The latest addition to our ‘Covid 19 warrior projects’ is this decorative up-cycled stash bag, made with fabrics from our stash or clothing cast-offs that we can cut up into workable pieces . Garments such as old jeans, cotton dresses and shirts are ideal!

Decorative up-cycled stash bag, featuring cathedral windows and diamond pin tucks.


Other projects have included our ‘fitted face mask’‘reversible peg bag’,  circular bag project’ and our ‘simple six pocket bag project’; all designed to bring us together with a common goal in mind.

With a deep main compartment and six exterior pockets, you won’t be short on storage. The pockets of the simply sewn bag are cleverly formed when the straps are attached—no additional sewing necessary. This time however we are going to add some decorative elements in the form of cathedral windows and diamond pin-tucks to each pocket. This sewing project will stretch the adventurous beginner, becoming as eye-catching as it is practical.


 Equipment you will need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Quilter’s pins
  • Mini clips – (these are similar to small bulldog clips and are used to hold multiple layers together)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • 6” (15 cm) sewing gauge
  • Fabric shears or scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Heat erasable marker pen
  • 36” (90 cm ) Fusible web (optional)

Fabric requirements for decorative bag pockets 

Fabric A – Cut four 9” x 12” ( 23cm x 30 cm) rectangles; these  will make the diamond pin-tucks for the side pockets.

Fabric B –  Cut four 9” x 6” ( 23cm x 15cm) bias pieces; these will make both front and back cathedral windows. )

Fabric C – Cut two  9” x 6”  ( 23cm x 15cm) rectangles; these will peep through the windows.

Pocket lining fabric – Cut four 18” x 9″ ( 45cm x 23cm) rectangles for pocket base and linings. (These will replace the 18” x 17” pocket pieces from the original simple six pocket bag.)


Remaining Fabric requirements 

Fabric C – Cut two 18” x 21” ( 45cm x 53 cm) main bag fabric / lining; label each piece

Straps – cut two 34 – 36” x 4” (85cm – 90 cm x 10 cm ) lengths in contrast of your choice or use two co-ordinating fabrics for a two tone handle ; label each piece

Decovil light or Decovil 1- Cut two 10.5” x 18” for the interlining. These are both fusible and will give a firmer shape than the Thermolam we used in the simple six pocket bag, although more of a challenge to turn through and work with in general.

Before you begin 

  • Bag size: 8” x 14” x 4” (21cm x 35.5 cm x 10cm)
  • Measurements include 1/2” (12 mm) seam allowances.
  • Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Make a bias pattern piece

Most of the pattern pieces are cut with the straight edges parallel to the selvage. However, the pieces we need to create the panels for the cathedral windows need to be cut on the bias or diagonal grain.

  • Draw out a rectangle on an A4 sheet of paper, 6″ x  9″ (23cm x 15 cm)
  • Fold the paper diagonally across so that the bottom edge lines up to the side edge; crease in this fold so that it ends in a point. That crease line will be your bias line so use a ruler to aid marking this on to your pattern.

pattern placed on fabric’s bias grain


Use stitch and tear backing under straight grain strip before sewing a decorative stitch down the centre. This will sit behind the windows


Press each bias strip in half length ways and position on top of the decorative strip; place the two folds towards the centre. Machine baste around the outside edges to hold in place. Then divide the length into 2 3/4″  (7 cm) sections


set machine to a zigzag – stitch width 2.0 stitch length 0.2; sew bar tack across marked divisions to anchor folds together


Press open each side between the segments to create an oval window


Completed windows; these can be left with the 3D effect or topstitched down, using a figure of eight formation.


Diamond pin tucks

Using your 9” x 12” ( 23cm x 30 cm) rectangles, draw out twelve 1″ divisions lengthwise. Mark 1/2″ allowances at top and bottom edges and four 2″ divisions across the width. Plain fabric has been used for clarity. Use a heat erasable marker pen for this.


Draw out twelve 1″ divisions lengthwise. Mark 1/2″ allowances at top and bottom edges and four 2″ divisions across the width


Sew 1/4″ (6mm) tucks down each division


Sew across each division starting 1/2″ in from edge, alternating the direction of each pair of tucks


One completed; sew four in total


Pocket construction details

Take one of your pocket linings; place the diamond pin tucks at each end, ensuring they match up to the base below. Then place the cathedral window panel in the centre. Pin in position and sew around all the edges using a narrow seam. Use a zigzag stitch of 4 width and 4 length to anchor each panel to the base below.


Take one pocket lining and place the diamond pin tucks at each end


Place the cathedral window panel in the centre. Zigzag down panels to hold in place


Pocket sections anchored around edges and centre sections


Remaining pocket lining attached and pressed


Bag assembly

Once the pocket has been completed and lined. Assemble the bag following the instructions for the simple six pocket bag. Pics that follow are detailing features and tips to help you to work with layers of fabrics.

Two tone strap detail matched at pocket edge


Middle strap partially sewn before placing over main bag section, which has had decovil pressed to the underside, and top stitched into place


Change thread colour to match


Mini clips used to hold layers in place


use a folded piece of fabric under the back of the foot to help keep the foot level on bulky fabrics and improve feed


Mark and sew across corners to make bag shape


I hope you enjoy the challenge of putting this bag together. Let us have your pics of completed projects by mailing so that we can include them in our Covid warrior gallery!

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