Gerbera Bag

Never has a bag been slammed together with so little idea of what was going on…

A while ago, I bought a pack of fabrics on impulse.  I’ve always been a sucker for the black/brights combination, and this one yelled loudly from several metres away that it wanted to come home with me. And it was on special, so I buckled. No plan for it, no real idea how much was in the pack, just ‘oooh-pretty-buy’!

When I got it home I unfolded some quite small and not very usefully shaped pieces. There was a 14″ WoF piece, the main outer fabric of the bag. The other 6 were 10″ WoF pieces. So, not enough to make anything with, except perhaps a bag. So that’s what I did. Once I’d decided which fabric would go where, I went and bought some bright pink webbing for the handles and I already had a couple of pink zips the right size.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.46.47 pmI launched in without a plan, and made it up as I went along. First, I made a padded, quilted rectangular outer base, and sewed this to the bag sides, which I stiffened with heavy duty interfacing. The only side seam falls in the centre back of the back, black to black, where it doesn’t show. Then I cut three different fabrics into strips to make the lining, and sewed them together offset for a bit of interest. I made a fully lined zippered pocket for the inside, which I stitched on round the sides and bottom only, so it formed another open top pocket behind the zippered section. Then I made a stiff base for the inside by glueing fabric to a stiff vinyl sheet (the sort you get inside those reusable green shopping bags from supermarkets).

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.47.45 pm Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.47.16 pmI made a button loop, sewed on a button, attached the handles, and then it was time to put in the lining and bind the top edge. Under the inner edge of the binding I attached a cord made from scrap, with a ring at the end, onto which I can clip my keys, which are on a carabiner. It’ll save me cursing and rummaging in the very bottom of my handbag every single time I want my keys. Next to that I sewed in one of my new ‘Made by Kate Chiconi’ labels, very swanky, hemmed down the inner edge of the binding, and that was the bag done.

I still had a couple of scraps and another spare zipper, so I made myself a little pouch for comb, hankie, lip salve, etc. That’s it!  I have one piece of fabric left, a 10″ x 2.5″ strip of the pink binding. Every single other piece was used up. So it wasn’t a waste of money, I had fun working everything out, and now I have a handy bag/tote for hauling round the rat’s nest which is the contents of my handbag.

The fabric range is Fun Flower Charmers by Holly Holderman from Lakehouse Drygoods. And yes, it is very, very bright.


42 thoughts on “Gerbera Bag

  1. Now that (thank goodness) stores are charging for plastic bags, more and more people are taking their own fabric bags shopping. Your design could grow itself into a shopping bag and the zip pocket (great tip for attaching btw) could hold the essentials – purse, checque book etc – obviating the need to take a handbag as well. You are an inspiration to me!

  2. tialys says:

    What a great use of small pieces of fabric – very enterprising of you! I hear you about the keys. My daughter bought me a sort of metal key ring that has a hook on one end which sits over the edge of your bag so you don’t have to rummage but, every time Mr. T. borrowed my keys he would huff and puff and take all the ‘crap’ as he calls it, off the keys and put it to one side and now I can’t find it and, as a result, am always rummaging for them.
    I like your swanky labels.

    • katechiconi says:

      Mine rummages for my keys too… In fact, he’s doing it as I write, and yes, unclipping the car key from the rest, and I’m willing to bet I’ll have to hunt for them later! The labels are nice, aren’t they? I ordered them from here:, and they only took 10 days and were $38 for 50, which should see me set for a good few years, I reckon!

  3. knettycraft says:

    What a wonderful bag! For a bag this colurful fabric is perfect. And how clever you added the inside case and the keytape.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s very, very bright, isn’t it? Well, at least it will be hard to lose! I’m pleased with the solution for the keys, and am tempted to add something similar to other handbags.

  4. I love it – and the colours are wonderful.

    • katechiconi says:

      They work very well with my summer wardrobe – lots of hot pink, some green, some orange… What I’m particularly loving is how much space there is inside!

  5. EllaDee says:

    Licorice Allsorts colors! All the necessaries, pockets with and without zips, key clip and pouch for bits ‘n pieces too. I don’t know how people do with tiny little ‘show’ handbags. Once again I’m impressed by your talents 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      I so don’t do teeny weeny handbags with badges and high price tickets. Anything I can’t cram a sewing kit, camera, kindle and notebook into just doesn’t cut it!

