Sew with Ribbons—Renaissance Ribbon Bags

Sew with Ribbons—Renaissance Ribbon Bags

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While shopping online for handbag inspirations, my eye caught a bag decked out with ribbon—I also caught the price—$1,300. I knew we had the perfect inspiration to create a bag with my  new line of Renaissance Ribbons at a fraction of the cost.

I never imagined designing a ribbon collection; it was a challenging and creative experience. I chose two of my favorite color palettes: Brown and Blush and Teal and Lime, which are available at Nancy’s Notions and other retailers. You’ll find many opportunities to use these collections in your sewing projects. 

Gather the supplies

  • Start with Clover’s Trace ’n Create Bag Templates—City Bag Collection. (Or, use a bag pattern of your choice.) Gather the fabrics and notions listed on the package back; I selected the Portfolio Plus Bag view.

For additional designer touches, here’s a listing of hardware, notions, and supplies I used for this bag makeover:

  • Teal and Lime Renaissance Ribbon Pack
  • 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge
  • One package Clover Fuse ‘n Bind 1/2″ x 2 yd.
  • Two packages Clovers 1″ Create-a-Strap
  • Clover’s Magnetic Snap Closure
  • Create-a-Strap Interfacing 
  • Wonder Clips
  • 3/4″ Glossy Nickel D-Rings

Trace the Template 

  • Follow the Trace ’n Create Bag Templates—City Bag Collection: Portfolio Plus Bag—with 3″ corner gussets. The instructions will guide you through the easy steps of bag assembly.

Note from Nancy: I widen the top of this first bag 1″ at each side, tapering back to the original width at the base of the bag. Why? Just to make it look more like the inspirational, expensive bag!

  • You will not need a tab or outer snap for this bag makeover, so skip over the instructions for cutting and making the tab and outer snap (Template B).

Add the Ribbon Embellishment

  • Use as little or as many of the ribbons in the new Teal and Lime ribbon pack. The assorted collection offers a variety of widths and colors from which to choose.
  • Audition ribbon placement on the bag fabric.

  • Use the 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge to position and pin ribbons. The first ribbon is positioned 3-1/4″ parallel to the bag top edge.
Note from Nancy: It’s important to stitch the ribbons to the front and back panels at the same position so the side seams will match and make a pleasing wrap around the entire bag.

  • Edgestitch the ribbon using coordinating threads.

Add Inside Support

  • Give your bag body. Trace and cut a layer of Pellon Peltex Ultra Firm Sew-in Stabilizer the same size as the outer front and outer back.

  • Baste the ribbon edges, within the bag side seam allowance.
Attach the Straps
  • Stitch the front and back of the bag together at the lower seam. Use Wonder Clips, instead of pins, to hold the seam.

  • Press the seam allowances open.
  • Reinforce the seam by sewing a line of zigzag stitching over the seam allowances.

Shape the Bag Bottom

  • The secret to achieving a couture look also lies inside the bag. Cut a 3″ x 12″ rectangle of Clover’s Shape ’n Create to give the bag bottom shape and stability.
  • Use Clover’s Double-Sided Basting Tape to “baste” the layers together before stitching. It’s easy to stitch through the Shape ‘n Create, but difficult to pin since pins bend when going through the plastic.
  • Stitch around the plastic.

Note from Nancy: Notice that the Shapen Create plastic does not extend into the side seam.

  • Sew the gusset shape as detailed in the instructions.

Create the Straps

  • Use the directions in the template instructions to cut the bag straps.
  • Apply Create-a-Strap Interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric strap.

  • Fold each long edge towards the interfacing along the perforations.
  • Press.
  • Edgestitch ribbon over the folded edges to give the handles an extra punch of color.
  • Ribbon used in the sample below is 3/8″ wide.
Apply the bag closure

Use the following supplies to create a hanging snap closure at the bag top. I developed this technique after the City Bag templates were released.

  • Clover’s Magnetic Snap Closure
  • Two small strips of fabric: cut 1-1/2″ x 4″
  • Two stiff interfacing pieces: cut 1″ x 2″

  • Fold the fabric in half across the width.
  • Stitch a scant 1/4″ seam allowance on each side to create a tiny pouch.
  • Turn right side out and insert the interfacing into each pouch.

  • Following the instructions in the packaging, attach Clover’s Magnetic Snap Closure 1-1/2″ from top.
  • Baste the open end of the pouches to the bag center front and center back, on the lining.

