The Perfect Cross Body Bag Pattern: Free!

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cross body bag sewing pattern using quilting cotton and piping

I’m so excited to show you how to sew this gorgeous cross body bag… it has pockets to spare and beautiful piping! I worked so hard to make the pattern template for the bottom of the bag just right and will share step by step photos to help you make a beautiful bag the first time you try this free bag pattern.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free Perfect Cross Body Bag Pattern is included in the blog post below and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF pattern for $2 is totally optional. Did you know you can get ALL the Optimized for Printing PDF files organized in a library for you to access anytime you want? Check it out.

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baguette bag pattern

If I had to compare this latest cross body bag pattern to other bag patterns that I’ve made before, I’d say that it is a combination of my free Convertible Cross Body Tote Pattern and the free Baguette Bag Pattern. It is a similar style to my convertible cross body tote, but has the added structure (from fusible fleece interfacing and piping) that the baguette bag has.

More Crossbody Bag Patterns

Make sure you also check out:

Or see this post with all my cross body bag patterns.

Perfect Cross Body Bag Details

The finished size of this shoulder bag is approximately 9” tall, 11 1/2” wide at the top, and 2 1/2” deep at the bottom.

cross body bag using quilting cotton

The front side of this beautiful bag has a nice large zipper pocket for keeping your essentials secure and still easy to find.

The back of the tote has a slip pocket to hold things that you want to grab easily, like your phone

The sides of this pocket are stitched down (optional) to keep the pocket from gaping open. That makes this pocket very secure also.

There is also a welt zipper pocket on the inside of the bag for small things like change, lipstick, and cards.

Besides the beautiful piping, another professional finish is the 1 1/2” deep inset zipper. My techniques for both of these finishes are super-easy so I know you will get amazing results!

You will want to show off the bottom your bag that also features piping…

It wraps around to the sides of the bag and creates a beautiful angled feature.

This V-shaped gusset means that my Perfect Cross Body Bag holds a lot of stuff for a medium sized purse! It’s perfect for taking shopping, to the park, on vacation, or to school.

Just a note about the piping…

The piping is optional on just about any sewing project – you can simply skip it if you don’t like it or don’t have any, but I hope you don’t skip the piping on this bag! Piping is a professional touch that will make everyone say ‘wow.’ It won’t be hard to sew with, I promise. I will show you how to sew it on both with a piping foot for your sewing machine and with your regular sewing machine foot. The piping can make your less-than-perfect curves look perfect anyway.

how to sew a cross body bag

Are you ready to sew a the Perfect Cross Body Bag??? Here we go!

The Perfect Cross Body Bag Pattern

Finished dimensions: approximately 9” tall, 11 1/2” wide at the top, and 2 1/2” deep at the bottom.

You will need:

You will also need:

  • coordinating thread
  • cutting tools such as scissors, rotary cutter, ruler, and mat
  • fabric marking pen or chalk
  • pins or Wonderclips
  • a zipper foot for your sewing machine
  • a piping foot is optional, but you may like it!
  • the Creative Grids Corner ruler or a 3” diameter thread spool or mug to help you trim your corners with a 1 1/2” radius
  • a heavy duty sewing machine needle, such as 100/16 or 110/18
pieces to cut for a cross body bag

Cutting:

All measurements are height x width.

From the fabric for the exterior, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 3 1/4” x 12 3/4” (front top panel)
  • 1 rectangle 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” (front lower panel)
  • 1 rectangle 9 3/4” x 12 3/4” (back main panel)
  • 1 rectangle 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” (back slip pocket exterior)
  • 1 from the gusset template*
  • 1 rectangle 4” x 5” (for the rectangle ring tabs)
  • 2 rectangles 2” x 12 3/4” (for the inset zipper)
  • 1 square 2” x 2” (to bind the end of a zipper)
  • 1 strip 4” x 60” (for the adjustable strap)**

From the lining fabric, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” (front zipper pocket lining A)
  • 1 rectangle 8” x 12 3/4” (front zipper pocket lining B)
  • 1 rectangle 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” (back slip pocket lining)
  • 2 rectangles 8 1/2” x 12 3/4” (interior lining)
  • 1 rectangle 14” x 10” (for the interior welt zipper pocket)
  • 1 from the gusset template*

From the fusible fleece interfacing, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 3 1/4” x 12 3/4” (front top panel)
  • 1 rectangle 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” (front lower panel)
  • 1 rectangle 9 3/4” x 12 3/4” (back main panel)
  • 1 rectangle 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” (back slip pocket exterior)
  • 1 from the gusset template*
  • 2 rectangles 2” x 12 3/4” (for the inset zipper)

From the medium weight fusible interfacing, cut:

  • enough 4” tall strips to fuse to the back of your 4” x 60” wide strap piece

*see Gusset Pattern Template download above. Print at 100% (do not enlarge or reduce). Tape Parts A and B together along the line indicated. Cut on fold of fabric as shown on the pattern template.

