At the end of my last post I had cut out some fabric ready to make a handbag using the Phoebe Bag free pattern found on Pinterest.

This is what it looks like with all the pieces assembled!

I love the shape, it’s just what I was looking for; slightly rounded bottom corners, a narrower top, a perfect length shoulder strap and a neat fastening.

Rebeka Lambert’s tutorial for the Phoebe Bag was so easy to follow, with clear step-by-step instructions and a printable pattern – I’d highly recommend it.

I did make a few changes. The interfacing I used was quite padded and I also included two inner layers of lining fabric to stiffen it. I like that it holds its shape without collapsing.

My auntie kindly showed me how to appliqué the flowers as she’s been making them as brooches. I thought I’d share the process with you because they really are simple and look so cheerful on a bag like this. This is, of course, not the only way to go about appliqué but it worked for me!

Flower appliqué tutorial


#1 – Select your scraps

Probably the most difficult bit of the whole process – deciding which colours to use together! I rifled through the scraps box for a good half an hour wavering between pastel shades and bright patterns before deciding on the latter.

#2 – Draw your flowers

Draw out your flowers on the non sticky side of a piece of fusible interfacing such as Vilene. The stiffness of the interfacing depends on what you intend to do with your appliqué flowers. Mine was quite thin but could have done with being a bit thicker.

Once you’re happy with your flower shapes, cut them out but don’t cut right up to the lines. A circle around the flower will do. Iron them on to the wrong side of your chosen scraps. To avoid the iron getting sticky, use another piece of spare fabric on top of the interfacing as you iron.

#3 – Cut out your appliqué flowers

Once your interfacing is securely stuck on, you can cut out the flowers with fabric scissors. Here are mine all lined up on the arm of the chair. I chose to do a variety of sizes, but you can keep them all the same, or vary the shape and style.

#4 – Cut out the centres

Repeat steps two and three but this time with circles for the centre of the flowers. I used the same fabric as the lining of my bag to bring the design together.

Place the centres in the middle of the flowers ready to sew.

#5 – Sew the centres

I think that this is where ironing them on with Bondaweb may have been useful to keep them in place, but it wasn’t too difficult without it.

Using the free motion foot on your sewing machine, sew on the centres in a contrasting colour. I’ve used black here. Lower the feed dogs when using the free motion foot to allow you to freely move the fabric around. You needn’t turn the fabric, but instead direct the needle around the edge of the circle by moving it forwards, backwards and side to side smoothly. It reminds me of using an Etch A Sketch!

I stitched once around the centres at this stage.

#6 – Arrange your flowers

Place the flowers on your fabric where you’d like them to be sewn. I’ve arranged mine on the front piece of my bag. Play around with the arrangement until you’ve got it exactly how you want it. I had originally thought I’d sew the flowers over one another in a bunch, but it didn’t look quite right when I tried it.

You can pin or tack on the flowers to keep them in position while you sew the others.

#7 – Sew on the flowers

If you haven’t used a particularly stiff interfacing, you may need to put something underneath to stop the machine bunching the fabric as you sew. A tear away stabilizer should do the trick. It’s a bit like paper and, as the name suggests, just tears away from the underside of the fabric once you’ve stitched on your appliqué.

I sewed twice around the edge of my flowers, and then once more around the middle as they’d already been stitched once.

Don’t they look pretty!

You can then use your appliqued fabric to make up whatever project you’re working on.

I’m so pleased with my lovely flower bag!

This isn’t all I’ve been working on this weekend, I’ll be back later in the week with some photos of our sunny walk and some half-finished projects!

Feel free to pin from this post on Pinterest and a little share on Facebook would make my day 😀

I’m sharing today’s post on the following blogs: Handmade Harbour, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.


Super tutorial and stunning photos! I also love your Singer Sewing Machine, it looks beautiful on the window sill. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post x

Clare your bag is lovely, very well executed. I also like the Singer on the window sill, would loveto have one but have no sills x Look forward to your next blog xxx

Clare you really are a lady of many talents. This is gorgeous and your instructions make it sound so easy but I fear I would not end up with such a lovely creation!

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