A couple of months ago I was tempted to buy a simple bucket bag at the store. They have been popping up everywhere I shop, and are in many of the on-trend outfit compilations I love. I did think, however, that the bags I like would be fairly easy and fairly inexpensive to make. So I started fiddling around with a pattern and came up with the Fairly Bucket Bag. It is a fun, Fairly simple patten. Yes, it requires some hardware, but trust me, it is No Big Deal!

The bag has an adjustable strap, so it can be worn as a shoulder bag, or as a cross-body bag. I’ve been using mine for few weeks now and find myself adjusting the length of the strap Fairly regularly.

Although I provide the dimensions for only one size, you can easily scale this down or up. I think it would be great as an over-night bag, which could Fairly easily be accomplished by adding only a few inches to the dimensions. Book bag, diaper bag, dance bag, toy bag…it can Fairly well be anything!

The instructions show you how to make an interior zippered welt pocket, which is Fairly simple.

So far my tween and I think this is a Fairly great bag for Autumn. It’s just the right size to meet your needs for the the fluctuating weather, as it perfectly accommodates a sweater, water bottle, and sunglasses, as well as snacks, phone, and wallet!

Gather Supplies and Tools

  • 1/2 yard exterior fabric I used cotton/linen canvas, but you can use quilt-weight cotton if you want. If you are worried that it won’t be sturdy enough, use a light-weight fusible interfacing on the exterior pieces. I like Pellon SF-101.
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric Again, I used cotton/linen canvas, but quilt-weight cotton will work.
  • 1/2 yard interlining fabric This can be denim, canvas or duck cloth. I like something sturdy, but not too stiff. It goes in between the layers to add heft and strength to the bag.
  • 1/4 yard pocket lining fabric Quilt-weight cotton will do.
  • Scrap light or medium weight interfacing Cut to 3″ x 9″. I like Pellon SF-101.
  • One 7″ zipper
  • Twelve* large eyelet sets The ones pictured here are eyelets from Pacific Trimming. I have also used the Dritz 1/4″ eyelets that you can get at sewing and craft stores. Sometimes they are called small grommets. Large eyelets/small grommets. *You need 12 for the bag, but I strongly recommend getting  a few extras for practicing.
  • Two 1.5″ O-rings You could use D-rings if you prefer. You can get either at craft stores, fabric stores, Home Depot, Etsy, or Pacific Trimming.
  • One 1″ metal slide adjuster It can be slightly bigger, but it needs to fit the width of the webbing you get for the strap. Not so easy to find in stores, but readily available on Etsy and Pacific Trimming.
  • Two yards 1″ webbing I like the 100% cotton kind, but you can use nylon, poly or a blend.  Sometimes called “strapping” or “belting”. Available at craft stores and lots of shops online, including Etsy and Pacific Trimming. You can use wider webbing, but make sure it fits your slider and your O-rings.
  • 1.5 yards braided cord I like cotton, but you can use poly. Even paracord will work, which you can find everywhere these days (there is probably some in your kid’s room.)  It needs to fit loosely through your eyelets.
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Scissors, pins, seam ripper
  • Double-sided sewing tape or glue stick
  • X-acto knife (I forgot to put this in my glamour shot of supplies, but I used my superior Photoshopping skillz to seamlessly add it to the picture.)
  • Eyelet tool with hammer and board, or eyelet/grommet pliers The tool needs to match the size of the eyelets you use. I like the inexpensive Dritz tool that comes with the eyelet set better than the pliers, but pliers work too.
  • Pocket Template (print this PDF)

Cut Fabrics

  • Cut  2 each of the exterior fabric, interlining, and lining fabric to 17″ x 17″.
  • Cut a 3″ x 3″ square out of the bottom corners of the exterior, interlining, and lining fabrics. (Save these squares for grommet practice!)
  • Cut the interfacing to 3″ x 9″.
  • Cut the pocket lining to 9″ w x 17″ h.

Cut Webbing

  • Cut 2 pieces 5″ each for the O-ring loops
  • Cut 1 piece 3″ for the cord stop
  • Cut 1 piece 1.5 yards for the strap
  • Save the 5″ remnant as a backup

Mark  the Eyelet Placement

On the two exterior pieces, use tailor’s chalk or a water soluble pen to mark a line 2″ down from the top. (I’m using a Frixion pen in this photo, which is a mistake. You will be ironing this piece in a later step, in which case the Frixion ink would disappear!) You will need 6 eyelets on both the front and the back pieces. Mark the placement on the line:

side edge|| 1.625″   *  2.75″  *  2.75″  *  2.75″  *  2.75″  *  2.75″  *  1.625″ ||side edge

(The asterisks represent the eyelet placement. 1.625= 1  5/8 and 2.75= 2 3/4)

Prepare the Lining for  the Pocket

On the wrong side of one of the lining pieces, center the long top edge of the interfacing 2.5″ down from the top. Fuse with an iron. (This will reinforce the pocket opening.) (This step is not shown in the image.)

On the right side of the same  lining piece, use the Pocket Template to transfer the four corners of the pocket shape. Center the long top edge of the pocket 3.75″ down from the top. Use a water soluble pen to poke through the paper and mark the corners, or use tracing paper.

Prepare the Pocket Lining

Transfer the complete shape of the Pocket Template to the WRONG side of the pocket lining.  Center the long top edge of the pocket opening 1″ down from the top (the 9″ edge.)  Use a water soluble pen and a ruler to copy the shape, or tracing paper to transfer it.

