Big Ass Purse

I say tote, you say purse.  In either case, I am prepping for snagging loot at the International Quilt Festival in Houston next week, and Reggie Watts is a genius.

I went with the Cosmo bag from Amy Butler’s Style Stitches book (note that it is called a bag, to avoid controversy amongst the factions of purse carriers and tote carriers).

I picked the bag for it’s shape.  My first choice was the fringed hobo bag, but the opening isn’t very big and I don’t want to be limited in what or how much I can cram in it.   I do like a nice looking bag, but it has to work for multiple purposes.

So, back to the bag.  I was under-employed last week so a) I was not spending money and b) I was NOT leaving the house unless someone was paying me.  So, that meant that I had to use supplies that could be found in the house.  The roommate hooked me up with fabric.  I managed to make this bag with remnants that were 1 yd 10 inch cuts.  I didn’t have peltex, nor did I have a lot of interfacing.  I also wanted to make the bag reversible.  What I did have was a ton of denim left over from when I was teaching my jeans class.  DONE!  I cut out 2 bag outers from the cotton prints,  I cut the lining out of the denim.  I used a heavyweight woven interfacing for the pockets.  I also added a short side pocket for my phone on one side of the bag.  I skipped the interior pocket.

Pattern layout challenge. Can this bag be made with 1 yd 10 inches of fabric?


I “followed” the instructions to pleat the bag fronts, then I basted  the straps and the curved bit to the denim.    After the curved bit was attached to the main piece, I basted it to the lining denim.  I assembled the pockets then basted everything to the side panel denim.  From there, I finished assembling the two outers treating the one that wasn’t basted to denim as the lining.  When you get to the part where you attached the bottom panel, leave an opening along the long edge that is big enough to get your hand in there.

Now for the mildly tricky part.   I put the outer bag inside the lining bag with right sides together, then stitched around the top and handles.  Then I turned the bag through the hole in the lining.  Next I used the hole in the lining to sew the inner handle.  It’s tricky, but it can be done (in comparison to what surgeons can do through a person’s navel, this is a cake walk).  Just reach through the hole, start with an end of the center curved piece and pull both the lining and outer out so you can match them with right sides together. Since the straps are wide enough, you can actually turn the handle enough to sew past the center seam of the strap.  When you can’t sew any further, go back to the curved piece and sew from the other side.

Pro Tips:

  • I use an open toe quarter inch foot to top stitch.  By using the inner edge of my foot as a guide, I get a nice 1/8th inch seam.
  • You should clip the  inner handle curves, or trim the seam allowances as you go.  It’s tricky to turn the bag handles, you don’t want to do it more than once.


  • Reversible
  • No inner main pocket, Side pockets on the interior and exterior with a bonus cell phone sized pocket.
  • Button closure  is a strip of fabric with a curved end and a buttonhole.
  • Denim “lining” instead of peltex.

I need to make a smaller purse  (aka clutch) to go inside this bag for a wallet and smaller things. This bag was meant for looting, it’s not super functional as a purse.