Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Cloverleaf Bag Tutorial at Sew Mama Sew

Of all the sample bags I made for my Make A Bag series earlier this year, this Cloverleaf Bag is probably the most pinned on Pinterest. 

I never planned to feature it as more than just a worked example for the concept of integrated straps in Chapter 3C so when I made it, I literally cut, shaped and sewed it without a paper pattern. 

Then, earlier in the summer, the good folks at Sew Mama Sew 

invited me to share a tutorial and I thought this could be a project that their readers and mine might enjoy.

This is a reversible bag because it is fully lined. See?

That green elephant-gingham-spotty bag was made with homedec fabric, incidentally. 

But this next one is in quilting cotton just to show you it can be done (and that I really don't hate quilting cotton). Although the straps are  still homedec because you just can't use quilting cotton for squishy straps that have no interfacing in them. Seriously. 

And here's another elephant bag in blinding black and white. 

The Cloverleaf Bag can be even faster to put together if you omit the piping - 


But why would you, since piping makes everything superior?

And not only for aesthetic purposes - piping provides support, so you get crisp edges and sturdy bases.

And just because I've been asked before why I don't always cut my piping fabric on the bias, here is my answer: because I CAN. It gives me options for how the piping looks with the print in the rest of the project.

I mean, can you imagine if I'd use the bias pattern of that grey gingham print to pipe this fabric combination? Travesty.

Anyway, back to the tutorial. If you want to learn how to make this bag with its cloverleaf opening

and its asymmetrical straps

that are also crazy-loopy 

and which is also reversible,

Remember: it's for non-commercial use only, meaning that you are welcome to make as many as you like for yourself or gifts but not to sell.

Hey, Grandma G - this photo is for you: check out that seam! Hahaha! 

And if you've made it this far through that overload of photos, here's one more:

Those two bags need a new home! I have sooooo many bags at home that I can't afford to keep every single tutorial and pattern sample I make. So if you'd like to adopt these, you can find them in my etsy shop

Update (11 am): The Cloverleaf Bags have been sold.

Update 2021: The Sew Mama Sew (SMS) website is no longer active, unfortunately. However, you can still access this free tutorial, as well as my other tutorials which had been featured on the SMS website. See this more recent post for details and links to those tutorials.



  1. I love the simplicity of this bag and am glad you shared! It's so similar to a bag I make for myself...when one gets worn out, I just make another. Will give it a try! :o)
    Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces

  2. I love you for sharing this patten and how to make it! you are a sweet person just as your blog!

  3. thank you for the amazing work you do, preparing these tutorials with gorgeous photos and excellent attention to detail. this bag looks very simple, and sophisticated.. thank you for the tutorial!

  4. Hi, hi! I saw the green elephant bag on the promo email from Sew Mama Sew and I knew immediately it was one of yours, before I even read the blurb :). You've a signature all of your own! Sorry I have been MIA from here for so long...otherwise I would have recognised it half a second faster ;). I recently spent too much money on IKEA remnant fabric, meaning to make bags for Christmas presents. Now I know where to go to for the patterns! Thanx, LiEr. As always, you are a wonder :)

  5. Hi LiEr, I've been looking for hours trying to find your tutorial / pattern for the cloverleaf bag (not that I mind going through all of your blogs looking at all the wonderful things you have made), I really want to make one to hold all my knitting tools and yarn. appears sew mama sew no longer exists. is this a pattern I can purchase from you? I'm in love with this bag!

    1. Unknown: Hello! I hope you get this message. The tutorial is still free but you're right about the SMS website being down. I've written a recent post about how to access those old tutorials here:


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