** The strap piece will need to be pieced together. Piece 4” strips of fabric together at an angle (as shown in my quilt binding tutorial) for greater strength and less bulk.

Interfacing:

Apply interfacing to all of the pieces as indicated in the cutting list above. All the exterior fabrics except for the zipper tab piece, strap, and ring tab piece have fusible fleece interfacing. The strap has medium weight fusible fusible interfacing. Apply the strap interfacing after piecing together the 4” x 60” strap piece.

Prepare the Zippers:

You will need 3 zippers for this bag project. I love YKK size 4.5 zippers for my bags – the large zipper pulls are so easy to use and look so professional. The product I use most is ByAnnie Zipper by the Yard. It is simply a 4 yard long YKK size 4.5 zipper that I can cut to any size and it comes with 16 zipper pulls.

No matter what size zipper you choose, cut your zippers to the following lengths and remove the metal stops:

  • 12 3/4”
  • 9”
  • 12”

Sew across the ends of the zipper (1/4” from the end) to create new zipper stops and hold the teeth at the ends together. Sew across both ends of the 12 3/4” and the 9” long zipper. Only sew across one end of the 12” zipper.

Sew the Bag Front

1. Place the 12 3/4” long zipper face down on the top edge of the 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” front lower panel. Secure with pins or clips.

2. Put the zipper foot on your sewing machine. Sew the zipper to the bag front piece with a 1/4” seam allowance.

3. Put the 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” front zipper pocket lining A piece on top, with the two fabric pieces right sides together. Pin or clip together along the top edge.

4. Sew with a 1/4” seam allowance.

5. Fold the fabrics back so that they are wrong sides together. Press the seam gently without touching your iron to the zipper teeth.

Topstitch on the exterior fabric 1/8” away from the seam.

6. Lay the 3 1/4” x 12 3/4” front top panel on your workspace, right side up. Place the sewn piece on top, with right sides together and the top edge of the zipper lined up with a long edge of the top panel. Pin or clip the edges together.

Tip: If your fabrics are directional, make sure that the top edge of the zipper will be sewn to the bottom edge of your front top panel.

7. Sew with a 1/4” seam allowance.

8. Lay the 8” x 12 3/4” front zipper pocket lining B piece on top so that the lining pieces are right sides together. Pin or clip the top edge together.

9. Sew with a 1/4” seam allowance.

10. Fold only the top panel piece up and away from the zipper. Keep the lining fabrics right sides together. Gently press the seam and topstitch on the front 1/8” from the seam.

11. Use the Creative Grids Corner ruler or a 3” diameter thread spool to help you mark and trim the two bottom corners with a 1 1/2” radius.

12. Baste around the edges of the pocket below the zipper, sewing all of the layers together 1/4” from the edge.

13. Cut a piece of piping that fits around the side and bottom edges of the front piece. Pin or clip the binding around the top and bottom edges. Make small cuts in the piping to help it curve nicely around the bottom corners.

Note: to save a bit of piping, perform Step 15 below before Step 13.

14. Baste the piping to the edges, sewing right on top of the stitches on the piping.

Piping tips:

  • When attaching piping, sew right on top of the stitches on the piping for best effect. If that’s not possible, sew as close to the stitches as you can.
  • The photo above shows how to apply piping using the zipper foot on your sewing machine.
  • See the images for the back of the bag below where I use a special piping foot to sew it on.

15. Trim the top edge of the front piece to make it 9 3/4” tall. The amount that you need to trim will vary depending on the width of your zipper.

Sew the Bag Back

1. Cut a 12 3/4” long piece of piping and pin or clip it to the top edge of the 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” back slip pocket exterior rectangle.

2. Baste the piping to the top edge of the pocket piece, sewing on top of the stitching on the piping. Make a note of the seam allowance that is used to sew on the piping. For Wright’s Maxi Piping, it is 3/8”.