Line the Bag

  • Place the bag lining into the bag, matching right sides.
  • Apply the binding edge per the template instructions, sewing through the binding, bag, and lining.

  • Fold the binding edge around the cut edges.
  • Use Wonder Clips to secure the binding.
  • Stitch in the ditch to finish the edge.

Attach the straps 

  • Add the 3/4″ D-rings to each strap end.
  • Fold the strap 4″ from the cut edge.
  • Machine stitch each strap at the marked location (from bag template instructions) on the bag front and back.

  • Trim the excess strap leaving a 1/8″–1/4″ seam allowance.

  • Lay the straps flat on the bag and stitch them again, in line with the previous in-the-ditch stitching. This will conceal the cut seam allowance.

Ta-Dah! It’s a fabulous ribbon bag.

Two-Toned Bag Option

Ribbon City Bag | Nancy Zieman | Renaissance RibbonsAdd a two-toned look to your bag by adding a hidden faux seam to the bag front and back. This two-toned bag design features the new Brown and Blush Ribbon Pack to conceal the faux seam.

  • Cut the bag front and back as directed in the template instructions.
  • Cut a second accent color, measuring 4″ from each side seam. For this bag, our accent color is dark brown.

  • Position the accent color over the bag fabric.

  • Pin and baste the two layers together.
  • Use the 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge to ensure that the accent color is equal and level on both sides.
Note from Nancy: The darker fabric is overlayed on top of the base fabric, eliminating a bulky horizontal seam. The ribbons cover the cut edge of the brown fabric. Simple!
  • Audition and position ribbons just as we did with the single color green bag above.
  • Cover the fabric accent overlap with the wide, bold ribbon.
  • The construction steps and ribbon enhancements are the same for finishing this two-toned design.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • Sharon Kirby
    May 23, 2015

    Love the little grommets. They are something different from the usual round ones. It ups the style factor a little.

  • Chris
    May 23, 2015

    Wow! The ribbons really add a lot to the bag.

  • Loretta Headrick
    May 23, 2015

    Thanks, Nancy, for your detailed instructions. I will love making this ribbon tote.

  • Donna fecteau
    May 23, 2015

    They are both beautiful but I think the brown and blush is my favorite

  • Ella Meyers
    May 23, 2015

    What beautiful bags! Makes me want to get my City Bag Templates out and make this bag. I love both ribbon collections but my favorite one is the brown and blush. Thank you for your inspiration.

  • Cathy Rosynek
    May 23, 2015

    Love the teal and lime – what a great combo!

  • Christie Staton
    May 23, 2015

    Beautiful ribbons. I like both, but prefer the teal color way to match my summer sewing. Keep designing, I love being the beneficiary.
    Hope you are continuing to feel better. Prayers still with you and yours.

  • Karen
    May 23, 2015

    My favorite is the Teal and Lime ribbon. Thanks for saving us money too! This way we can make more of them.

  • Kathy
    May 23, 2015

    I love the Red and black bag… I think I might have to get my city bag templates out. Thank you for the instructions.

  • Hope W
    May 23, 2015

    Thanks for a great way to use up some of my ribbon obsession! Did you know, you can turn a placemat into an envelope-style clutch? I did and used wide ribbon to provide an accent as well as hide the magnetic snap closure. It was a fun project

  • Judy
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime. Would like to try applying it to the purse using flatlocking to give it even more pizazz!

  • Judy
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime. Would like to try applying it with flatlocking to give it even more pizazz!

  • AS
    May 23, 2015

    My favorite is teal and lime.

  • BevM
    May 23, 2015

    I would prefer the brown and blush. Blues and teals are my favorite colors, but I do not like lime or any yellow-green colors.

  • Mary B
    May 23, 2015

    I agree with others they are both beautiful but think the green/pink win by an edge!!

  • Kimberly Hubbard
    May 23, 2015

    Ribbon!?!? What fun!!!!!!

  • Phyllis
    May 23, 2015

    I like adding ribbon to the bags. Color combination I would choose is teal and lime. Great addition to make bags look like a designer bag. Any personal choice of ribbon combination will look great. Thanks Nancy.

  • LoAnn Trowbride
    May 23, 2015

    I also like them both, but think I like the teal/lime just a little bit better. Also like the pattern of the bag you chose to make.

  • Robin
    May 23, 2015

    Love both of these! What a great way to use ribbon, and these are so pretty. I sew because I want to be different and you always give me ideas to keep it fresh and new. Thanks!!!

