The Ruby Lou Bag: A tutorial

Ruby Lou Bag, Purse Pattern for Little Girl

Here’s a fun purse pattern for a little girl that would be fun to sew. When my sister was visiting last summer she said she wished she had a little purse for her 2 year old. One that didn’t snap, or zip or close… since her 2 yr old hands had a hard time with those kinds of things. So the Ruby Lou bag was born… just a simple bag, perfect for toting treasures.

Purse Pattern for Little Girl

The bag has a tiny pocket on the front…

Little Girl Purse Pattern

and button details on the handles.

Purse Sewing tutorial

It sews up quickly… I think that the ADORABLE Simple Life fabric from Tasha Noel is what makes this bag.  I love all of the charming details she put into her fabric.

Okay let’s make one! You’ll need:

1/2 yard of fabric for the outside

1/2 yard of fabric for the lining

Fat Quarter for the pocket

1/4 yard fabric for the gusset

1/4 yard fabric for the handles

Heavyweight Fusible Interfacing

4 buttons

10″ of piping

Fabric Marking Pen

Okay let’s start… First the pocket.

From your fabric pick a 4 1/2 square that you like.  I used a template to help me pick which one…  Cut it out.

Use a CD to round the corners of the pocket.

Cut another identical piece of fabric to use as the pocket lining. Iron interfacing onto the back of the pocket front piece.

Using a piping foot attach piping to the outer edge of the pocket.

Place pocket lining piece on top of pocket, right sides together. Stitch.  Leave a 2″ hole in the top of the pocket to turn it right side out.

Turn right side out and press.  Topstitch the top of the pocket, closing the hole as you go.

Next you need to make your pattern piece for the outside of the bag.  If you think you’ll make more than one bag, I recommend making this on a piece of pattern paper, that way you’ll have it to use over and over again.

Start with a 11 tall x 16 wide piece of fabric.

Mark the center.

You need a curve for the front… to make my curve I used a circle template. I placed the template in the center of my fabric even with the edge of my fabric and traced at the 7″ mark.

Next move the template over to the side of the fabric. Leave yourself 2 ”  from the first curve and trace a curve at the 7″ mark again.

Fold fabric in half and trace this same curve onto the other side of your fabric. This will ensure that your bag is symmetrical.

Use a CD as a template to round the bottom corners.

Cut out another piece identical to this one for the bag back.

Cut out and iron interfacing onto the back of the bag front and bag back pieces.

On your bag front piece attach the pocket. Approx 2″ in and 1″ from the bottom.  To attach stitch close to the piping on the outer edge of the pocket.

Next draw 2 additional lines onto your bag front.  Each 1″ from the center. You’ll have 3 lines on the front of the bag, the center, 1″ to the right and 1″ to the left of center.

Fold each outer line to the center line to make pleats.

Stitch pleat in place at top edge and bottom edge of bag. Repeat for bag back.

Use this piece of as a guide to cut your bag lining pieces.  Cut 2 bag lining pieces the same size as the bag front.

Cut 2 pieces of fabric (one for the outside of the bag and one for the lining) 2″ wide by 28″ long. Apply interfacing to one piece. Pin along the outer edge of bag front. Sew in place- trim excess. Pin bag back piece to gusset- stitch in place.

Repeat process to make bag lining. Clip curves of bag and bag lining. Turn bag lining right side out.

To make handles cut 4 pieces of fabric 2″ x 18″

Apply interfacing to 2 of the pieces.

Sew 1 interfaced piece to one non interfaced piece, right sides together, along the 18″ edge.

Press seam open.  Press under 1/4″ on outer 2 edges.

Fold in half and pin well. Topstitch both long edges of handle. For best results place the side of the handle without the interfacing down when you sew. Repeat for 2nd handle.

Along each end of your handle, fold the handle lengthwise  in half then stitch 1/4″ in from the fold a 2″ stitching line.  This will create a small pleat in the ends of the handle.

Pin the handle to the upper point of the bag… one handle attaches to the right upper curve to the left upper curve on the front, the other to the back.  (note, pleat not shown in photo, but it should be there). Stitch in place.

Slip bag lining into bag front, right sides together.  Stitch around the entire bag… leaving a 3″ opening in the side of the bag.

Clip corners and curves, turn bag right side out.

Press VERY WELL… topstitch upper edge of bag, catching the opening as you go.

To finish, sew 4 buttons to the front and back of the bag where the handles meet the bag.

This post first appeared on the Riley Blake Fabrics Blog

Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. niki says

    thank you for this lovely tutorial! i have made two bags now…the first one as you wrote it and the second I made a shade smaller as it seemed too big for my two year old! I love it and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Thank you!

  2. Mia says

    Lovely bag! I cannot wait to make one for my 3 year old granddaughter. Thank you so much for sharing your considerable talents with us.

  3. Carrie says

    Thank you for the great tutorial. I have a granddaughter with a birthday in January. She will love this bag. turning ten is a step towards feeling older so I will make this a bag she can take to her home school class workshops with all the important items she needs including her IPod. I think I may add another pocket for her pens and extra items she will want to keep tidy….


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