Bollywood Bag


  • Plain and patterned fabrics in silk, cotton and cotton blends will work best for this bag
  • Beads, sequins, tiny mirrors
  • Metallic thread to decorate (optional)
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacing
  • Seed beads
  • Embroidery silk
  • Large bead or button

Skill Level


You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Bollywood Bag

Strong colours, gorgeous patterned fabrics and a little sparkle, give a very fashionable 'Bollywood' feel to this cute, clutch bag. The perfect accessory for an evening out on the town; add just a few, or as many embellishments as you like. A thrift shop or car-boot sale may turn up some unusual clasps. Hand-sew the small pieces of fabric and machine-stitch the lining.

  1. Use the template and transfer measurements onto your pieces of fabric, then cut out each section. First, make up the front flap by stitching pieces A and B together along their common edge, joining pieces D and E in the same way, and then the patches marked C and F. Iron the seams flat. Pin and then stitch the piece you made from A and B to the D/E section along their common edge. Again, press the seam, before joining to patch C/F. Set the finished front flap aside. Construct the back of your bag in the same way, joining patches G and H, K and L, and then J and M. Sew the combined G/H section to patch K/L and then join these to J/M, ironing all seams as you work.
  2. To fit the front inner sections together, stitch pieces N and P along their common edge, and sew Q and S either side of patch R. Press, then join the two sections together with one final seam.
  3. Along the edges marked on the templates, pin and then stitch the top and bottom seam edges together, to make one large piece of patchwork.
  4. Before you add the lining to your bag, decorate the front flap with sequins or seed beads. Alternatively, outline sections of pattern with small gold-thread chain stitches, or attach tiny mirrors using Indian Shisha stitch.
  5. When you've finished decorating the front flap, cut a 24 x 35cm rectangle from plain fabric and another from heavyweight fusible interfacing. Iron them together. Then, with right sides together, pin to your patchwork. Leaving a gap for turning at the front inner edge, stitch around all sides. Trim the seams, snip the corners and turn the right way out. Press, then slipstitch the turning gap to close.
  6. With the lining inside, fold along the top and bottom seams to form the shape of your finished bag. Pin the back and front inner together along side seams and then sew, catching a seed bead into each stitch.
  7. Sew a bead to the front, just above the bottom seam in the centre. At the lower edge of front flap, use embroidery thread to stitch a buttonhole loop just large enough to hook around the bead or button

EASY TIP - To help you keep track of the fabric pieces as you cut them out, write the template letters on mini Post-It notes and stick them onto the relevant patches.

How to work Shisha

Bollywood Bag

Shisha is the Indian word for mirror, and although you can buy these tiny reflectors ready stitched, sewing on your own is easy and allows you to pick the perfect thread colour for your bag.

  1. Hold the mirror in place on the fabric and, using embroidery silk, make two long stitches, one either side of the mirror (Figure 1).
  2. Bring the needle up through the fabric and then take it over and down through the first long stitch, over and down through the second long stitch and then finally back through the fabric (Figure 2).
  3. Now repeat step two on the opposite side (Figure 3).
  4. Bring the needle back up alongside one of your corner stitches. Holding the thread to the left of the mirror, take the needle down and under the corner stitch and pull the thread flat (Figure 4).
  5. Make a small chain stitch in the fabric along the edge of the mirror, and then repeat step 4, this time taking the needle down and through one of the side sections of thread (Figure 5).
  6. Sew another chain stitch to move you further around the mirror, and keep doing this until you end up at your first stitch. Take the needle back down through the fabric and secure the end underneath the mirror (finished stitch).
Bollywood Bag

First published in Popular Patchwork Weekend Projects