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Peacock Hand Bag with Machine Embroidery

For this hand bag we used the machine embroidery designs, Peacock Set, in the cross-stitch technique. The designs are one-color, and you can embroider them in any color that you find attractive. We embroidered them with variegated threads and liked the results.
Either side of the bag can be its front or back.
The finished size of the bag is 10" (Height) x 15" (Length) x 5" (Width). You will need  two 20" x 15" pieces of  fabric for the outside of the bag,  two 20" x 13" pieces of Pellon Peltex 70 (or 71) interfacing to give the bag shape and two 20" x 15" pieces of fabric for the lining.  You will also need a pair of ready-made handles, and sewing and embroidery threads. 
We used polyester suede for the outside of the bag and 100% cotton fabric for the lining.
Step One: Lay the fabric rectangles for the bag on top of the Pellon Peltex 70 rectangles. Match the lower and side edges; fold the upper edge of the fabric over the Pellon Peltex. Pin or baste the layers together along the edges so that they do not shift.  Mark the spot for the embroidery. Embroider. Press.
Step Two: Mark  2 1/2" squares in the corners on the bottom side of each rectangle and cut them out. Do not discard these squares, as you'll need them later to make straps for handles.
Step Three: Place both halves of the bag right side to right side. Stitch the pieces together along the bottom edge, leave 1/2" of seam allowance. Press the seam open and topstitch 1/4" on each side of the seam.
Step Four: Put the right sides together again and stitch the pieces along the two side edges, leaving 1/2" seam allowance. Press the seams open.
Step Five: Now pinch each corner so that the end of the side seam matches with the end of the bottom seam (see the diagram below; the ends of the side seams and the ends of the bottom seams are marked in read). Pin. Stitch through all the layers across the bottoms of the corners (see the last picture in the diagram below). This will square the bottom of the bag. Now you can turn the bag right side out.
Step Six: To make the lining, repeat steps two to five with the lining fabric.
Step Seven: Place the lining bag into the outer bag. Match the side seams. Fold the upper raw edge of the lining inside. Pin along all the edges.
Step Eight: To add handles, mark their position first. Then take the fabric squares left from step two. Fold both edges back 1/2" to the wrong side, then fold again. Stitch along all the edges. You'll get four 1/2" x 2 1/2" pieces. Place one edge of the piece between the outer bag and the lining, pin. Thread the free end through the handle, form a loop and pin in place. Repeat, to secure both handles at all four points.
Step Nine: Machine stitch through all layers along the upper edge of the bag. With this stitch, you'll secure the handles in place and attach the lining to the bag.
To make the bag look smaller and more elegant, tuck the sides inside and stitch 1"-2" along the sides to secure in place.
Now you can decorate your bag as you wish. You can add hot-fix crystals...
... a trim...
... or any other embellishments you like.
We hope that you like our idea and will come up with many of your own.
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