Position the Pocket Lining on the Bag Lining

To align the pocket lining with the marks on the bag lining, stick a straight pin through the top corners of the welt pocket shape on the pocket lining, and then through the corresponding marks on the bag lining. Bring the fabrics together along the pins. When the pocket lining is in place, remove these pins and pin the pocket lining in place.

Sew and Cut the Welt Pocket Shape

Sew along the four sides of the pocket opening shape. Take care to make sure the corners are sharp and the two short ends are the same size.

Using a pair of small, sharp scissors, cut along the center line and the diagonal lines to the corners. Don’t cut over your stitches, but get as close as possible.

Press the Pocket Opening

Push the pocket lining fabric through to the wrong side of the bag lining. Press the pocket opening straight and flat.

Prepare the Zipper

Prepare the zipper by putting double-sided sewing tape along the top and bottom edges.  A sewing glue stick, or even a classroom glue stick will also work.

Place the zipper right-side-up on your work surface and center the pocket opening over the zipper. When the zipper is aligned, finger press it into place.

Sew the Zipper to the Lining

Using a zipper foot, sew close to the edge around the four sides of the pocket opening to secure the zipper to the bag lining.

Close the Pocket Lining

On the wrong side of the bag lining fold the pocket lining in half vertically. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew along the three open sides. Make sure to keep the pocket lining away from the bag lining as you sew.

Construct the Bag Lining

Place the two pieces of the bag lining right sides together. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew along the two sides and the bottom. Press the seams open.

Box the Bottom of the Lining

To box the bottom of the bag lining, pull the bag open at one of the bottom notches. Match the side seam with the bottom seam and pin. Sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat with the other corner.

Sew the Exterior and Interlining Together

To construct the bag exterior, layer the two exterior fabrics between the interlining pieces with right sides together. With a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew along the sides and the bottom then press the seams open.

Box the bottom of the exterior as you did the lining.

Make the O-Ring Loops

Take your two 5″ pieces of webbing. Loop each piece through an O-ring. Sew two rows of stitches to secure the ring in the loop.

Make the Strap

Take one of the ends of the long strap and put it through the slide adjuster. Fold the end under 1″ and sew in place with two rows of stitches.

Take the other end of the strap and put it through one of the O-rings, then thread the end through the slide adjuster.

Put the end of the strap through the other O-ring. Fold the end under approximately 1″ and secure with 2 rows of stitches.

Make sure the strap is untwisted before proceeding.

Attach the Strap to the Bag Exterior

Turn the bag exterior right side out. Pin the unfinished ends of the O-ring loops to the raw edge of the bag exterior at the side seams.

Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew the loops to the bag exterior. Make sure the stitches are secure.

Sew the Bag Lining to the Bag Exterior

Turn the bag exterior wrong-side out with the bag strap inside the bag.  Turn the lining right-side out and place it inside the bag exterior, with ride sides together. Match the side seams and top unfinished edge and pin. With a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew along the top edge, leaving a 5″ opening for turning the bag.

Edge Stitch Around the Top

Turn the bag right-side out through the opening. Straighten and press the top edge of the bag, making sure to tuck the seam allowance in at the opening. Edge stitch around the top of the bag. At this point, you actually have a usable bag, but let’s do this eyelet thing–you won’t regret it.

Cut the Holes for the Eyelets

(Remember the little 3″ squares you cut earlier? Use them to practice before you try it on your bag.) Using your Exacto Knife, cut through all three layers of the fabric at the eyelet placement marks. Try to make an X to start, then carefully cut through enough thread to make a hole big enough to fit the inside edge of the eyelet. Unfortunately, this is an imprecise science, which is why you should practice first. 

Use a pair of small scissors to cut the threads out of the hole.

Set the Eyelet

Insert the eyelet (the larger piece) into the bag from the exterior. The washer goes on the inside. Secure using the instructions for your setting tool or pliers. (Again, a good reason to practice, but it’s easy. Don’t fret.)

Make the Cord Stop

This little sliding loop will allow you to easily cinch the cord on your bag and prevent the ends from pulling through. To make it,  (1) take your 3″ piece of webbing. (2) Fold it in half and sew the ends using a 3/8″ seam allowance. (3)Turn the loop right side out and finger press the seam allowance open. (4) Stitch up the middle, creating 2 channels for the cord. (I used contrasting thread for this demonstration, but used matching thread in the actual project.)

Prepare the Cord Ends

Create temporary aglets for the cord by tightly wrapping pieces of clear tape around the ends. This will make it easier to push the cord through the eyelets and the cord stop.

Thread the Cord Through the Eyelets

Take one end of the cord and thread it through all the eyelets. The two ends should come out the same side in adjacent eyelets.

Push the ends of the cord through the cord stop, cut to your preferred length,  knot the ends, And. You. Are. Done!


I had such a good experience shopping with Pacific Trimming, I reached out to them to tell them how much I like their products. They generously provided us with a set of the hardware I use in this tutorial for a giveaway. (See above for the links to each of the products.) Comment below for a chance to win 2 O-rings, one metal slider, and 15 eyelet sets, all in the antique brass finish.  We’ll choose a winner on 9/30/14.

Pacific Trimming would also like to offer our readers a discount! Use the code SewMamaSew  for 10% off (excluding RIRI Zippers.)