Wednesday 23 January 2013

Herringbone Library Bag..

This is the 3rd post in the Library Bag Tutorial series. Today I'll show you how to add a patchwork block to the Library Bag with contrasting fabrics.

  • Patchwork block - mine was 13" x 11.5". The size of the block will determine the size of the fabric needed to bring the front panel to 13" x 13".
  • 2 pieces 13" x 1.25"" (33cm x 3cm) - or required size to make the panel, 13" x 13".
  • 1 piece 13" x 13" (33cm x 33cm) - main colour for the outside back of the bag
  • 2 pieces 13" x 4" (33cm x 10cm) - contrast colour for the top outside of the bag
  • 2 pieces 13" x 16" (33cm x 41cm) - contrast colour for the lining
  • 1 piece 13" x 16" (33cm x 41cm) - backing for the front of the bag. (This will be hidden.)
  • 4 pieces 10.5" x 1.5" (26cm x 4cm) - contrast colour for the handles
  • 2 pieces 10.5" x 1.5" (26cm x 4cm) - sew in medium weight interfacing for the handles
  • 1 piece roughly 3" x .5" (7cm x 1cm) - tape for the name tag


All seams are 3/8" (1cm), unless otherwise indicated. The seam allowance is not critical, as long as you are consistent throughout the project. The seam allowances for the patchwork block I made, were .25" (.6cm).

Patchwork block
First up, make your patchwork block. I followed the Herringbone Block tutorial, by Holly, from Bijou Lovely. The block is supposed to end up at 12.5" x 12.5". Somehow or another, my block ended up at 13" x 11.5". I could have squared it off, but as it was going onto a rectangular bag, I thought it would be best left as is.

Attach fabric to patchwork block
Depending on the size of your patchwork block, you will need to add strips of fabric to make the panel 13" x 13" (33cm x 33cm). Typically, a block would be square and so fabric would need to be added to both the sides, the top and the bottom. As I made my block rectangular, I only needed to add one strip to each side.

  • With right sides together, sew the contrast to the main fabric.
  • Finish the seam with a zig zag stitch.

  • Finger press the seam. In this case, I've pressed the seam towards the dark fabric.
  • Topstitch 1/8" (3mm) from the seam.

Outside of bag - sew contrast fabric to main fabric with block:
  • With right sides together, sew the contrast to the patchwork block.
  • Finish the seam with a zig zag stitch.
  • Finger press the seam.
  • Topstitch 1/8" (3mm) from the seam.
  • Repeat for the back, sewing the contrast to the main fabric. (The back consists of the main and contrasting fabrics, not a block.)

Add backing to front of library bag:
As the seams on the patchwork block were not neatened, I added lining in the form of cotton fabric.
  • With wrong sides together, baste the backing fabric and the patchwork block, around the edges.
  • Stitch 1/8" on either side of all seams.

When you get to the end of a seam, stitch in the ditch (along the seam line) for a few stitches, then you can stitch up the other side of the seam without stopping and starting.

To finish, follow the tutorial for the basic Library bag.

Here's the finished library bag...

I won the gorgeous blue, circled fabric over at Cass Can Sew. Cass specialises in sewing with beautiful, vintage fabrics.

More variations and additions to the basic Library Bag tutorial will follow soon;
To finish off the series, there will be a round up post with links to different styles of library bags. If you make a library bag using this tutorial, I'd love you to add it to the Threading My Way ~ Sewn by YOU Flickr group. Feel free to add any projects made with Threading My Way tutorials.

I'll be adding this Library Bag tutorial, to the 300+ bags already linked to the Bags and Totes link party, here at Threading My Way.

All month long, Caroline, from Sew Can She, has been running It's a New Year Sew Along, using the Herringbone Block tutorial, by Heather, from Bijou Lovely, both on her blog and as a Facebook event. The aim was to incorporate a herringbone block into a finished project. I've finished with six days to spare.

... Pam


  1. That's a great bag - I love library book bags :) I'd much rather have a "real" book to hold than to read in an e-reader :D

    Good job on getting the challenge done - EARLY, no less!

  2. Nice bag Pam, congrats on getting your challenge finished ahead of time too!

  3. Pam !
    As a weaver i first thought , you are using a Herring Bone woven cloth. But now i see it is a Sewn Herring bone!! It is a beautiful bag and your instructions are ever so neat and easy to follow!!!
    Thank you , it started my day with a smile ,,,

  4. Gorgeous Pam! Your piecing is SO neat!

  5. Hi Pam, another beautiful project, your herringbone library bag is beautiful! thanks for the tutorial. I will follow with attention the next additions that you will make to your library bags. These tutorials are excellent, thanks for sharing them with us!
    Marisa from

  6. I love the top stitching! My sister, Al would be all over this.


Thanks for stopping by! I love reading your comments and try to reply to all of them via email. If you don't receive an email reply from me, check back here.