I have a thing about charm squares. I love to buy them because you can get a sampling of all fabrics in a line for less than $10, and they’re all so pretty cut up in perfect little squares. But using them… that’s another story. My OCD doesn’t like me to break apart my perfect little set!
Recently I picked up a pretty little pack of charm squares from the Marquesas line by Dena Designs. I was determined THIS TIME to actually use my charm squares, not just save them for posterity in a perfect little bundle. (Upon writing this post, I have discovered that this line is now discontinued. I’m glad I didn’t know that before I started this project, or I would never have broken up the set!)
As soon as I got them home, I broken apart the bundle and started playing with the squares, arranging them one next to the other to see which combinations I liked best. And as I played with the squares, they started forming themselves into a tote bag in my mind.
And so here is my Charm Square Satchel Bag!
The front and back are made with a patchwork of charm squares (or 5” squares cut from your scrap stash), and finished out with a home décor weight canvas. I added a flap and a swivel hook/D-ring closure to give it more of a satchel feel. I kept the flap short, though, because I wanted all that pretty patchwork to show.
There’s something about a satchel bag that makes me feel like I’m about to get some business done, know what I mean? Okay, I might be the only one. But I think the satchel flap and closure is a fun twist on a basic tote.
If you’re wanting to make your own satchel tote, I’ve got a tutorial below showing how.
Fabric & Supplies
16 5” squares of cotton prints (use charm squares or raid your scrap bin)
From a canvas or home dec weight fabric:
–2 pieces 18.5” x 5”
–2 pieces 18.5” x 1.75”
–2 pieces 4” x 30” (shoulder straps)
–1 piece 4” x 3” (swivel hook strap)
–1 piece 4” x 7.25”(D-ring strap)
–2 pieces 10.5” x 5” (flap)
Quilting weight cotton (lining) – 2 pieces 18.5” x 15.5”
Fusible interfacing – 2 pieces 18.5” x 9.5”
1 swivel hook
Make the straps
Press shoulder strap, swivel hook strap, and D-ring strap pieces in half lengthwise, then open up and fold long edges to the center and press again.
Top stitch close to the edge down sides of the straps.
Make the bag front and back
Sew the 5” squares together using a ¼” seam allowance into two panels, each one 4 squares wide x 2 squares tall.
Fuse interfacing to the back of your patchwork panel.
Zig zag stitch across one short end of the D-ring strap to control fraying. Thread the D-ring on to that end. Fold the end of the strap to the back 1.25” to hold the D-ring. Stitch across to secure.
Center the D-ring strap on to the right side of one of the patchwork panels, with the raw edge of the strap aligned with the bottom edge of the patchwork panel. Stitch in place directly over the edge stitching on the strap. This is the front of the bag.
Sew the 18.5” x 1.75” canvas piece to the top of each patchwork panel, right sides together with a ¼” seam allowance.
Sew the 18.5” x 5” canvas piece to the bottom of each patchwork panel, right sides together with a ¼” seam allowance.
Make the flap
Thread the swivel hook strap through the swivel hook, folding in half so raw edges are aligned.
Baste the swivel hook strap to the center bottom of one of the flap pieces, raw edges aligned and right sides together.
Place the remaining flap piece on top, right sides together. Sew around the sides and bottom with a ½” seam allowance.
Clip curves and turn right side out. Top stitch close to sewn edges.
Make the lining
Sew the lining pieces together at the sides and bottom, right sides together and with a ½” seam allowance. Leave 3-4” open on the bottom seam so you can turn the bag right side out later.
Box the corners to create a 3” bottom. If you haven’t boxed corners before, here’s a good tutorial showing two easy methods. If you want to use the method that has you cut squares from the corners, you’ll need to cut 1.5” squares to get a 3” boxed bottom.
Assemble the bag
Center the bag flap across the top of the bag back, right sides together. Baste in place with a ¼” seam allowance.
Baste the ends of the straps to the top of the of the bag front and back pieces 3” from the sides, right sides together and raw edges aligned using a ¼” seam allowance. On the bag back, the flap should fit just inside the straps.
Sew the bag front to the bag back, right sides together and with a ½” seam allowance.
Box the corners to create a 3” bottom.
Place the bag inside the lining, right sides together. Sew around the top with a ½” seam allowance.
Turn right side out.
Topstitch around the top close to the edge.
Use a ladder stitch to close the hole in the bottom of the lining.