How to Sew an Easy Sling Bag: Free Sewing Pattern

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Sew the pretty sling bag that you’ve been dreaming of! This easy tote bag pattern has an exterior zipper pocket, another zipper pocket, and two slip pockets inside.

This is a bag you will use every day. It’s the perfect purse to grab and go! It’s included in my collection of free bag patterns.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free Easy Sling Bag Pattern is included in the blog post below and is free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $3 is optional. Did you know you can get ALL the Optimized for Printing PDF files organized in a library to access anytime you want? 

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My bags are made with quilting cotton and stabilized with fusible woven interfacing to give them a soft, supple feel. You could also use home decor weight fabric.

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This bag is approximately 18’’ wide and 15’’ (not including the strap). It’s the perfect size to use as a purse, book bag, or shopping tote.

I’ve been carrying the blue one around as a purse for the last month and I’m in love with it!

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Download the free sling bag template.

Download the free template using the link above and lets get started! Print the template at 100% and cut the three pieces out along the lines. Tape the pieces together as seen above.

Easy Sling Bag free sewing pattern

You will need:

  • 1 1/4 yards fabric for the bag exterior (quilting cotton or home decor weight fabric)

  • 1 yard fabric for the bag lining (quilting cotton or similar weight)

  • 2 1/2 yards fusible woven interfacing, 20’’ wide (such as Pellon SF101)

  • 2 zippers, 10’’ long or longer (I cut some of my ByAnnie Zipper By the Yard)

  • 1 magnetic snap closure, 14mm or 18mm

  • fabric marking pen or pencil

  • seam ripper

  • large safety pin

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Cutting:

From the exterior fabric, cut:

  • 2 on the fold using the pattern template

  • 2 rectangles 4’’ x 38’’ for the strap

  • 1 rectangle 16’’ x 11’’ for the exterior zipper pocket

  • 1 rectangle 10 1/2’’ x 13” for the interior slip pocket

From the lining fabric, cut:

  • 2 on the fold using the pattern template

  • 1 rectangle 16’’ x 11’’ for the interior zipper pocket

From the fusible woven interfacing, cut:

  • 4 on the fold using the pattern template

  • 2 rectangles 4’’ x 37’’ for the strap (or enough 4’’ strips to cover the strap pieces)

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Preparation:

1. Press to adhere the fusible medium weight interfacing pieces to the bag pieces and the strap pieces.

Tip: for the strap pieces, place the interfacing strips 1/2’’ away from the short ends to reduce bulk.

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2. Sew across the ends of the zipper as needed so both ends stay closed.

Make the Welt Zipper Pockets

More detailed information can be found in my instructions for sewing welt zipper pockets.

1. Working on the wrong side of the 16’’ tall x 11’’ wide lining pocket piece, draw a 9’’ x 1/2’’ rectangle:

  • draw one horizontal line 1’’ away from the top edge

  • draw another horizontal line 1 1/2’’ away from the top edge

  • draw connecting horizontal lines that are 1’’ away from each side edge

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2. Pin the pocket piece to the lining piece right sides facing. The pocket piece should be centered and the top edge (with the rectangle drawn on the back) 2’’ below the top U-shape edge of the lining piece.

3. Sew around right on top of the drawn 9’’ x 1/2’’ rectangle, all the way around.

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4. Cut a slit down the middle of the rectangle that stops 1/4’’ from each end. Then cut to the corners, without cutting your stitching.

5. Turn the pocket piece to the wrong side and carefully press to get a nice flat rectangle shaped opening.

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6. Center the zipper under the opening on the lining piece (against the pocket piece). Make sure the zipper slider is showing through the opening.

Pin in place all the way around the opening.

7. Sew all the way around the opening, 1/8’’ from the edge.

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8. Turn the bag lining piece over. Fold the bottom of the pocket piece up to match the top edge. Pin the 3 pocket edges together.

Sew the 3 pinned pocket edges together with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Do not sew the lining piece in the process.

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Repeat to sew another welt zipper pocket on one of the bag exterior pieces.