Notice that now I am using the 1/4” piping foot for my Juki TL2010Q to attach the piping. It’s super easy to use, but remember you can use your zipper foot if you don’t have a piping foot.

3. Lay the 7 1/4” x 12 3/4” back slip pocket lining piece on top and pin or clip the top edges together.

4. Sew across the top edge using the same seam allowance that you used to attach the piping. For this piping, it is 3/8”. That means that you will (hopefully) be sewing right on top of the stitching used to attach the piping to the exterior piece. I used my piping foot to ensure that would be the case, but you can achieve this with your zipper foot too.

5. Turn the fabrics to place the exterior and lining wrong sides together. Gently press the seam flat and the fabrics away from the piping. Topstitch on the exterior 1/8” away from the piping.

6. Place the slip pocket on top of the 9 3/4” x 12 3/4” back main panel rectangle with the lining side of the pocket against the right side of the back main panel. Baste around the edges of the pocket 1/4” away from the edges.

7. This step will close the pocket opening a bit to keep your phone safe: Measuring from the side edges, place marks on the top of the slip pocket that are 3” away from each side.

8. Topstitch right on top of the previous topstitching from the side edge to the mark and then backstitch neatly. Repeat on the other side of the pocket.

9. Use the Creative Grids Corner ruler or a 3” diameter thread spool to help you mark and trim the two bottom corners with a 1 1/2” radius (just like you did with the front piece).

Attach the Bottom Gusset

1. Cut a piece of piping that matches the long top edge of the gusset piece. Pin or clip it to the top edge of the exterior gusset piece. Baste the piping to the top edge of the gusset piece, sewing on top of the stitching on the piping.

2. Use the fabric marking pen or pencil to make marks at the center of each side piece along the bottom edge and at the center of the gusset at the top and bottom.

Turn the gusset over and also make a mark that is 1/2” from the end. Make this mark at both ends. Notice that the stitching from sewing my piping on is only 3/8” from the edge. If you are using larger piping and this mark is right on top of your stitching, that’s okay too.

3. Lay your back piece (with the slip pocket) on your workspace, right side up. Pin or clip the gusset piece around the sides and bottom of the piece.

Make sure to place the top edge of the gusset with piping against the edges of the back piece (that does not have piping). Use your marks to line it up properly:

  • Line up the center marks and place a clip there.
  • Place the marks made on the ends right over the piping on the top edge of the slip pocket, and then clip the top edges of the gusset.
  • Finally, clip the edges together around the corners, cutting small slits into the gusset to help it turn smoothly around the corners.

4. Put your needle down and start sewing right on top of the previous stitching (to attach the piping) even with the marked dot. You do not want to sew the gusset on starting at the top edge, start sewing right on top of the top edge of the pocket, which should be where you placed the dot on the gusset.

5. Sew around the gusset slowly, doing your best to sew on top of the previous stitching, or even to the left of it if that helps you sew right against the piping.

6. Place the bag front and back right sides together and pin or clip the gusset to the front of the bag.

If you used piping with a 3/8” seam allowance, you will need to move the gusset just a bit so that the raw edges of the gusset and the front piece do not line up for a few inches. Our intent is to begin sewing at the same place where the stitching starts for the other side of the gusset (1/2” away from the short end of the gusset).

So place the gusset over the edge of the bag front about 1/4” so that when you begin sewing at the same place where the stitching ends, you are also sewing right next to the piping on the bag front.

Pin or clip it there while you move to the sewing machine.

7. Place your needle down in the same spot where the previous stitching ends. Adjust the layers underneath so that the needle is also just to the right of the piping.

As you begin sewing, feel the piping underneath and sew right next to it for a few inches until the edges of the gusset and bag front are lined up.

Then continue sewing around the edges of the bag using the same seam allowance that you used to attach the piping. Use your finger or a sewing stiletto to feel where the piping is underneath and sew right next to the piping.

When you are a few inches away from the other side of the gusset, make sure that you will end sewing at the same spot as the previous stitching begins and right next to the piping underneath. This means that the corner of the gusset will overhang by about 1/4” as before.

When you reach the point where the previous stitching began, backstitch neatly and cut threads.

Note: If you are using piping with a wider seam allowance (up to 1/2” will work), the ends of the gusset may not overhang as shown.

If desired, you may turn the bag right side out to check the piping.

8. Pin or clip the top edges of the bag right sides together at the sides.

Make sure that the end of the piping is pointing out.

