This bag was inspired by one of my favorite characters from the Japanese company San-X. They’re much like Sanrio in that they design adorable characters and market them with plush toys, stationery, accessories, you name it. They have a pair of piggies there called Monokuro Boo, which loosely translates to “monochrome pig,” except, you know, it’s said in that cutesy Japanese style ^w^
They’re called that because the two little pair of piggies are usually colored black and white. Their slogan is “Simple is best!” and their design follows that to a T; with simple hearts, clovers and other shapes that aren’t too gaudy. It’s minimalism in its cutest form, and though I’ve taken the piggies out of their black and white color scheme, I thought the fabrics I used to make this bag nicely reflected their simple aesthetic.
This teal fabric was leftover from a skirt I made waay back when, and with some scraps of brown faux suede, green twill, and khaki linen, the scheme made me think of fall farmer’s market shopping, or some other similar relaxing pastime. So I thought a bag that you could use to haul around your fresh shopping goodies seemed perfect ❤
Materials & Tools:
• ½ yd. of medium to heavy weight fabric for main bag – bottom and top section (denim or canvas would be perfect – I used a faux suede)
• ¼ yd. of medium to heavyweight contrast fabric for middle section (denim or canvas would be perfect – I used interfaced linen)
• ¼ yd. of medium to heavyweight contrast fabric for straps (denim or canvas would be perfect – I used faux suede)
• ⅔ yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used quilting cotton)
• Matching sewing thread
• Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, iron, needles, pins, fabric marker, seam ripper)
• Either complementing fabric paint for the pig and fruit embellishments OR:
• about 8 complementing 6” x 6” scraps of appliqué fabrics (cotton, felt, etc.)
• 18” x 18” piece of light or heavy duty fusible web
Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
• Pro tip! If you’d rather that your bag lining was all one piece of fabric, rather than 3 tiers, arrange your bag bottom, center, and top pieces together by matching up the corresponding notches. Then line up their stitching lines exactly, and tape them together like that. You can now use that as your lining pattern without having to piece the rows together as for the outside of the bag!
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern
1. All of my piggy embellishments were applied along the center of the bag, and for the best look, I sewed the center pieces into a ring first so the embellishments wouldn’t be interrupted by seams. Simply do this by sewing your bag center pieces along both short sides (with right sides facing) to create a ring. Press the seams open.
2. Now onto the piggies! You might choose to use the templates as freezer paper stencils and paint the piggies on following my stencil tutorial, but I personally appliquéd mine with some light fusible web and a zigzag stitch. I cut out 8 shapes total, a combination of pears, piggies, and apples in various complementing colors and laid them out in a random pattern around the middle ring of my bag. The pattern guidelines will give you an idea of how to place the pieces, but you can take as far as you like!
3. With the center of the bag in a ring, we’ll need to make the top and bottom sections of the bag into a ring as well in order to sew them on properly. Just like in step 1, take your bag top pieces and sew them together along the short edges (with right sides facing) to create a ring of fabric. Once again, press the seams open.
5. Now we have all the major components of the bag as a ring: top, center, and bottom. Next I lined up the bottom edge of the bag top with the top edge of the bag center. You’ll know you have it right when your single-notches line up. Make sure your side seams are also nicely lined up, then sew the two rings together.
6. Continuing on like the last step, we’re going to sew the bag bottom to the rest of the bag. Line up the bottom edge of your bag center with the top edge of your bag bottom. You’ll know you have it right when your double-notches line up. Make sure your side seams are also nicely lined up, then sew around the perimeter of the bag.
7. With the sides of your main bag already complete, that just leaves the bottom and the corners. Line up the raw edges of the bottom of your bag, then sew along the entire edge. Press the seam you just made open. Ignore the corners for the time being, as we’ll be sewing those next.
8. Fold the corners of the bag at a 45˚ angle so the seam from the bottom of your bag and the side match up. The raw edges from the corners of your bag should now line up nicely. Sew along this slightly curved edge and this will create some depth to your bag 😀 Now the main body of your bag is complete, all that’s left is the lining and handles.
With that said, now you’ll want to go back to steps 1, then 3-8 and repeat these with your lining pieces. However, be sure that in step 7 you leave an opening in your lining as indicated by the pattern guidelines.
9. Now we’re in the home stretch! With your bag lining complete, you can sew the two together. Nestle your outer bag into your lining with right sides together, then sew along the top edge, going all the way around the perimeter.
Once you finish, turn the bag right side out from the opening in the bottom of your lining. Flatten out the top edge of your bag as neatly as possible, then iron it nice and flat so it looks crisp.
11. Up last is the straps! These are sewn separately then added to the outside of the bag for a nice contrasting look. For this you’ll want to take one of your strap pieces and fold it in half with right sides facing. Sew it along the stitching lines, being sure to leave an opening in the side for turning it right side out. Repeat this for the other strap piece.
When you finish, trim the seam allowances at the curves to make turning easier, then turn the both straps right side out from the opening. Tuck under the seam allowances from the opening back into the inside of the strap, then iron the both straps nice and flat and crisp.
12. While the straps are looking crisp, you’ll want to do an edge stitch around the perimeter of the strap. This will close up the opening that you left to turn the strap right side out earlier. Repeat this with the remaining strap.
13. To finally get those straps on your bag, line up the end of one strap along the front top edge of the bag where the pattern guidelines indicate. Sew around the perimeter of this little overlap area, which will anchor the strap in place. Repeat this with the other end of the strap and the other placement guideline on the front of the bag. Then repeat the whole thing again with the other strap on the back of the bag.
I just love the way the colors came together in this bag, but I can really see lots of other color schemes working well, like a cool blue and purple scheme perhaps?
What do you think? Have you ever heard of San-X or have any favorite characters? Let me know in the comments!
And if you do try making the project, I’d love to see it! And I’ll send you exclusive free patterns as a reward!