Tag Archives: batik fabric

Monk’s Bag 2.0

Just over a year ago, I made a Monk’s Bag from Purl Bee’s tutorial (sadly Purl Bee no longer exists as of 2023).

I used the heck out of that bag, so much so that the strap and bottom of the bag frayed through in places.

What I discovered over the course of the year I carried this bag was that I loved the shape and the length of the strap but that I needed a bit more.  I need a bigger bag with more pockets.  I also need a sturdier bag that holds its shape a bit better without the fabric wearing through.

When my daughter asked for a school bag to carry her supplies in that could do double duty as a purse, I once again turned to the Monk’s Bag pattern.  This time, I made changes to the bag so it would hold up to her day-to-day life as a high school student.  She also needed a bigger, sturdier bag, so I plotted changes that would work for both of us.

The construction of the Monk’s Bag is ideal for pockets that are built right into the lining, which is what I do here.   I think you’ll find these pockets both easy to add and very sturdy!  I’ve also added interfacing to the outside bag pieces, which gives the bag more body and will (hopefully!) help avoid the wear that developed in my original Monk’s Bag.

The basic idea of this tutorial is the same as the Purl Bee bag, but there are quite a few additional steps as well as a number of construction changes.

The words below are all my own, but in an effort to make this easy to understand without disrespecting the original tutorial, I’ll mark any instruction or supplies that I have not changed with an asterisk*.

You will need:

  • rotary cutter & ruler
  • coordinating thread
  • iron & ironing board
  • stencil & paint (optional)
  • pins
  • fabric marking pencil, pen or chalk

Fabric 1: 1 yard, cut in the following pieces(in the sample, this is the golden brown fabric)

  • 2 – 11″ x 14″ (outside center panel). OPTIONAL – Stencil a coordinating design on one of the outside center panels.  More on that in the instructions.
  • 2 – 6.5″ x 34″ (inside handles)*
  • 2 – 11″ x 21″ (inside center panel pockets)
  • 1 – 2.5″ x 6.5″ (inside side loop)

Fabric 2: 1 yard , cut in the following pieces (in the sample, this is the black patterned batik)

  • 2 – 11″ x 14″ (inside center panel)
  • 2 – 6.5″ x 34″ (outside handles)*
  • 1 – 6.5″ x 21″ (inside handle pocket 1)
  • 1 – 6.5″ x 15″ (inside handle pocket 2)

Lightweight Fusible Interfacing:

  • 2 – 11″ x 14″ (outside center panel)
  • 2  – 6.5″ x 34″ (outside handles)
  • 1 –  6″ x 6″ (inside side loop reinforcement)

All seam allowances are 1/2″ except where noted.*

Fold and press the 2.5″ x 6.5″ (inside side loop) in half.  Fold in the two sides in to the center and press again.  It should look like what you see above.

Use a decorative or heavy stitch and stitch down the length of the fabric at least three times.  This is a loop to hang keys and pens from, so it’s important that it be sturdy.  I use a triple straight stitch in the example.

If you’d like to stencil a design on the front of your bag, it’s easier to do it before assembly.  I took a photo of the pattern on the black batik, then increased the size slightly and printed that onto the matte side of a piece of freezer paper.  For more on freezer paper stenciling see this text tutorial or this video.

Collect your bag pieces and sort them into outside and lining pieces.

Iron the 6.5″ x 34″ (outside handles) pieces of interfacing to the 2 – 6.5″ x 34″ (outside handles) pieces of fabric.  Interfacing tends to be less wide than fabric, so piece it if necessary to get the correct length.

Repeat the process for the outside center panel pieces.  You should have seam allowance outside the interfacing on the side edges of of the center pieces, but not on the top and bottom.

Pin one handle to each side of the center panel.  Mark 1/2″ at the top of each side.  Stitch down each side, taking care not to stitch past the 1/2″ mark on the top of each center panel.

Press the seam allowance toward the bag handles.   Press a 1/2″ seam allowance on the inside of the handles and along the center panel.  I find this much easier to do at this step than after the bag is assembled.

Attach handles to opposite center panel, also marking 1/2″ from the top.  Repeat pressing seam allowance along handles and top of center panel.

Fold the bag in half with center panels matching.  Stitch across the bottom of the bag.*

Unfold seam allowance on end of handles.  Pin together and stitch.*

Press the center open, then re-press 1/2″ seam allowance.

The outside of the bag is complete!  Now, on to the lining, which is a bit more involved.

Collect your inside pocket pieces.

Fold each pocket piece in half across the width of the pocket.  Press and stitch across the top.  I used a combination of stitches just for fun!

Place the center panel pocked on the right side of the inside center panel.  Pin and baste with a 1/4″  seam allowance along the raw edges.  If desired, you can add additional stitching lines to break up the pocket.  I left one full size and put a center stitching line down the other.  The full sized pocket is great for magazines or papers and the split pocket is great for my checkbook, calendar, cell phone, camera, etc.