9. On one side of the bag, begin sewing at the top with a 3/8” seam allowance and stitch down to the place where the gusset is attached. Stop sewing and backstitch right where the gusset sewing begins.

10. On the other side of the bag, you’ll start sewing right where the gusset sewing begins and then sew to the top edge of the bag. At the top of the bag, use a 3/8” seam allowance.

11. The cross body bag exterior is finished! Gently press as many of the seams open as you can.

Make the Ring Tabs

1. Fold the 4” x 5” tab piece in half with the 5” edges together and press. Open and press the raw edges to the center. Fold again and press to make a 1” x 5” strip.

2. Topstitch along both long edges, 1/8” from the edge.

3. Cut the piece in half to make 2 strips, each 1” x 2 1/2”. Fold each one around a 1” rectangle ring (or other ring) and clip the ends together. Baste the ends together, if desired.

4. Clip one to each side of the bag, centered over the side seam.

5. Sew both tabs to the top edge of the bag with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Make the Interior Welt Zipper Pocket

This zipper pocket is optional if you wish to leave it out. Refer to my post How to Sew a Welt Zipper Pocket for more information.

1. At the top of the 14” x 10” interior welt zipper pocket rectangle (on the wrong side), draw a horizontal line about 8” long and 1” below the top edge. Draw another line 1/2” below it.

Then connect the two long lines with short vertical lines 1” from each edge. You should have a long skinny rectangle 1/2” tall and 12” long that is 1” away from the sides and top edge.

2. Pin the pocket piece to one of the 8 1/2” x 12 3/4” interior lining rectangles, right sides together. It should be 1” below the top edge and centered between the side edges of the lining.

3. Sew all the way around the rectangle that you drew on the back of the pocket rectangle, pivoting at the corners with your needle down. Backstitch at the starting point.

4. Using small sharp scissors, cut a line down the middle of the sewn rectangle, ending about 1/4” from either edge. Clip to the corners. Be careful not to cut the stitching.

5. Turn the pocket piece through to the back of the bag exterior piece. Press gently from both sides.

6. Center the zipper under the opening and from the top, pin the zipper in place. Make sure the slider is visible in the opening. 🙂

7. Topstitch around the zipper opening, 1/8” from the edge.

8. Turn the lining over to the back. Fold up the pocket piece and pin around the top and sides of the pocket.

Stitch the pocket top and sides with a 3/8” seam allowance.

Make the Bag Lining with an Inset Zipper

1. Fold the 2” x 2” zipper binding piece in half with wrong sides facing. Pin or clip this piece to the closed end of the remaining 12” zipper. Place it on the back (wrong side) of the end of the zipper.

2. Sew the binding across the end of the zipper with a 1/4” seam allowance. Then turn the folded edge around to the front of the zipper. Sew the binding down close to the folded edge.

3. Place one of the 2” x 12 3/4” rectangles for the inset zipper right side up on your workspace. Place the zipper face down on top. Arrange the zipper so that:

  • The bound end of the zipper is 3/4” away from the short end on the left.
  • The free end of zipper tape folds back at a 90 degree angle, placing the zipper teeth 3/4” away from the short end on the right.

Use lots of pins or clips to hold the zipper as you move to your sewing machine.

Note: If your fabric is directional, be sure to sew the zipper to the bottom edge of this piece.

4. Attach the zipper for to your sewing machine. Sew across the top of the zipper with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Make sure to catch the folded back end of the zipper tape in the seam.

5. Place the lining piece with the welt zipper pocket on top, right side down. The two fabric pieces should be right sides together with the zipper in between. Pin or clip along the top edge.

6. Sew along the top edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.

7. Open the fabrics and gently press the seam with the zipper facing up. On the back, the seam should be pressed down toward the lining.

Topstitch on the lining fabric 1/8” away from the zipper.

8. Place the remaining 2” x 12 3/4” rectangle right side up on your workspace. Place sewn lining face down on top. This time:

  • The bound end of the zipper should be 3/4” away from the short end on the right.
  • The free end of zipper tape should fold back at a 90 degree angle, placing the zipper teeth 3/4” away from the short end on the left.

Use lots of pins or clips to hold the zipper as you move to your sewing machine.

Note: If your fabric is directional, be sure to sew the zipper to the bottom edge of this piece.

9. Sew across the edge of the zipper with a 1/4” seam allowance.

10. Lay the remaining 8 1/2” x 12 3/4” lining rectangle on top, right side down so that the lining pieces are right sides facing. Pin or clip and then sew the top edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.

