Creative articles about sewing

“Book Worm” Library Bag Tutorial

“Book Worm” Library Bag



The new school year has just started here in Australia and I had a request from my daughter Lily for a new Library Bag.  The last one I made for her was back in Prep and it was a big bag to cater for the picture books she would be bringing home at the time.  Lily has informed me that she is now a “big girl” and is reading Junior Fiction, so maybe a smaller Library Bag would be better.  I love that this child loves ‘handmade’ so I set about making her a new Library Bag and would like to share it with you today.

Please read all instructions before starting and all seam allowances are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.


Twenty (20) assorted 2″ coloured Squares

Ten (10) assorted 2.5″ coloured square

Ten (10) white 2.5″ squares

One (1) 5″ centre square of feature fabric or an embroidered design*

1st Border – White

Two (2) 11″ x 1″ strips (a)

Two (2) 12″ x 1″ strips (b)

2nd Border – Coloured

Two (2) 12″ x 2.5″  border strips (c)

Two (2) 16″ x 2.5″  border strips (d)

Two (2) 2″ x 12″ rectangles (contrasting casing fabric)

One (1) 16″ Square (Bag Back) (e)

One (1) 16″ x 32″ rectangle (Bag Lining) (f)

40″ Cording

16″ square of Parlan (light fusible bating/wadding)

Optional – DMC thread for hand quilting


Making your Half Square triangles:

On the wrong side of your ten (10) 2.5″ white squares draw a diagonal line from one point to another using a pencil.

Take one, place it right sides facing with a coloured 2.5″ square.

With your sewing machine sew a 1/4″ each side of the drawn line.

With your rotary cutter, cut along the drawn line. Open and press.

Check your HST and trim to 2″ square.

Repeat for all 10.

half square triangles

Embroidered Design*

For the centre I have taken one of the designs from the “Current Calendar” Collection 78520. The selected design is CC85269.

Once you have stitched out your design centre it and trim back to 5″ square.

I have used my Bernina 570QE and Embroidery Unit.



Lay out all you 2″ squares and 2″ Half Square triangles as pictured, playing with the colour placement. If you would like to check that you have a nice balance in colour placement take a black and white photo with your phone/Ipad.

Blog pic 1


Sew together in rows to form your pieced centre of your Library Bag.



Adding Borders

Take your two border strips (a) and sew one to the top and one to the bottom of your pieced panel. Press.

Take your two border strips (b) and sew one to each side of your pieced panel. Press.

Take your two border strips (c) and sew one to the top and bottom of your square. Press.

Take your two border strips (d) and sew one to each side of your panel. Press.

Iron on your piece of Parlan to the back of your panel and quilt as desired.

I have machine quilted around the outside of the centre square and around the 1st borders with my sewing machine and then added some hand quilting just inside the white corner units, around the centre square and diagonally in a cross across the squares.



Take the Two (2) 2″ x 12″ rectangles (contrasting casing fabric) and at each of the short ends fold over 1/4″ and press. Fold another 1/4″ and press again. Take to your sewing machine and top stitch down as pictured.


Take the two units back to your sewing machine and fold each of the long sides in approx. 1.4″ and press.



Position one centred across the bag front, 3/4″ down from the top and sew into place along both long sides. Repeat for the back of the bag.

Lay the front panel of your bag right sides together with the back of the bag (e) ensuring that the casings are at the top and sew together along both sides and the bottom. Leaving the top open.

Take your bag lining (f) and fold in half, right sides together making a square of 16″ x 16″. With the fold to the bottom sew alone one complete side. On the other side, sew down approx. 5″, leave a gap of approx. 4″ and sew the remaining. This creates a turning gap for later.

With your outer bag right side out, slide it into the bag lining that has right sides facing in (Both right sides should be facing), pin around the top and sew with your sewing machine.

Turn the bag right sides out through the turning gap and press.  At the top of your Library Bag, machine stitch the seam to add a neat finished look.

Either machine stitch or hand stitch the turning gap closed.

Take the 40″ of cording and cut in half creating 2 x 20″ lengths.  Tip: wrap a little tape around the cut ends to stop the card from unravelling.  Starting with the front of the bag facing you, thread one piece of cord from the left hand side through to the right hand side (front casing) and then through the casing at the back of the bag forming a loop. Tie at the end. Repeat this process starting at the right hand side, through the casing to the left and then through the casing at the bag making another loop but in the opposite direction. Tie at the end.


Congratulations your now have a fresh new library bag for that someone special in your life.

By changing the centre of this bag you could change the theme and maybe make a Shoe Bag, Toiletry Bag or even a bag for toys.

You really are only limited by your imagination. Have fun in adding that little bit of ‘handmade’ to someones life.


I hope that you enjoy this tutorial and remember to always …

“Create what YOU love”,

hugs Sharon x

Lilabelle Lane Creations


Free sewing instructions: How to sew a “Book Worm” Library Bag

Difficulty level: Beginner
Time to Complete: Weekend
Used Products:
Embroidery Foot #6
Embroidery Foot #6
Patchwork Foot #37
Patchwork Foot #37
Medium hoop
Medium hoop

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