  • Lydia
    May 23, 2015

    I love both colors. The the Brown and Blush has an elegant look to it but the Teal and Lime is my favorite it just screams summer. Thank you for the great tips and ideas and what an amazing savings making it yourself. Happy Memorial Day !

  • Debi Tisdale
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and pink ribbons!

  • Cheryl Seipke
    May 23, 2015

    I like the brown & blush. I like the teal & lime but you added that NASTY pink in the mix…..I don’t like pink!

  • Martha Morgan
    May 23, 2015

    I like both – each one appeals to my color pallet. I wish you would have show the insertion of the D rings, I have not used any thing like that and would love to know the “technique” for success. Thank you.

  • Mary Zana
    May 23, 2015

    I really love the ribbon collection. They are both beautiful! I think the teal would be my favorite.

  • Bea
    May 23, 2015

    Both colors are beautiful but I like the brown & blush best. The ribbon trim sure does dress up that purse.

  • Carol Adams
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime combo. Will have to try bag with a zipper at the top. Looks Great!!!!!

  • melissa c
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal ribbon set. It really says spring and summer. I love the two toned bag the most. Seeing purses with ribbon takes me back to my high school years in the early 80’s. We had purses with ribbon and belts with the same ribbon. Thank you, Nancy. Your ideas enable every one to enjoy the most beautiful items while maintaining a budget. I am praying for you to continue to gain strength and to recover fully.

  • Jill collins
    May 23, 2015

    O.k., I love the bags, but when I clicked the link for the city bag templates, it states that it is not available. Will these be available in the future? Thanks.

  • D. S. Wassell
    May 23, 2015

    I like both, but the Teal and Lime are perfect for summer. They remind me of sherbet: cool, clean, refreshing, and just a tiny bit tart!

  • Deborah
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime ribbon. These ribbons really add pizzaz to the purse. I love all that you do. You are my inspiration.

  • Sandra Cantrell
    May 23, 2015

    Thanks, Nancy, for another quality product, money saving idea and a boost to creativity.

  • Carol
    May 23, 2015

    I really like both ribbon sets but the brown and blush is my favorite. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Floss
    May 23, 2015

    Wow that red bag calls to me so it has to be the brown and blush

  • nancy
    May 23, 2015

    I love the Teal and Lime set as the colors reminds me of bright spring/summer days.

  • Pat Nicholaisen
    May 23, 2015

    I start my Saturday with youBoth colors are woderful. Our prayers are with you.

  • Lori Morton
    May 23, 2015

    Ooooh! the Teal & Lime are definitely my Favorite!!! What a great Bag too! Looove it! 🙂

  • Donna Schulz
    May 23, 2015

    I love the two tone effect of the black and red bag … so very rich looking. I work mostly with earth tone colors and adore the brown and blush ribbon … I can see in my head many ways to use this in bag creations and winning a sample would be more than inspirational … thank you for the opportunity.

  • Pat
    May 23, 2015

    Both colorways are beautiful but I think I prefer the brown and blush, especially on the two toned bag. What a clever idea to get this look and yet eliminate extra bulk. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Patti K
    May 23, 2015

    I love them both! They would look great on so many things. Thanks for so many things…our prayers are with you as you take care of yourself!

  • Brenda Ackerman
    May 23, 2015

    Teal and Lime are so beautiful! What a wonderful collection of ribbons to choose from. Thank you for designing, teaching and inspiring me with everyone of your projects, posts and programs!

  • Judy Graczyk
    May 23, 2015

    Blush and brown….praying for you Nancy

  • Sharon Kirry
    May 23, 2015

    I saw the booth for these ribbon in Houston and they’re truly beautiful!

  • Mary Wippold
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime ribbons but for a bag I’d go with the more neutral brown and blush selection.

  • Tina Williams
    May 23, 2015

    The teal and lime!!! Love it. I have a couple of the trace and create templates. Love them. Don’t have this one though.

  • Kim Harrington
    May 23, 2015

    The teal and lime are my favorites! I love ribbons and have a pretty nice selection of them decorating my sewing room. I love to sew with them too.

  • Paulette Bergman
    May 23, 2015

    Oooo! The Turquoise and Lime are lovely. What fun! I would love to win these new ribbons. Thank you for the opportunity!
    pj stitches!