11. Press the same way as before. Topstitch on the lining fabric 1/8” away from the zipper.

12. Arrange the lining so that the two pieces are lined up. Use the Creative Grids Corner ruler or a 3” diameter thread spool to help you mark and trim the two bottom corners of the lining with a 1 1/2” radius.

Sew the Lining Bottom Gusset

1. Use the fabric marking pen or pencil to make marks at the center of each side piece along the bottom edge and at the center of the gusset at the top and bottom.

Turn the gusset over and also make a mark that is 1/2” away from each short end. In the photo above these marks show through the fabric.

2. Fold one side of the lining up and out of the way. Pin or clip the gusset piece around the sides and bottom of the lining piece, right sides facing.

  • Line up the center marks and place a clip there.
  • Finally, clip the edges together around the corners, cutting small slits into the gusset to help it turn smoothly around the corners.
  • Clip the gusset up the sides of the lining with the raw edges aligned. Sewing the gusset to the lining is not fussy like the exterior.

3. Put your needle down and begin sewing on the dot that you marked.

Sew the gusset to the side lining with a 1/2” seam allowance. Stop sewing and backstitch when you reach the dot at the other end of the gusset.

4. Pin or clip the gusset to the other side lining in the same way.

5. Put your needle down and begin sewing on the marked dot. Sew the gusset and lining together with a 1/2” seam allowance, except this time stop and leave a 6” opening in the lining for turning the bag right side out later.

6. Place the top edges of the bag together. Sew the top edges of the lining together with a 3/8” seam allowance, gradually making the seam allowance larger so that you end sewing right where the gusset begins.

7. Press the seams open at the top of the lining. At the opening in the gusset, press the seams back. This will help to sew them together later.

Sewing the Perfect Cross Body Bag Together

1. Turn the bag exterior right side out and place the bag lining over it so that right sides are together. Pin or clip all around the top edge.

2. Sew around the top edge with a 3/8” seam allowance.

3. Carefully press the seam open. Then turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining.

4. Pin and stitch the opening in the lining closed.

5. Press the bag and topstitch around the top edge.

This step will probably require a heavy duty sewing machine needle, such as size 100/16 or 110/18.

Sewing the Shoulder Strap:

1. Fold the 4’’ x 60’’ strap rectangle in half lengthwise and press. Open and fold the long edges to the center, press. Fold in half again and press to make a 1’’ x 60’’ long strap.

2. Topstitch along both long edges, 1/8’’ from the edge.

Tip: A walking foot (or even feed foot) for your sewing machine can make it easier to sew long straps without waviness or puckering.

3. To make this strap adjustable, slide the triglide slider onto one end. Move it until it is about 2’’ from the end of the strap.

4. Turn the strap over and fold the end of the strap onto itself. Tuck the raw edge under by 1/2’’. Hold the end in place with clips as you move to the sewing machine. Stitch a square with a rectangle to securely attach the triglide slide to the strap.

Tip: Sew on top of the previous topstitching as much as you can to make it look neat.

5. With the top of the strap facing up, push the free end down through one of the rectangle rings on the bag. Then fold it in half (wrong sides of strap facing each other) and push the strap through the triglide slide again.

6. Adjust the slide to the center and now push the free end up through the rectangle ring. Check to make sure that the strap is not twisted.

Tuck the raw edge under by 1/2’’. Hold the end in place with a clip as you move to the sewing machine.

how to attach cross body bag strap

7. Stitch a square with a rectangle to securely attach the triglide slide to the strap.

finished cross body bag pattern

All done!

blue purse from the cross body bag pattern

Enjoy your new beautiful new bag!

If you sew a new purse or tote with my Perfect Cross Body Bag Pattern, I’d love to see! Please post a picture and tag me on Instagram @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. 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. This is the perfect size and turned out super cute. I am going to try this in the coming weeks. Thanks Caroline.

  2. Christine Krannich says:

    This is great, Caroline! Thank you!

    You state that the byAnnie Zippers by the Yard are a size 3.5. They are actually a size 4.5. You may want to change that.

    Have a great day!

  3. The free Perfect Cross Body Bag Pattern is included in the blog post above and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF pattern for $2 is totally optional. Did you know you can get ALL the Optimized for Printing PDF files organized in a library for you to access anytime you want? Check it out: https://courses.sewcanshe.com/courses/all-sewcanshe-printable-tutorials

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