Make a Lovely Crazy Patchwork Pouch

Make a Lovely Crazy Patchwork Pouch

This simple drawstring bag has a hidden secret: it looks authentically Victorian from the outside with its pretty patches in silks, velvets, and prints but the lining has a zipped pocket for 21st-century essentials. As a participant at historical festivals, it holds my car keys and camera while time traveling! The theme can be changed to suit other periods or brought up to date with the latest fabrics.

The crazy patchwork on this attractive pouch is given unity by embellishing the patches with different embroidery stitches such as herringbone and feather stitch in gold-colored perlé thread (see the Stitch Library). The same thread is also used to braid the drawstring, the ends of which are then decorated with pretty fabric flower buds.

(Seam allowances are included)

• Two 7¼in × 5½in crazy patchwork panels from various scraps
• One 14¾in length of 1¾in wide decorative ribbon for bag gusset
• Two 8in × 7in muslin pieces for backing patchwork
• One 14¾in × 1¾in piece of calico for backing gusset
• Lining fabric pieces:
– one 3½in × 5½in
– one 4¾in × 5½in
– one 7in × 5½in (for pocket)
– one 7¼in × 5½in
– one 14¾in × 1¾in (for gusset)
• 4in zip
• Two 13in lengths of fine cord for drawstring
• Two 3½in squares to match lining fabric for flower bud trims
• Sewing and quilting threads to tone with patchwork
• Cotton perlé thread for hand embroidery


1 Begin by making two 7¼in × 5½in pieces of crazy patchwork, using the stitch and flip method (see Crazy Patchwork). Each piece is made from assorted cotton print, silk and velvet scraps, with oddments of lace and ribbon, stitched to a muslin backing. Cut a paper pattern, shown actual size in Fig 1, and mark the outer line on the wrong side of each piece of muslin, centring the pattern on the fabric. Machine sew the crazy patchwork, making sure the patchwork covers the outline. Trim to size when the patchwork is finished and overlock or zigzag the edges. Embellish the seams with various hand embroidery stitches in perlé thread (I used blanket stitch, herringbone stitch, feather stitch and fly stitch – see Stitch Library). Mark the position of the drawstring channel on the back of each panel, (shown as a pink dashed line in Fig 1) and mark the black dots.

2 Using the 14¾in × 1¾in pieces of ribbon and calico, cut the bag gusset, shown actual size in Fig 2. Sew the calico to the back of the ribbon and overlock or zigzag the edges.



3 Using one crazy patchwork panel and the completed gusset, pin the gusset to the panel, starting from the bottom centre of the patchwork panel and easing the two pieces together. Match up the end of the gusset stitching line with the two bottom dots in Fig 1. Machine sew together, beginning and ending ¼in from the end of the gusset. Press towards the patchwork panel.

Fig 1 Pouch pattern (shown actual size)

Fig 2 Gusset pattern (shown actual size)

4 Repeat Step 3 with the second patchwork panel, pinning and sewing it to the gusset. When finished, press.

5 Sew the top of the side seam, between the two dots on Fig 1. Turn right side out. The bag outer is now complete.

6 Making the zip pocket and lining: Cut the curved corners on the bottom of the 4¾in × 5½in lining piece and pin the top to the 3½in × 5½in piece, wrong sides together. Machine sew a ¾in long ½in wide seam at each end of the pinned section. Tack (baste) the central part of the seam and press open. On the wrong side, tack the zip in place (see Inserting zips).

7 Pin the pocket lining to the back of the zip along the bottom edge as shown and tack (baste) in place.

8 From the right side of the lining, machine sew the zip and pocket lining. Press the pocket fabric towards the bottom of the lining panel.

9 Fold up the pocket fabric, pin it over the top side of the zip then tack (baste) in place. From the right side of the bag, machine sew the zip and pocket lining in place. Remove tacking. Now machine sew the sides of the pocket lining to the sides of the bag panel, in from the edge – the raw edge of the pocket lining will be caught in the lining assembly seam. Continue to make the lining the same way as the outer bag, but leave a 4in gap unsewn along one side.

10 Inserting the lining: Turn the lining right side out and the bag wrong side out. Place the lining inside the bag and pin the lining to the bag’s top edge. Machine sew the lining to the bag along either side of the top, starting and finishing at the points shown by red dots in Fig 1, leaving a ¾in gap between the top seam and the side seams for the drawstring channel. Clip the top
corners. Bag out, by turning the bag right side out through the lining gap, making sure the top corners are fully turned out. Press the edges around the bag top. Mark and machine stitch the drawstring channel, as shown in Fig 1. Slipstitch the lining gap closed. Insert each drawstring and knot the ends. Stitch through the knot so it can’t come undone.


Fig 3 Making a flower trim

11 Making the flower trims: Fold one 3½in square of fabric in half, right sides together, and sew a ¼in seam to make a tube. Press the seam open. Turn half of the tube right side out, so the fabric is double and the seam allowance is hidden. With a double length of sewing cotton, run small running stitches around the raw end of the tube, slip the tube over the knotted end of the first drawstring (with raw ends towards the knot) and gather up tightly, as shown in Fig 3. Take a few stitches through the cord and knot to finish off. Fold the tube down over the knot to hide the knot inside.
For optional ‘stamens’, use yellow perlé or cotton à broder embroidery thread. Pinch the open end of the tube to flatten it and stitch thread through at the creases and leave loose. Pinch the end the other way and stitch another thread through. Hold all four ends of thread and knot together close to the end of the tube. Trim the threads to finish.


The size of the original bag is easily changed for a different look; simply photocopy and enlarge all the pattern pieces by 130% (or more). Here, the stitch and flip crazy patchwork is given an exotic sparkle with scraps of Indian fabrics, shot silks and irresistible glittery trims (see Mail-Order Suppliers). To simplify the design, I left out the zip pocket from the lining. Bridal fabrics and lace could also be used for a romantic look in ivory and cream.