A Twilight Fashion Blog

DIY BELLA’S BROWN TOTE BAG! :)

Hey everyone!!! I know you have been patiently waiting on directions on how to make Bella’s brown, leather, peacock feather tote bag, (My internet was awful yesterday and I tried to update with my moms blackberry – didn’t work so much) so without any further wait!

(Please Click the link for the etsy website – It cites the person who makes the ORIGINAL bag, and it also gives you more pictures for references πŸ™‚

Etsy –

Disclaimer! – This is not my bag design, nor do i own any rights to the original bag!

– I’m also not that good at sewing – so i take a couple of short cuts that are easier for me πŸ™‚ – this is the way that i made my bag – it is fully functional πŸ™‚ You may have a different way of making the bag that may be easier, or you may know exactly how to make the bag perfectly – in that case, that’s great! – feel free to comment and share different ways of making the bag, but please be kind, I’m not a master sewer :p

With that said, Lets get started πŸ™‚

Materials Needed :

  • 2 yrds Leather or Faux Leather ( I actually bought 3 yards – i mess up alot, but two is just as good πŸ™‚ – I also bought Faux leather – cheaper and easier πŸ™‚ )
  • 1 yrd blue fabric
  • 1 small zipper (I have the “invisible zipper” )
  • Orange durable thread
  • White acrylic paint (I used Liquitex brand – its a good quality and is very flexible an does not chip, though I’m sure anything will be fine)
  • Cerulean Blue Acrylic Paint
  • 4 Gold Metal Rings (used for Purses and Tote bags)
  • 50 Silver or Gold Studs (I could only find silver so i spray painted them gold)
  • paint brush ( for the paint)
  • transfer paper (You can find it at art stores or in art sections of craft stores – it has a layer of chalk on it)
  • 1 Magnetic snap button
  • white chalk

Okay! Ready?

Grab a piece of paper – or cardboard, something durable you can cut through. (i did this part by eye)

The measurements of the bag are 16″x14″ Β Draw half of the shape on the paper – 16″x7″ but make sure you give an inch on each side of the stencil except for the top where straps are attached – this is because you will be sewing sides and the middle together, and you want that extra give of fabric – so your measurements should be Β  17″x9″ for the stencil.

It should look like this πŸ™‚

Take your leather fabric and fold it over, the leather part being on the inside, and make a crease (Make sure your fabric is lined up evenly so when you trace cut and unfold what you have cut, you have two shapes attached). Line your stencil up to the crease of the fabric (The “middle” edge of the stencil should be placed up against the crease of the fabric)

With your chalk, trace around the stencil, then carefully cut out both layers of the fabric.

unfolded, the fabric piece should look exactly like the front and back pieces of the bag.

Where the fabric was folded, cut along the crease line so you have two pieces. Make sure to mark the edges of which side the crease was on – this is because you are going to sew them back together, and you want to make sure you sew the correct edges.

Repeat the whole tracing step and cutting step again. at the end of this, you should have 4 half pieces.

Get your sewing machine together with the orange thread, and sew the “middle” edges together, the “inside out” method, so there is a clean seam.

You will now have to pieces, the front piece and the back piece.

Take one of the two pieces, and more of the leather fabric, and use the sewn piece as another stencil. (this time, you do not have to fold the fabric) Trace the top part of the sewn piece, and only trace about a quarter of the way down :

repeat that step so you have two πŸ™‚ – this is for the inner lining of the bag

Grab your blue fabric now. (you can still use the orange thread for this part, or you can use blue to match)

cut two pieces out, these pieces can be 16″x14″.

cut two more shapes out of the blue fabric. this is for the inner pocket in the inside of the bag. it could be as big and wide as you would like it to be. I made mine about 4 to 5 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

Sew the small little inner pocket together first – remember to keep a side opened for the zipper!

Next, sew the zipper to the pocket – you can fold down the edges to make a clean edge.

Now, take one of the blue fabric pieces used to line the bag, and make a slit in the fabric to the size of the pocket you wish to insert. – i placed mine about 2 inches down from the top of the blue fabric, and right in the middle.