  6. Kirsten says:

    You won’t lose that one (hopefully)! It is very bright – and happy!

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s not a serious bag, but it is fun and best of all, it holds *loads* of stuff. Plus, it was something to make from fabric I couldn’t think of another use for!

  7. Linne says:

    Love this! I was thinking that the final bit might b e folded and reinforced, then sewn into a wee change purse, to carry those coins we need often (here we need a 25 cent piece or a $1 piece to free a shopping cart at the store. Then there’s parking meters, etc. If it were mine, I’d attach another cord and ring at the far end of the purse, then add a carabiner to the coin purse (or a ring to the coin purse and a cord/carabiner to the large purse. Anyway, it’s genius as it is. ~ Linne

    • katechiconi says:

      You know, I almost never carry change because I just don’t use it any more – our shopping carts don’t need coins. So it never occurred to me, but you’re right, something could be made from the last scrap. I shall think on it… I like the idea of using every last piece.

  8. well, it is a beauty !!! and handy and all !

  9. lucyannluna says:

    Beautiful fabric & what a fantastic bag

  10. Lorij says:

    Kate, your bag is lovely! I love color and the brighter the better. I’ve never made a zippered bag of any kind, I’m going to have a go at one soon.
    While reading some of your old post, I saw a recipe for banana nut bread I don’t like bananas but I wonder if zucchini bread could be made from the recipe.

    • katechiconi says:

      I have a recipe for a lovely light lime zucchini sponge cake, or a recipe for gingerbread very similar to the banana bread. Would you like me to email you those? I don’t believe banana bread would taste very exciting made with zucchini….

      • Lorij says:

        The gingerbread one. Here we make zucchini bread with nuts and I have put raisins in it too. I’m at my daughter’s and my recipe is at home in another state. The banana bread recipe sort of sounded like it.

  11. You should make all of your bags without a plan if they turn out this well. I adore all things hot pink.
    I know the feeling of buying fabric on a whim just because it is pretty. Unicorns followed me home this week. Worse: they were PURPLE unicorns, and I am not a purple fan, but the fabric was too cute.
    You actually use the pockets and clippy things in your bags? I have good intentions but end up following the gravity-followed-by-ten-minutes-of-rummaging-and-cursing method.

    • katechiconi says:

      I like to think I’d have drawn the line at purple unicorns, but I can’t be sure… I absolutely do use the clippy string thing for my keys, and have become a total convert. It makes life so much easier. Locate the top end, yank on the orange string and voilà, the keys appear by magic. The pockets are for my phone and sunglasses, and also get used. Who knows, this could be the start of me actually having an organised handbag instead of a rat’s nest.

  12. Sweet bag! I am forever losing mine. Big, small, it doesn’t matter. One like this would certainly be visible. Might have to have a go at it, might need a plan, though, couldn’t wing it like you did so beautifully.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s basically a wide tube with a padded rectangle sewn to the bottom, another tube inside it with a separate base, a pair of handles and a bound top edge. Oh, and a pocket and a couple of fandangles sewn inside. The thing itself isn’t hard, it’s doing all the bits in the right order that’s the tricky part! I can write some more detailed instructions for making one if you like…?

  13. it’s so bright it must glow in the dark, surely? what a bonus 🙂

  14. Gorgeous! I’d use this bag for knitting or crochet 🙂 I’ve had a good giggle at all you ladies with handbag problems. Solution….don’t use one. It’s amazing what you don’t need to carry when you don’t have a bag. Several things come to mind like OH’s bottle of water, his keys, his wallet, his cap. He couldn’t put them in my bag so he started to carry a small back back. Bingo! Now he carries my things LOL.

  15. rutigt says:

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

  16. This is gorgeous!

    I’ve become something of a bag lady. I tote around fabric bags for shopping and, when going to a friends for the day, a bag with projects and things to show her and other amusements. I also store things in my office in bags, such as reference materials for different projects in different bags. Better than teetering stacks on the desk (although I’ve got those too).

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m with you there! I have bags for electrical cords and cables, bags for useful sheets of paper and card, bags for X-rays, bags for scraps of ribbon and tape, a tall bag for wrapping paper rolls… I have hooks on the backs of doors for various favourite handbags, and of course, the trusty squished up shopping bag in its little pouch, which lives in my handbag and gets whipped out at the smallest provocation…

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