My Tortoise Bag Pair ~ A Sew Sweetness Pattern

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Now that photos are uploading on my site again without issues I can share my new Tortoise Bags with you!  This is a new pattern from Sew Sweetness and if you love to carry a nice roomy bag you have to make this!
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The Tortoise Bag comes in 3 sizes but because I am a big bag kinda gal I started off making the large (left). I used some of the Indelible  fabric line by Katarina Rocella and Essex Yarn Dyed metallic from Robert Kaufman for the exterior and a perfect matching Fantasia print by Sew Sweetness herself.

  • small 9” long x 9” high x 5” deep                                              (23cm x 23cm x 12.7cm)
  • medium 11-1/2” long x 8-1/2” high x 6-1/4” deep                (29cm x 21.6cm x 16cm)
  • large 13” long x 11” high x 7” deep                                           (33cm x 28cm x 18cm)

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I love the shape of the Tortoise. It has a bowler bag type of look, and when you’re carrying it it still has a small look to it. BUT. That double zippered curved opening lets you pack it full! Sooo roomy! A zippered pocket was installed in the back, but you could easily add pockets instead.  The front dips down enough that I don’t think a pocket or zippered pocket would be ideal.  The sides though are fair game.


For the large version, I attached rings on the side to allow for a long adjustable strap.  The medium (red) one I am carrying as my own bag so I opted to leave the side strap off.  You’ll notice on both bags the piping added on the sides.

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If you are not comfortable with sewing piping you can easily leave it off, but I really think the final look is more polished with it on. Here’s a shot during the process.  It really isn’t as hard as it looks. Slow and steady and lots of clips!

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Both my tester bags are quilted with 2″ spacing.  Because I’m using cotton fabrics for my exterior I fused Pellon SF101 first to the fabric then added sew-in by Annie’s Soft & Stable.  To help everything stay put as I quilted the pieces I used a little bit of temporary basting spray.  I LOVE this bag quilted.  Vera Bradley – watch out!

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The toughest part of this pattern is the exterior bag zipper installation. Don’t let it scare you though!  The steps are clear cut and even if it feels like you’re doing something wrong, it will look awesome when it’s done! Here’s a shot of the step when I just completed the main bag body. It’s important to keep the zipper still as you sew it down.  Use double sided tape, pins or your favorite zipper techniques to keep everything from moving as you sew.

I would rate this pattern for intermediate sewists.  The knowledge of adding piping and curved zipper installation is a must.


Check out Sara’s blog post HERE to see all the tester bags and grab the pattern!

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