Repeat the process with inside handle pocket 1 and 2.    Position the inside side loop even with the top of handle pocket 1.  Pin each side.  I use the longer pocket to carry my glasses case and the smaller pocket for gum and miscellaneous small items.

Baste pockets and loop in place.

Iron 6″x6″ fusible interfacing to the back of the loop.   On the front side, secure on each side approximately 2″ from the outside edges.

Inside pieces, all basted and ready to go.

The inside is assembled identically to the outside.  You can see here that after the handles are attached to the inside center panel, the sides of the pockets have been secured in place.

Repeat all steps for bag assembly using a 1/2″ seam allowance on all pieces except for joining the two straps.  Use a 5/8″ seam allowance there.  Remember to press the straps and top of the center panel in 1/2″, just like on the outside of the bag.

Here’s the lining all assembled.  You can see that the bag could easily be reversible!

Place the lining inside the bag, with wrong sides matching.  I wanted the loop inside the bag to be towards the front side when I carry it so I could easily hook my keys on it, so I put the bag on my preferred shoulder for bag carrying to make sure the loop was just where I wanted it.

Match all seams and pin, pin, pin!  Top stitch close to the edge.  I tried to stay about 1/8″ in.    Remove the pins and you’re done!

My finished Monk’s Bag 2.0.  This is the third Monk’s bag I’ve made and I carry it every day.  I’m constantly getting compliments and questions about the bag, which makes it even more awesome to carry!

Action shot!  Can I just tell you, I love the heck out of that loop for my keys!  It’s easy to reach and I never lose them anymore.  I liberated the hook from one of my kids old backpacks.  You can also find them in all sizes in the rope section of any hardware store.

My bag (L) and my daughter’s bag (R).  What a difference fabric makes!

Thank you Purl Bee for the awesome original bag tutorial!  I hope you take this tut in homage, as it’s intended.  🙂


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Batiks On Black 6″ Paper Pieced Block Drawing


I can only ponder an idea for so long before jumping on it and making it a reality. Maybe that’s why I have don’t ever get quite enough sleep!

Introducing The Batiks On Black 6″ Paper Pieced Block Drawing!

How to participate:

Make a 6″ (6 1/2″ unfinished) paper pieced block, any design, made with batiks on a black background. Send that block to me via snail mail. It will go into a pot and on the December 15 January 19 Talk To Me Tuesday, a name will be drawn from all entries. That person wins ALL the blocks sent to me between now and December 15 the week of January 12, 2010 (deadline extended!).

What patterns?:

Blocks must be paper pieced in order to participate. You can use any pattern you’d like, but here’s where I sweeten the deal. If you use a sewhooked pattern, you will receive 2 entries instead of 1. Nice, eh? If you use a sewhooked pattern AND post it to the sewhooked Batiks on Black flickr group, you will receive 3 entries. Even nicer!


Blocks need to be 6″ (6 1/2″ unfinished). You can use a smaller pattern (most sewhooked patterns are 5″) and add sashing, or you can size it up, as long as you follow the Batik on Black theme.

The Paper On the Back of This Block:

Ordinarily, I’d say leave the paper on your blocks. However, since this is a drawing and there could possibly be loads of blocks, I think it would be much nicer to the winner to remove the paper. SO, either use sashing to lock in the possibly bias paper pieced seams and then square it to 6 1/2″ OR make a 6 1/2″ paper pieced block and then staystitch the block 1/8″ from the outside edge and then remove the paper before sending.

Ready to Send?

When you’re ready to send, email batiksonblack@sewhooked.org and I will send you my mailing address. What? You didn’t think I was going to post it here, did you? 😉  When you send your block, be sure to include your name, mailing adddress, email address and user/screen name (optional).  Only your first name or screen name and location will be posted if you win!

Why should you trust me?

Well, I’ve been organizing swaps and challenges for several years. I spent almost two years as the Swap and Challenge Elf at HarryPotterCrafts Yahoo! Group, have organized challenges for the Livejournal communities: hp_paperpiecing, paperpieced, and both challenges and swaps for twilight_crafts. I also have hosted a monthly drawing on hp_paperpiecing for the last two years, giving away fabric from my own stash each month for participation.  I promise I won’t keep your squares, no matter how tempted I might be!

Link to this post!

Text boxes do not work on WordPress.com, where I host this blog, so I cannot include copy & paste html here.  Please feel free to grab the icon of your choice for your blog or website and link it back to this post OR you can grab copy & html from the sewhooked home page.

Batiks On Black 6″ Paper Pieced Drawing!

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The more blocks, the bigger the pot, the bigger the pot, the bigger the quilt the winner will be able to make!

Now, have fun sewing!