  • Caroline Moyer
    May 23, 2015

    Teal and Lime would be my choice. Thanks for so many wonder ideas. Praying for you.

  • Maggi Reiter
    May 23, 2015

    Teal and Lime, really pops off the bag!

  • Sandy Curtis
    May 23, 2015

    I would choose the Brown and Blush, it will go better with fabrics I already have. If the Black, White & Red would have been a choice, I would have picked it!

  • Marsha Nelson
    May 23, 2015

    Both sets of ribbons are beautiful. I think I like the brown and blush best.

  • Shirley Clark
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime! Those ribbons really do fancy up those bags!

  • allen king
    May 23, 2015

    I’m not usually a fan of pinks and browns but your ribbons speak to me! I would love to put them on a bag and various other projects.

  • Tina
    May 23, 2015

    I’m impatiently waiting for spring to arrive here in Montana so I will choose the teal and lime. Both color sets are great and I often wear black and red. Thanks!

  • Dorothy Van Pelt
    May 23, 2015

    So hard to decide. I really like the brown and blush. Praying for you. Take Care

  • Elise Holdar
    May 23, 2015

    I love the ribbon touch.I like the brown and blush the best. Think of all the possible color combinations for making a bag uniquely your own.

  • Joan Stevens
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime. I would make my bag with the lime fabric on the top and teal on the bottom. These are my favorite colors anyway.

  • Diana
    May 23, 2015

    I love both bags as I love all of your patterns. I’ve learned more from you through your blog and TV show than any other class I’ve taken and since I’m 70, that’s a lot of classes. Thanks for all you do and God bless you and may He heal you in the way that He know best.

  • Jane B.
    May 23, 2015

    Both bags look very professional! I think the lime and teal combination really pops though, and a two-tone bag with the lime/teal ribbon would be fun to try!

  • Joyce W
    May 23, 2015

    Since it is spring almost summer, I really like the teal and lime. Sew bright and cheery!

  • Martha
    May 23, 2015

    With spring moving into summer I love the teal and lime. I love making bags and this is a winner!

    May 23, 2015

    Love it. Since buying the Hobo pattern I have made at least 10 of them as gifts. I can see how I could use the ribbon on this bag. Great pattern. Love both colors. Are there going to be more colors?

  • Gail Beam
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal ribbon set. It is so bright and colorful and adds a touch of funky and fun. I like the brown and blush ribbon set too as it would give a classy look.

  • Lynn
    May 23, 2015

    I like the Brown and Blush combo, especially on the two toned bag. Hope the good days are outweighing the bad ones. May Your God watch over you and your loved ones.

  • Fran Johnson
    May 23, 2015

    The teal and lime combination is my favorite. Love the purse ideas. Yesterday I went to a mall to look for a bag – such ugly choices. I didn’t even bother looking at the prices since I really did not want to own any of them. So thankful we have you, Nancy. You always have such great ideas. Hope you are getting better. Good thoughts and warm wishes.

  • Robin H
    May 23, 2015

    I love the teal and lime collection. What a great look with just a little bit of ribbon!

  • Dorothy Mikulka
    May 23, 2015

    Both are great, but I really like the brown and blush. Thank you for all you do for us sewers.

  • Dawn
    May 23, 2015

    I love the brown and blush.

  • Anna Held
    May 23, 2015

    I love lime and teal ribbon. The ribbons really dress up the purse. I would like to try it across top of pocket.

  • Helen
    May 23, 2015

    My vote goes to the teal and lime.. such a small thing really makes the bag stand out. Continuing to pray for you.

  • Starla
    May 23, 2015

    What a great idea! I love both combinations, but would choose the teal & lime.

  • Sharon P
    May 23, 2015

    Both are really lovely but I am partial to the teal and lime.

  • Marty
    May 23, 2015

    Teal & Lime are perfect for my new summer tote!

  • Marsha Ransom
    May 23, 2015

    Love the teal & lime ribbon!

  • Diana G
    May 23, 2015

    Oh most definitely the Brown and Blush .. Love it !! Thanks for the chance to win…

  • Kathy Healey
    May 23, 2015

    Love the teal and lime. I made one of your tote bags last summer and loved it. If I win the ribbons, I’ll be making a new one!

  • Arline Bivins
    May 23, 2015

    I love the brown and blush ribbons. I’ve never made a purse before. Your instructions make look so easy.
    So sorry to hear about your health, may God answer your prayers because if any body as wonderful as you are should get them.

