Art Quilted Bowler Bag – Part 1

My favourite style of bag is the ‘Bowler’. This pattern is my design and it’s strong since the fabric is actually multi-layered art work. Let me share part 1 of the Art Quilted Bowler Bag with you.

It’s not a bought fabric print; it’s all original design in sewing; free-motion quilting technique. I personally hate wimpy slouchy purses but I also don’t have a professional machine to sew cowhide so that’s what led to this design, as it employs the fact that the ‘Roses’ are actually making the fabric much stronger than it was. Who says utilitarian needs to be ugly?!

As for supplies, much can come from upCycling!


  • Various pieces of denim/old jeans
  • Threads of various Blues
  • Scissors/Rotary cutter
  • 4 – 1″ D-Rings
  • Pins or clips
  • 2 Zippers (at least 12″, over-length are fine)
  • 1/4 yard Fusible Web
  • 2 – Clasp-Clips with 1″ ends
  • Sewing Machine with basic presser foot
  • Free-Motion (darning) Presser foot
  • 5-6″ Zipper for inside pocket
  • 1 yard of 1/4″ID vinyl tubing
  • Lining Fabric
  • 8″ of 1/4″ ribbon
  • Thin leather or Imitation Leather (trim, straps & bottom)

First, you will need the pattern! I made sure the pattern worked out and it’s available to download here:

Make sure you print it without scaling and notice the fold lines (place on fold)

  1. Cut the 2 side pieces out of denim, make slightly (1/2″) oversized at first (to allow recutting after quilting)
  2. Double if added strength is desired
  3. Assemble a variety of blues of denim scraps
  4. Iron some fusible web to the back of these pieces (about 6″ x 8″ pieces)
  5. Use backing sheet provided or parchment paper to avoid it sticking to iron
  6. Notice fabric now has a shiny back layer which makes it now able to be adhered by ironing

Step 2: Creating the Images & Strengthening Sides

This ‘Rose’ pattern is really easy as they are just odd shapes of varying tones of blue. Any geometric shape can also work if flowers are not your thing. This is called Art Quilting.

  1. Cut random ‘squiggles’ and place on fabric
  2. Cut leaf shapes as well
  3. Look at images of roses for inspiration
  4. Keep Lighter & larger pieces on outside of shapes
  5. Using Parchment paper Iron to adhere to fabric
  6. Adjust Sewing machine to settings for darning (ie, feed dogs lowered) and install free-motion/darning foot or another method depending on machine (most can adapt in some way)
  7. Move fabric around while sewing, somewhat like ‘doodling’ with a sewing machine. Don’t be too fussy as it’s supposed to look sketchy!
  8. Using different colours of thread will add interest as well.
  9. Admire your roses!

Step 3: Adding the Zippers

Using the Pattern again, recut to exact size. This pattern is a great shape as it sits flat and has minimal pieces. Less pieces means less chance of breakage.

  1. Cut Zipper at end stops and melt with lighter to stop fraying
  2. Mark top center (notch) and sew 1 zipper from center top on each side
  3. Leave extra zipper length for now

Wasn’t that pretty easy?! My mother used to do traditional quilting by sewing many many pieces together; it was nice but I like the way this is more like ‘painting’! I started with this design since you really can’t go wrong. ‘But definitely there’s millions of options…

Grab your old jeans and get sewing! Part 2 will be available soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Thanks Barb once again for a wonderful project. I just love everything you do! In the fall I’m going to try a free motion bowling bag.
    Thanks for the inspiration,

    1. There’s all kinds of images that can work for this. Furry animals, geometric shapes, even some added printed fabrics. There’s no wrong way… just like art & paintings

  2. very clever..and thank you so much for sharing. Not sure I will make it but loved what you have achieved.

  3. Thank you so much for posting your projects and ideas! I’ve tried the eco printing with some success and as a felt maker I’m into dyeing silk and other fabrics. I really appreciate your blog!!