Sew the zipper to the bag – keep in mind that the messy seam side of the pocket and lining will be facing outward, it will be placed inside the bag, so you will only see the pretty inside.

now that you have the inner lining together, take the small leather pieces you had cut, and blue lining to it. You must be very careful doing this:

The blue fabric will be BEHIND the leather, and the stitching about an inch from the bottom – there will extra leather on the ends. Make sure to line the fabric up in the middle of the leather:

Do not sew the leather side flaps together yet!

take the leather front and back pieces of the bag, and stitch down the middle right next to the seam. do this twice on each piece so the seam is right between these decorative stitches :

– preferably a lot straiter that than that :p

Now Sew the bag together, STARTING FROM THE SIDES! The sides actually do not have a clean seam if you look closely, so this will be pretty easy! just sew them together, you do not have to turn anything inside out πŸ™‚

Once you have the two sides stitched together, Stitch the bottom. This IS a clean seam, so turn the bag inside out, making sure that the side seams are pointing to the back of the bag (decide which side you want as the back ^^)

Still with me?

you now have the outer part of the bag! πŸ˜€

Now what you have to do, is place the blue lining in, make sure the messy seams are facing outward πŸ™‚

Line the inner leather lining up with the leather lining of the bag. Now, for the tricky part!

Fold over the extra leather pieces on the inside of the bag to make a clean seem. (make sure you pin them in place πŸ™‚ )

Sew along the whole top of the bag, maybe a quarter of an inch in from the edge. follow the whole edge, over the seams, and up and down the areas where the straps will be.

DONT WORRY if the edges become a little messy and little bit uneven with each other. i just trimmed mine after i was completely done πŸ™‚

For the rest of the extra inner leather that is not quite attached to anything, i just took my hot glue gun, and attached the rest of the folded seem together.

If you haven’t thrown the pieces of the bag at the wall out of aggravation yet, congrats! you have a lot more patience than i did! :p

Half way there! πŸ™‚

Go back to your leather fabric, and cut two straps out, for the shoulder straps. I made them about an inch wide and 25 inches long

– you can fold the fabric over again and cut out the straps, having them double sided, like i did.

after you cut out the straps, round the edges like they look on the bag.

now cut out 4 more straps the same way, but smaller, about 5 inches long. round the edges.

sew around all the straps, following the edge, just like you did with the top edge of the bag.

Get your gold rings and small straps out. place the small strap through the gold ring, and “close” the strap around the ring. make sure to not perfectly line the strap up. make it about an inch off :


Stitch the strap closed where you will be placing the studs, so you do not see any stitching.

Now attach the piece to the bag, again, by stitching where the studs will be. Do this will all four rings – Dont forget to put the rings in!

Now, take the shoulder straps, and do pretty much the same exact thing! πŸ™‚

After this is all set, What I did was took my hot glue gun, and sealed all of the opened seams. Around the top of the bag and the straps, just to make it look a little neater – πŸ™‚

Now take your studs – if they are silver, spray paint them first – shouldn’t take too long πŸ™‚

take your studs and hot glue them over the little stitches you used to attached the straps. make sure to take a good look at the bag so you don’t miss a spot! πŸ™‚

Grab the magnetic buttons and either sew them or hot glue them to the inside of the bag πŸ™‚ (i did a little bit of both)

Now for the feather! πŸ™‚

What i did was take the feather from the the picture of the bag and i blew it up a little bit on my computer – i have photoshop, so i was able to type in the exact measurement of how big i wanted it to be. i think i got it about 6″ tall.

I printed it out and grabbedΒ my transfer paper. I also grabbed a couple of CD cases… yes… CD cases. I slid the cases inside the bag so i would have something firm to trace and paint on. I placed the transfer paper chalk side down, and then lined up the picture exactly where i wanted it on the bag.

I took a pen and very carefully but with pleasure, traced the feather.

I then took my paint and mixed it to the color i wanted. I then painted it on.

Unfortunately, my sewing machine was acting up – some of the stitching was pulled :/ – still turned out great though πŸ™‚Β 

I dont know why my bag came out looking so dark in the pictures… i apologize, it really isnt that dark.

I wish you all luck on making your bags! I know it may seem confusing, so if you have any questions, feel free to comment or email!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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24 responses

  1. Isabella L.

    wow u did soooo well thats amazing, i dont know hot to sew and we only have a really tiny sewing machine would it still work?beautifully done.

