How to Make a Mondo Bag: Step-by-Step Instructions

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Last Updated February 07, 2018

In This Tutorial

Here are the steps for making a Mondo Bag:

  1. Gather your supplies and fabric
  2. Sew outer fabric panels
  3. Assemble outer shell
  4. Assemble lining shell
  5. Attach handles
  6. Stitch outer shell to lining shell
  7. Turn and topstitch

Before you start preparations for making your Mondo Bag, take about 10 minutes to watch this video from Quiltsmart. It's a very good overview of the process.

A few things about the video:

  1. The interfacing used in the video is By Annie's Soft and Stable. As you saw in the video, it stands up on its own. You can choose that product if you like this in your bag. I used Fusible Fleece which is available in various thicknesses. Be sure you are purchasing a fleece or interfacing that is fusible. Fusible means it has a heat activated adhesive on one side. Choose the thickness that you like best.
  2. The instructions include options for adding pockets to the lining and adding a key holder. These are not addressed in this tutorial. Follow the printed instructions if you wish to add these to your Mondo Bag.

For information on fusible fleece read the article, Fusible Fleece for Sewing and Quilting Projects .

Gather Supplies

mondo bag kitWhat You Have

In your Mondo Bag kit you have the following:

  1. Instruction booklet
  2. Fusible, printed interfacing (2 panels)

What You Need

Refer to the instructions that came with your Mondo Bag Kit for fabric and fleece requirements. In addition you will need the following:

  • Applique Pressing Sheet
  • Sewing Machine with 1/4″ foot and regular foot
  • Iron and ironing surface
  • Thread: Coordinating thread for sewing. Contrasting thread for top stitching.

Sew Outer Fabric Panels

The next video describes all the information printed on the gridded interfacing.

Cut the fabric squares according to the Quiltsmart instructions. For each of the four panels you will do the following steps.

The gridded interfacing has two sides. The side with the bumps is the adhesive side. Lay the panel on your ironing board with the bumpy side up. With right sides up, center a fabric square inside each square in the grid.

Arrange the Fabric Squares

Place the fabric squares so they don't touch each other or overlap the printed dots. Later you will fold on these dotted lines. Keeping clear of the lines makes the folding easier and neater.

Fuse Fabric to Interfacing

Next use the iron to fuse the fabric to the interfacing. The instructions tell you to use steam and press for 5 – 10 seconds. Instead of using steam, I use a spray bottle of starch alternative or plain water.

use applique pressing sheet

Lightly spray the starch alternative or water over the fabric. Place the applique pressing sheet over the fabric. Press for 5 – 10 seconds over the entire area. BE CAREFUL! The applique pressing sheet holds the heat for a little while, so pick it up by one of the un-ironed edges.

After the pressing, check that the fabrics are fused properly. Fold the panel along the long and short lines and check that the edges stay in place.

Check the long lines.

Check the short lines.

Sew Along Grid Lines

Now it's time to sew the grid. Start with the short lines.

fold on the short lines

Fold on the dashed line.

stitched on the dashed line

Sew a 1/4″ seam from top to bottom.

sew all lines

Continue folding and sewing all the short lines.

Next, clip on the dots between squares.

clip horizontal grid lines

Along the seams you just sewed, you will clip on the long lines as shown here.

clipped seams

The clipping allows adjacent seams to interlock when the long seams are sewn.

On the ends of each short end, the arrows tell you which way to position the seams.

Now sew each long seam making sure the short seams lay in the direction of the arrows.

Printing along the bottom tells you which way to press the long seams. Press from the fabric side.

place all fabric on grid

Completed fabric panel. Make 4.

Assemble Outer Shell

In this step you will sew the 4 panels into two “L” shapes.

Next, the two “L” shapes are sewn together to form the outer shell.

Mondo bag instructions

Align all 4 of the “Bottom Center” squares. The seams should interlock. Start stitching on the left where you see the two pins. Start at the dot, backstitch then continue to the dot on the right. Press the seam in any direction.

mondo bag instructions

This is what the panels look like after stitching.

Sew the Side Seams

Next the side seams are sewn.

After all 4 side seams are sewn, you will have a square bottom and 4 points at the top.

Handles

Fuse a 2-1/2″ strip of fabric to each of the two handle interfacings. I chose to piece a handle using 13 squares for each.

mondo bag handles

Assemble Lining Shell

The lining shell is made by fusing the fleece to the lining fabric then assembling as you did for the fabric panels. Please note: these instructions do not include the pocket stitched into the lining. If you wish to include pockets or a key ring holder in your bag, follow the instructions provided by Quiltsmart.

Fuse the Lining Pieces

  1. Following the instructions in Step 5 of the Quiltsmart instructions, cut the following:
    • 4 panel pieces from lining fabric
    • 4 panel pieces from fusible fleece.
  2. Cut 2 pieces of fusible fleece each 2-1/2″ x 24″.
  3. Cut 2 pieces of lining fabric each 2-1/2″ x 24″.
  4. Fuse all the lining pieces to all the fleece pieces.

Assemble the Lining Shell

Following the same process for the outer shell, assemble the 4 lining/fleece panels into the lining shell.

Attach Handles

  1. Place a lining/fleece handle right sides together with a fabric/interfacing handle.
  2. Stitch a 1/4″ seam on each long side.
  3. Turn the handle so the right sides are out.
  4. Top stitch on each long side.
  5. Baste the handles to the outer fabric as shown below.

mondo bag baste handles

Be sure to place the right side of the handle to the right side of the outer shell. Baste the other end to an adjacent top point, taking care not to twist the handle.

Stitch Outer Shell to Lining Shell

  1. Turn the lining shell so the fabric is inside and the fleece outside.
  2. Turn the outer fabric shell so the fabric is outside and the interfacing is inside.
  3. Place the outer fabric shell into the lining shell, keeping right sides together. This will make it easier to stitch the two shells together.
  4. Pin along all the top edges as shown.

mondo bag pin

Next you will stitch on the stitching line. I leave an opening for turning between the corner on the left and the handle on the right. This is also a different process than the Quiltsmart instructions.

Stitching the Inside Corner

Start stitching just before an inside corner. Backstitch.

mondo bag inside corner

Stitch until you reach the horizontal stitching line.

mondo bag inside corner

Stop with your needle down and position the bag to continue stitching.

Stitching the Top Point

When you reach the top point with the handle, stop with the needle down.

Mondo bag corner 1

Pivot the bag and stitch across the handle stitching line.

Continue stitching until the last handle is stitched. Backstitch. Leave the last section open for turning.

Trim Corners and Top Points

Before turning the bag, the inner corners and top points are trimmed.

mondo bag

Clip the inner corners in three places: 1/4″ before the corner, 1/4″ after the corner and diagonally into the corner.

Trim out the bulk between the outside clips.

Trim each top point to 1/4″ as shown.

mondo bag top point

Topstitch

Turn the bag so the right sides of the fabric and lining are facing out. Arrange the bag so the lining is on the outside and the outer fabric is on the inside. This will make it easier to position it in the sewing machine as you top stitch.

Close the Side Opening

The opening you left for turning needs to be closed. For each side of the opening, turn under the raw edge 1/4″. Pin the sides together as shown.

mondo bag close opening

The opening will be stitched closed and topstitched at the same time in the next step. Using contrasting thread and a longer stitch length, start with the opening you just pinned and topstitch right along the edge. Continue until you reach the starting point. Secure the threads.

If desired, add another line of topstitching about 1/4″ from the edge.

Done! The picture below shows 12 Mondo Bags I made as Christmas gifts in 2017.

Multiple Mondo Bags

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Carol.

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