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Mandarin-Themed Casual Suede Bag

This charming tote features designs from the One Color Mandarin Set. It's great for the occasions when you can dress down, and with the two roomy pockets, there is lots of space for all your stuff. The finished size of the bag is about 15" x 14" x 4".

You will need about 1 yard of polyester suede and about 1 yard of fabric for the lining, a 2" x 26" piece of sewing interfacing and bias tape (optional).


You will need to cut the following pieces out of both the suede and the lining:

  • 2 pieces measuring 13 1/2" x 16" - for the front and back panels,
  • 2 pieces measuring 13 1/2" x 4 1/2" - side panels,
  • 1 piece measuring 16" x 4 1/2" - bottom panel.

Out of just suede, cut

  • 2 pieces measuring 9 1/2" x 10 1/2" - for the outer pockets
  • 2 pieces measuring 3" x 26" - handles

Out of the fabric for the lining, cut

  • 2 pieces measuring 9" x 10" - outer pockets,
  • 2 pieces measuring 9 1/2" x 16" - inner pockets.

Out of interfacing, cut 2 strips measuring 1" x 26".

Outside Pockets with Embroidery:

Take the suede pieces measuring 9 1/2 "x 10 1/2". Stabilize the pieces with light-weight cut-away stabilizer and make the embroidery.

Trim the pieces to 9" x 10".

Take the 2 pieces of the lining measuring 9" x 10".

Sew the together the embroidered pieces along one long edge. Do the same for the lining pieces. Seam allowance is 1/4". Unfold and press the seams open.

Place the embroidered piece and the lining face to face. Align the edges. Sew the upper edges together. Unfold and press the seam.

Fold the lining back. Press. Finish the upper edge with bias tape. Alternatively, you can simply topstitch 1/4" from the edge.

Take the panel for the front of the bag (suede piece measuring 13 1/2" x 16"). Position the pockets over the panel, align the bottom edges, then align the side edges and pin in place.

With the excess fabric of the pockets make 2 pleats close to the central seam. Pin in place.

Position the suede bottom (strip measuring 16" x 4 1/2") over the front panel, face to face. Align the bottom edges of the two panels. Sew them together, with a seam allowance of 3/8". Stitch again with seam allowance 1/4". Unfold.

Position the back panel over the bottom panel, face to face, and align the bottom edges. Stitch together twice with seam allowance 3/8" and 1/4".

Position the side panels over the bottom in turn, align the edges, and stitch them together twice with seam allowance 3/8" and 1/4".
Your working piece will look like this:


Take the 3" x 26" strips. Fold in half legthwise, face outwards, and press. Insert an interface strip in the fold. Topstitch along the folded line 1/4" from the edge.

Tuck in the raw edges about 1/2" inside. Press. Pin. Topstitch 1/4" from the edge.

Pin the handles, as shown, to the upper edge of the front and back panels about 5" from the side seams. Topstitch in place 1/8" from the edge.

Inner pockets:

Fold each of the 9 1/2" x 16" pieces of lining fabric in half widthwise, face inwards.

Align the edges. Stitch the 2 side edges closed, stitch closed 2/3 (about 5") of the bottom edge. Seam allowance 1/4".

Turn the pockets out through the unstitched opening. Press all seams. Tuck the edges of the unstitched part inside and press.

The lining:

Sew the pockets to the front and back panels of the lining.

Sew the side panels to the bottom panels. Sew the front panel to the bottom panel.
Align the bottom panel and the lower edge of the back panel, pin in place. Stitch about 3"-4" from both sides. Leave about 6"-8" unstitched - this will be the opening through which you'll turn the bag right side out.

Assembly of the Bag:

Turn the lining right side inwards.

Position the outer bag in the lining. The lining and the outer bag should be face-to-face. Align all the panels, seams and edges.

Pin the upper edges together.

Stitch the outer bag and lining together 1/4" and 3/8" from the edge.

Turn the bag out through the opening in bottom of the lining. Stitch the opening closed.

The bag is ready. Enjoy!

Happy Stitching!

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