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Make the Interior Slip Pocket

1. Fold the 10 1/2’’ x 13’’ slip pocket piece in half (right sides facing) with the 10 1/2’’ edges together.

Sew around the 3 sides with a 1/4’’ seam allowance, leaving a 3’’ opening on one side for turning.

Clip the corners to reduce bulk.

2. Topstitch 1/8’’ away from one long edge to make the top of the pocket.

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3. Pin the pocket to the remaining lining piece. It should be centered with the top edge 4’’ below the top U-shape edge of the lining piece.

Stitch around the side and bottom edges of the pocket, 1/8’’ from the edges to sew the pocket to the lining and close the turning opening at the same time.

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4. Use a fabric marking pen or chalk to draw a vertical line down the center of the pocket.

Stitch along the line to make 2 slip pockets.

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Attach the Magnetic Snap Closure

1. The magnetic snap closure has two main pieces with two back disks.

Cut 2 circles of thick interfacing or quilt batting about the size of a quarter. Place one of the disks on top of one of the interfacing circles and mark vertical lines through the openings on the disk. Cut small slits through the marks using a seam ripper.

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2. Use a pen to make a small dot below the U-shaped top edge on one of the bag lining pieces. The dot should be centered and 2’’ below the top edge.

Place one of the disks over the marked dot. Mark vertical lines through the openings on the disk.

3. Cut small slits through the marks using a seam ripper.

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4. Push the prongs of one of the snap pieces through the slits that you cut in the bag lining piece.

Turn the piece over and put one of the interfacing circles over the prongs on the other side. Slip the disk over the prongs too, and then fold the prongs outward to secure.

Repeat to attach the opposite side of the magnetic snap closure to the other side of the lining.

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Make the Straps

1. Pin the two strap pieces together, right sides facing.

Stitch both long edges together with a 1/2’’ seam allowance.

Tip: to make it easier to press the strap flat later, press the seams open now by folding each seam back and pressing.

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2. Push the large safety pin through two layers of fabric (part of the seam allowance and the strap) at one end.

Push the safety pin down through the center and use it to turn the strap right side out.

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3. Press the strap flap and topstitch along the sides, 1/8’’ from the edge.

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Assemble the Bag

Use a 1/2’’ seam allowance from this point forward.

1. Pin the two lining pieces (right sides facing) along the side and bottom edges.

2. Sew the straight side edges. Sew the bottom edge, leaving a 5-6’’ opening for turning the bag later.

Do not sew the cut out squares at the bag corners.

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3. Press the side seams open. A seam roll helps to press bag seams open without making creases in the bag at the same time.

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4. To form the boxed corners, flatten the bag with the side seam against the bottom seam so the opening makes a straight line. Pin.

Sew across the opening.

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Repeat steps 1-4 above to sew the bag exterior pieces together – except do not leave an opening in the bottom.

Turn the bag exterior right side out.

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5. Place the bag lining over the bag exterior so that the two are right sides together. Match up the side seams and the U-shaped edges.

Pin along the U-shaped edges.

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6. Sew the top edges together along the U-shaped edges only. Do not sew the top straight edges together.

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7. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining.

Carefully press the top U-shaped edges.

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8. Turn the edges at the side openings to the inside by 1/2’’. Press flat.

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9. Insert one strap end inside a side opening by 1/2’’. Pin in place.

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Insert the other end of the strap in the opposite side of the bag in the same way. Make sure the strap is not twisted.

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10. The next step is to secure the bag strap and topstitch around the top edge all at once.

First sew along one top side edge of the bag, securing one side of the strap.

Then pivot and begin topstitching along one U-shaped edge at the top of the bag.

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When you reach the other side of the bag, stitch across it close to the edge, just like the other side. Then pivot and topstitch across the side to attach the other end of the strap.

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When you reach the side of the bag where you began, sew across the side edge a second time to reinforce the stitching that secures the strap to the bag. Backstitch and remove the bag. Then go back and reinforce the stitching at the other side of the bag too.

11. Sew closed the opening in the bottom of the bag.

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You’re going to love your new bag! What will you use it for? Tell me in the comments.

As always, I love to see what people make with my patterns and tutorials. Post a picture on Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look.

Happy sewing!

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