    July 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    • Christi

      Thanks for the compliments! πŸ™‚ I’m not a sewing expert, so I’m not sure weather or not the little sewing machine will work – I’d say give it a try if you have the means πŸ™‚ – i hardly know how to sew either, i kind of just fiddle around with everything until it looks right – thats why i buy so much extra fabric…i mess up alot! haha

      July 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm

  2. ginger

    wow!! it looks GREAT!! good job! i can’t sew/create anything for crap, so i will just envy you and your craftiness and buy one of my own when i have some cash! *ahahahha… good job πŸ™‚ Happy 4th! πŸ™‚

    July 4, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    • Christi

      Hahaha thanks :p – i would totally make one for you…but i think i’d get in trouble for it @_@ – and i don’t think i could go through the frustration again haha i can see why the bag is being sold for around 200.00! theres a lot of work involved! Happy 4th to you as well! πŸ™‚

      July 4, 2010 at 10:18 pm

  3. Autumn

    I really like the way the purse you made turned out! πŸ˜€ This should be fun to try. Do you think sewing it by hand would also work?

    July 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    • Christi

      I think sewing by hand would work as well πŸ™‚ – it would just take ALOT of patience – before i had my sewing machine i used to sew everything by hand, so I’m quite fond of it. As long as you know how to make a good, strong stitch, the bag will be great :)! Good luck!! πŸ™‚

      July 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm

  4. Nicole

    Your bag looks great =)
    It’s nice to know that you’re not an expert at sewing and can still do it. it gives me some hope. I just don’t have a sewing machine, but I do have an aunt who might be crazy enough to help me =p
    Do you think the feather thing will also work with t-shirt transfer paper? you know, the paper you print your design on and then iron it on the shirt (or in this case the bag)? I do have acrylic paint, I just don’t know if my hand will be steady enough for the details in the feather πŸ˜‰

    July 6, 2010 at 8:11 am

    • Christi

      Thank you so much for the compliment πŸ™‚ and i wish you luck with your bag!! The only reason i did not suggest the iron on transfer paper is because i dont know how well Leather takes to heat – i was afraid it would melt – especially since the material i used was Faux leather – you can deffinitely try on a test piece though! if you do, let me know how it comes out! πŸ˜€

      July 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

      • Nicole

        great tip to try it on a test piece first!
        I’m gonna ask my aunt someday soon if she would like to help me and if/when we start I’ll let you know!
        and thansk for this guide, I really like her bag, but can’t afford the real one

        July 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

  5. It looks great! I need to get a sewing machine so I can make on.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:30 am

    • Christi

      πŸ˜€ Good luck! :D:D

      July 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm

  6. Christi

    i cant afford it either! so expensive, but i can see why! it s alot of hard work!

    July 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

  7. Brooke

    Wow, such an awsome job!!
    I’m going to make it myself, but where did you find gold studs? I have everything but those.
    Thanks (:

    July 18, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    • Christi

      Thanks! πŸ™‚ – i got the gold studs at Joanne Fabrics – they were actually silver and i spray painted them gold – you can also get the actual studs – I’m not sure what they are called, but they actually attach fabric and connect to each other on the other side of the fabric, almost like a pin. You can find those at Michael’s, though you need a tool to insert them – i just stuck with the studs because it was cheaper πŸ™‚ let me know if you have any more questions ^^ you can email me at twifashion@gmail.com πŸ™‚

      July 19, 2010 at 8:37 am

  8. ginger

    SOOOOOOO…. got my bag on Saturday! !!!! Ordered it from the gal who made the one in the movie….. and I’m not ashamed to admit I hugged my bag!!!! LOL!!!!
    Contact her, Angie, she let me make payments! !!!!

    One happy camper!!!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    • Christi

      omg thats awesome i bet its amazing!

      August 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm

  9. Katy

    Your bag is great! I’m really impressed by people creating their own versions of the Twi-items rather than just purchasing the originals. I like the creativity ^^
    Could you post the stencil/image you used for the feather?
    Thanks!

    January 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    • Bells

      I will try! πŸ™‚ – i maaay have gotten rid of it :/ – if thats the case ill draw another one up! πŸ™‚

      January 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    • Bells

      And thanks for the compliments! :)!

      January 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm

  10. Hi

    this is so annoying. i suck at sewing.

    February 3, 2011 at 3:01 am

    • Bells

      lol aaaw im sorry!

      February 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

  11. um i was wondering if you would make a tutorial for this cuz i would love to make one bu im a little confused i understand if you dont want to πŸ™‚ p.s. ur bag looks great

    November 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

  12. bella

    I’m from Germany.. I have a problem, you had written 16×14 but I don’t know the unit of measurement, can you help me please?
    Greetings from Germany
    You did a very good job πŸ™‚

    April 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

    • Bells

      Those are inches! I’m not quite sure what into of measurement you use :/ you can probably find a converter online πŸ™‚

      May 31, 2013 at 4:03 pm

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