Reversible Pleated Bag Tutorial

reversible pleated bag tutorial

This little bag is perfect for any occasion!
Finished Size: Approx. 23cm x 25cm (9″ x 10″) excluding handle.


If your fabric has no set direction, you can cut all your pieces from 2 fat quarters (the cm option in our store).  If fabric direction is important, you will need to add 1x 6.5cm x 28cm (2.5” x 11”) in each fabric.


5cm x 55cm (2” x 22”) x 1 main fabric.

5cm x 55cm (2” x 22”) x 1 in internal bag fabric.

You could use the same fabric for both pieces.

Main Bag

21.5cm x 35.5cm wide (8.5” long x 14”) x 2 in the main fabric and x 2 in the internal bag fabric.

6.5cm x 28cm wide (2.5” long x 11”) x 2 in the main fabric and x2 in the internal bag fabric.


3.8cm x 28cm wide (1.5” x 11”) x 2 (we used the same fabric for both, you could use one of each fabric).


Medium weight iron on interfacing, we recommend attaching iron on interfacing to each main bag, trim and handle piece, giving the bag more structure.  If you use interfacing, iron onto your fabrics before cutting out.


  1. Make Your Handle

Take one of your handle pieces and iron in half lengthways (wrong sides touching).

Open out the fabric and iron the long raw edges into the middle crease line.

Repeat with the second piece of fabric.


Pin the two pieces of fabric together, wrong sides facing, so that all the raw edges are inside the strap.

Sew along both long edges, as close to the edge as you dare!


2.  Cutting Your Main Fabric Pieces

Take one of your main external fabric pieces and place it in front of you, wrong side facing you.  Mark 3.8cm (1.5”) in from the left, bottom, outside edge.  Draw a line between this point and the top left corner.  Repeat on the right side.

Place your quilting ruler over the bottom left corner, so that the right corner of the ruler is 2.5cm (1”) in from the left drawn on edge and 2.5cm (1”) from the bottom edge (see images below).  Draw around the right hand corner of the ruler (along the top and right edges, creating a right angle that starts at the left drawn on edge of the bag and stops at the bottom edge).  Cut out (see red line on the 3rd image below if you are not sure where to cut).

cutting the main fabric-reversible-pleated-bag-tutorial

Repeat on the bottom right corner.

cutting-main-bag-cut shape-reversible-bag-pleated-tutorial

Repeat these steps with the remaining main fabric pieces (you will end up with 2 external fabric pieces and 2 internal fabric pieces.

3.  Adding the Pleats

Fold the one of the main piece of fabric into quarters (vertically) and iron creases in.

main-bag-folding-reversible pleated bag tutorial

Open the fabric out.  Line your ruler up with the top edge of your fabric, so that the middle crease is lined up with number 10 on the ruler.   Now fold the left side over, so that right sides are facing, and the new crease line is 1.3cm (1/2″) to the left of number 10.  Fold the fabric back towards the left, so that the next crease is in line with the number 10.  Pin the pleat into place.

Move the ruler along, so that the number 10 is lined up with the ironed in crease line to the left of the centre.  Repeat the above steps.

Now repeat on the right.  Place your ruler so that the mid crease (the one you lined up first) is at number 10 on the ruler. Fold the fabric on the right, to the left, so that the resulting crease is 1.3cm (1/2″) to the right of number 10 on the ruler, then fold the fabric back to the right, so that the new crease lines up with the number 10, pin the pleat into place.  Repeat at the remaining crease line on the fabric (to the right of the middle crease).

All the pleats should be facing into the centre of the fabric.


making-the-pleats-reversible pleated bag tutorial

Tack into place along the top of the fabric using a 16mm (1/4” seam allowance).

Repeat these steps with the remaining 3 main fabric pieces.


4.  Attaching the Trim

Pin one piece of contrasting trim along the top edge of a main external piece, so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.  Sew along the top.

Iron the seam flat.  If you have excess fabric at each end, trim by cutting lines parallel to the trim’s edges, rather than following the line of the main bag (see red lines on images).

Topstitch along the bottom of the trim, 16mm (¼”) in from the join, on the right side of the fabric.  Iron trim and pleats.

attaching-trim-reversible pleated bag tutorial

Repeat with the remaining 3 main pieces and trims.

5.  Sewing Together

Pin the two external fabric pieces together, lining up on all sides.

Sew the left, right and bottom edges, leaving the top edge and cutouts on the bottom corners unsewn (see red lines on the image to the right).

sewing-pieces-together-reversible pleated bag tutorial
Repeat with the two lining pieces.


6.   Dealing with the Corners

Take your external bag (wrong sides still facing), and line up the left seam line with the bottom seam line (inside the bag) the raw, unsewn edges will line up.  Sew across the opening.

Repeat on the right side.

making-corners-reversible pleated bag tutorial

Repeat these steps on the lining bag.

7.  Handles

Turn the external bag out the right way.  Line the centre of one of the short ends of the handle up with one of the side seam lines, and pin together, so that the raw edges are lined up.  Pin the other end on the other side.

Tack into place using a 16mm (1/4”) seam allowance.

attach-handle-reversible pleated bag tutorial

8.  Making & Attaching Closure

Prepare your pieces in the same way as you did the handle, ironing in half along the long edges, opening up and iron the raw edges into the middle crease line.

Place the two pieces on top of each other, so that all the raw edges are sandwiched in the middle, and top sew 16mm (1/4”) seams along both long edges.

Fold the strap at a 90 degree angle at the mid-point (see 3rd image on the right).  Then fold the strap under itself, sending the strap back in the same direction as the first half and creating a triangle at the end of the strap – forming a clasp.

Top sew 16mm (1/4”) in from the edge of the triangle, securing the clasp in its final shape.

Trim the raw ends of the clasp if they are not lined up.

Pin the clasp onto your external bag, so that the clasp in the centre of one side, with the raw short edges lined up with the raw edges of the bag.  Tack into place using a 16mm (1/4”) seam allowance.

closure-sewing-reversible pleated bag tutorial


9.  Putting Together

Place the external fabric bag inside the internal bag, so that the right sides are facing each other and the handle and clasp are sandwiched between the two bags (out of sight).  Pin along the raw edges, starting at the side seam lines (see red circles below) and then pin along each side.

Sew along the raw edges, leaving a gap of approx. 5cm-7.5cm (2”-3”) to the left of the centre on one side (for turning out).

putting together-reversible pleated bag tutorial

Pull the bag through the gap.  If like mine, your bag is very creased, iron each part of the bag before putting the internal bag inside the external bag, pressing the creases back into place.

Fold the raw edges in at the turning point and iron the trim flat.

Top sew along the top edge of the trim around the whole bag, 16mm (1/4” from the top), making sure the handle is pointing in the right direction when you go over each of the sides.

finishing-bag-reversible pleated bag tutorial


10. Finishing Touch

Sew a button just above the middle crease on the opposite side to the clasp.

finished bag reversible pleated bag tutorial

Click here to download printer friendly instructions

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