The Pearlies of London would love this little evening bag. (These legendary costermongers -- now entertainers -- still dress in clothing embellished in pearl buttons; check at your local library or research them on the Internet). The bag is the perfect size for only the necessary items you might need for an evening out.
7 x 8 inches, excluding the handles
3/8 yard silk dupioni or other fabric for bag body
3/8 yard lining
3/8 yard light- to medium-weight fusible weft-insertion interfacing
All-purpose thread to match fabrics
9 x 10-inch piece of pattern tracing paper or cloth
Air-or water-soluble marking pen
Assorted white shell buttons, 1/4-3/4 inch in diameter
2 bangle bracelets (approximately 1/4 inch thick) for bag handles
Point turner for pressing
Basic sewing tools and equipment
Use 1/4-inch-wide seam allowances throughout.
Cut a 9 x 20-inch piece of interfacing and fuse to the wrong side of the bag fabric following the manufacturer's directions.
Enlarge the bag pattern (Figure 1) on pattern tracing paper or cloth and cut out. Use the pattern to cut two bag pieces each from the interfaced fabric and the lining. Cut one bag shape from the remaining interfacing and apply to the interfaced side of one of the bag pieces (bag back) so it has a double layer of interfacing.
From the remaining uninterfaced bag fabric, cut two 1 1/4 x 22-inch strips for wrapping the bangles.
On each bag and lining piece, machine-stitch a scant 1/4 inch from the raw edges, beginning at the upper edge and continuing for a total of 5 inches from the upper edge (Figure 2).
With right sides together, sew a lining piece to each bag piece, ending the stitching 3 3/8 inches from the upper edge on each side. Clip the seam allowance at the end of the stitching (Figure 3). Slip the pieces over a point turner and press the seams open.
With right sides together, pin the bag pieces together and the lining pieces together. Stitch the pieces together (Figure 4). Turn right side out through the opening at the upper edge of the bag. Press as needed. Stitch the lining to the bag a scant 1/4 inch from each upper raw edge.
Arrange and sew the buttons to the bag front. Allow as little or as much of the bag fabric to show around the buttons and sew them in place through the bag layer only -- not the lining. Buttons must end 1 1/2 inches from the unfinished upper edge of the bag front (Figure 5).
Turn under and press 1/4 inch at each long edge of the fabric strips for the handles. Use the strips to wrap each bangle with fabric, overlapping the strips at an angle as you wrap. Cut away any excess strip and sew (or glue) the strip end in place.
Turn under and press 1/4 inch at each upper edge of the bag, using the stitching as a guide. With the raw end of the strip on the wrapped bangle toward the bottom of the bag, wrap the bag edge over a bangle and slipstitch the inner edge securely in place (Figure 6). Repeat with the remaining handle.
For an entirely different look, use hot-fix jewels or crystals to embellish a printed cotton bag. You can embellish both sides of the bag with these lightweight jewels. Use decorative bangle bracelets for the handles instead of wrapping bangles with fabric.
For a larger bag, enlarge the pattern as desired and use readymade handles. Another option for a handle on larger bags is to wrap embroidery hoops with fabric strips or ribbon as shown for the "Pearlie" bag.