on One Pretty Thing (just thought I'd tell you how I found you). Have a wonderful day, and thanks for sharing your tutorial.

Amy said...

I, too saw your owl bag on One Pretty Thing. What an adorable idea! My mind is running off with ideas of other animal faces ...... thanks for the inspiration!

seemownay said...

What a great inspiration. I guess I will try one with some adjustments that just came to my mind when reading. Thank you for sharing!

Brenda said...

This bag is soooo nice. I want to sew it, as soon as all my other projects are done. I saw it on One Pretty Thing, too. Can i post a picture of my bag (when its done:) on my blog with a link to your tutorial?

Brooke and Mike said...

Cute bag. It looks a whole lot like this one on etsy:

Bethany said...

Brenda: Please do post pictures and be sure to leave a comment on here letting me know when they're posted, I would LOVE to see yours!

MM4ver said...

I made the bag! I love it. Here is a link to my blog post, Thanks again for the awesome idea Bethany.

Katie said...

I can't wait to make this bag! Thankyou so much for this tutorial, I love owls! Normally most things I make are for my little boy- but this is definately for me!!!

jannypie said...

ahhh this is so cute! great job, i really love it!!

(and- i loved opening your blog and seeing one of my backgrounds!!!!)

jannypie said...

may i post a few of these photos on my blog, and link to yours? i'd love to share it! if so, email me at thanks!!

michellejohnnie said...

This is darling! I linked to it at

DIY Bag Lover said...

I have listed your wonderful tutorial in
Hope u dont mind =)

Care said...

holy smokes, i must make this!!

adding it to my list.....

thanks for the tutorial!!

casserole said...

This purse is so incredibly cute!! I want to make one now!!

I posted a link to your tutorial at Craft Gossip Sewing:

saffiertje said...

What a cutie!!! love the tutorial!!!

Emily said...

Wow! So cute!!! This is going on my "list of things to make". Thanks for visiting my blog too!!

I Purr-Furr to Craft said...

so very very cute
what a lovely bag

Gail :) said...

This is super cute!!! I just found your blog through Sewing Craft Gossip blog (I have no idea how I found that blog though... minutes before finding yours LOL)
I love your blog, I hope you don't mind that I add a link to your adorable owl bag on my blog :)

angelapea said...

Love It! Love It! Love It!

Can't wait to make one! In fact, i may make two, one to keep, one to share. Thank you for the tutorial.

Amy said...

I found you through traffic coming from your blog. I love this bag! I am adding this to my list of projects!

Becky DeVries said...

Thank you for this, LOVE It. Can't wait to make it!!

Zarinaia said...

Thank you for this wonderful tut!
I've linked your tut on my blog :

Eleonora, an Italian girl in Sweden

Annette said...

I'm planning to make this bag. I think it is wonderful.

I love your owl eyes. Is that fabric that has the yello lines? Is it embroidered? Please share your secrets with me!!

derekannette at gmail dot com

123 123 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emma! said...

Hi! Thanks so much for the tutorial - I just made one for a friend and can't wait to give it to her! I posted about it on my blog and linked back here - check it out if you would like to see a picture.

Schaumkrönchen said...

I have tried it!
I have changed it for myself a little.

Thank you so much for inspiration!

look there

glueckliche.hummel said...

Hey Bethany!

I like your bag a lot and the other day I made one for myself, too.I made a few additions though.
Do come over and let me know what you think of my version!

Thanks again for sharing.

star.originals.stuff said...

TOO cute - saw where someone had used your tutorial to make a bag over at wardrobe refashion... just HAD to check out the original :)

CountryGirl said...

I created a link on my blog this is soooooo cute

Jenny said...

Just finished mine and I love it! I've gotten lots of comments and I'm sending them your way for the tutorial. You can see how mine turned out at

Thanks so much for the instructions!

jujama said...

Thanks for the tutorial :) I've finished mine :)

Homer Family said...

I linked this post to my blog. What a cute bag.

Nicc79 said...

Great Bag Thanks for the Tut!!

Yoshi said...

The bag is so cute. I make similar ones, only mine are small coin purses and I use the closing flap as the beak (a triangle flap that folds over, lies between the eyes and the tip snaps the whole bag closed). Seeing your big bag makes me want to try a larger version (in which I will incorporate the appliqued wings instead of stitching the curved pieces together which is so finicky). I will post on my blog ( when I am done. Your blog is awesome!!!

Yoshi (libertunity from Swapbot)

Mindy said...

Cool project! I'm adding it to my to do list.

Claudia said...

Very cute pattern, great idea!Thanks for sharing, I must try to make one myself:)
Greetings from Berlin

crazypatch said...

So cute. I love owls... I posted about it on my blog and linked back here.
J'espère que cela ne vous ennuie pas, sinon dites le moi.... merci pour ce superbe sac

Sildenafil Citrate said...

This is impressive because I have a lot of bags at home but I had never seen those special designs, I'm gonna make one of them.

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woman said...

Good idea. Just perfect!

Elaine Z, said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! Your instructions were excellent and so easy to follow. I made one for my sister for her birthday. I made the strap adjustable following the directions at Sew Loquacious. I'm planning to shrink the pattern to make a little bag for me!

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Brilliant blog posting. I found your post very interesting; I think you are a brilliant writer. I added your blog to my bookmarks and will return in the future.

Elaine Z, said...

I just had to make this again! this one is mine, the Owl Bag, Jr.. It's only about 9" across. I can't wait to use it!

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Sharon Tries to Quilt said...

I can't stop thinking about this bag. Every time I see a messenger type bag? the owl purse. Owls? the owl purse? browns and greens? the owl purse. I think it's time I attempt to make the owl purse.

I already have enough matching fabrics to make a really cute (I hope) purse). Does it have to be heavy weight fabric though? Could I use quilt weight? (If that's the correct term)???

y8 said...

I linked this post to my blog. What a cute bag.

Haggle said...

This is impressive because I have a lot of bags at home but I had never seen those special designs, I'm gonna make one of them.

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Lydia said...

This pattern is AMAZING!! my mom LOVES owls so much! I am a beginner sewer, so I might need a little help...(was it hard to make? or fairly easy? on a beginner level like me...) Thanks SO SO much for the pattern! I will definitely be trying it out very soon! :)

Nilufer said...

I loved this bag. I'm making owl wallets now and I was thinking of making owl bags and this one certainly inspired me. Thanks for sharing.

creadientje said...

Thank you so much for your inspiration! I was a bit lazy and used this owl pillow pattern and think the bag turned out great!

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Michele Marriott said...

Your owl bag is adorable! I sell bags in my shop and I promise not to steal your idea. or sell the bags, but I'd like to make these for my friends for Christmas. I will add your site to the gifts. Too cute!

courtney said...

I love sewing bags and i love coming across cute projects like this!
My sons teacher loves owls so this looks like a great xmas present!
thank u!!

blueview said...

HI, Thanks for the tutorial. I made one today for my son's first grade teacher. His class is part of the "Owl Team." It turned out great. Thank you. I don't see how to share a photo with you.

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I made this bag and it turned out great! Thank you! It was my first bag... I would love to send you a photo but I have no idea how?

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