  • Judy Williams
    May 23, 2015

    I really like the brown and blush ribbon set. I’ve always been drawn to the earth tones.

  • Mary Peake
    May 23, 2015

    The brown and blush for me. Thanks so much for the clear instructions and lovely pattern / ideas!

  • Avis Cooper
    May 23, 2015

    I love them both; however the brown/blush wins! I love working with neutral coloured fabric so this would go well. Thanks, Nancy, for more wonderful ideas!

  • Lisa
    May 23, 2015

    Both ribbons sets are very pretty but my favorite is the brown and blush. I really liked the look the ribbon gave the bags.

  • Jean Deal
    May 24, 2015

    Both ribbons are lovely, I would prefer the brown and blush color.

  • Kathy Combs
    May 24, 2015

    great Tutorial! I always learn something from Nancy!

  • Diane Q
    May 24, 2015

    Both collections are beautiful–I do prefer the brown/blush combination.

  • Lynn Quintin
    May 24, 2015

    I love the teal and lime green

  • Liz Hamilton
    May 24, 2015

    They are both gorgeous – but if I had to choose it would be the teal and lime – which is kinda shooting myself in the foot, as they would end up in a bag for my daughter. They’re young and zippy colours.

  • Karole King
    May 24, 2015

    Such lovely handbags! Your instructions are very clear easy to understand. I love the teal and lime. Many uses for the two colors.

  • Mary Tucker
    May 24, 2015

    The one that I like best is brown and blush.

  • Barbara
    May 24, 2015

    I really like the extra detail the ribbons add to otherwise a plain purse. Good idea.

  • Dorothy S.
    May 24, 2015

    I like the purse and would use the brown and blush.

  • Peggy S.
    May 25, 2015

    Nancy, I love both collections, but I would use the teal & lime first as it is such a fun and fresh color for Spring going into summer. I hope there will be more ribbon collections as you have such wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  • eginter
    May 25, 2015

    Love thepurse’s! I did something like that.I we asked to make a garden tool bucket to action for a garden club project,my my had to really think of to do I think it came out good!! So will see how much money they will get for! Allsop love to make purses, nBut do not have enough time to do all I want to do!!!!

    May 26, 2015

    I’m so happy and impressed! I started a small purse for my mother several years ago and the instructions never made sense. With this blog I now understand the instructions to the previous bag and will be able To add mom’s favorite color, teal to her bag with style! Thank you Nancy for expanding your horizons and in turn helping me out finish another project and have instructions for all the ladies in my family!

  • Gail
    May 26, 2015

    Another purse addict here. Hadn’t sewn in years – always too busy. But now retired and sewing purses galore. I am
    off to look at ribbons. Another terrific suggestion from the Sewing Queen. Thanks for all your inspiration Nancy.
    Teal is my colour of choice.

  • Bea Pinson
    May 26, 2015

    Pretty, pretty ribbons. Would like to make a “designer” purse with the teal.

  • Judy
    May 26, 2015

    I love the teal and lime ribbon. Thanks so much for the tutorial on the ribbon bag. Can’t wait to make one for a gift.

  • Anne Schafroth
    May 26, 2015

    Love the teal and lime!

  • Kathy Luehrs
    May 26, 2015

    teal and lime – love it

  • Connie W
    May 26, 2015

    I like the simplicity of the design and the power colors, especially the teal & lime combination.

  • Jennifer Fried
    May 26, 2015

    Dear Nancy, Ilike the Happy teal and lime. How are you are things getting better for you? Jenny

  • Mary Ellen
    May 27, 2015

    I love the teal ribbon, good summer color for a purse…actually a good color all year.

  • Ella Liddle
    May 28, 2015

    Anything green, I love. Very pretty ribbon, both of them. Hope you’re doing well. : )

  • Ell
    May 29, 2015

    I have loved ribbon since I was a little girl and wore ribbons in my hair.

  • Peggy V
    May 30, 2015

    I love the teal and lime ribbon, such a striking accent to any bag!!!

  • Madeleine Ryan
    May 30, 2015

    I love reading your blog because of your clear, concise
    Instructions and your creativity. The incorporation of ribbon in projects is great. I am fond of the blush and brown ribbons.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and a quick return of your health and strength!

  • Kay Hughes
    May 31, 2015

    Gorgeous colors but to me the best is anything with red in it…love the ribbon colors… (o:

  • Carolyn H
    June 5, 2015

    The teal and lime is such a great combo.

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