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*Please read my purchasing/printing instructions first if you have never purchased an instant download PDF pattern before. Thanks!


The Bonsai Bag Sewing Pattern is a digital PDF sewing pattern. The Bonsai Bag is a medium-sized tote perfect for showing off a favorite fabric, a quilted panel or an embroidery sample. The pleated outer panel helps frame the center with optional contrast trim such as pompoms, ric-rac, piping or lace. This fully lined bag includes an inner pocket and a magnetic snap closure. Detailed instructions are also included for a recessed zipper closure. Tied handles and decorative rings add a fun and professional look.

with pompom trim and blue baby wale corduroy outer panel (fabric: Heather Ross Far Far Away)
with pompom trim and brown linen outer panel (fabric: Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks)
with ric rac trim and pink baby wale corduroy outer panel
with a quilted center panel and no trim (fabric: Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope)


Purse: 11” tall x 14” wide

Straps: about 24” when tied, includes rings and tabs

with a magnetic snap closure (I added an extra pocket on this bag)
instructions are also included for a recessed zipper closure


Detailed step-by-step instructions

Instructions for two types of closures: magnetic snap AND recessed zipper

Full color diagrams and photos illustrating each step, including multiple views of select steps

Handy “Instruction Cheat Sheet,” a brief one-page summary of the steps so you don’t have to print entire file for reference

Complete set of full-sized pattern pieces (print out and attach together before cutting)

Hints and tips for sewing the Bonsai Bag

License page with information for handmade sellers (see below)


  • 1/3 yard of fabric for center panels
  • 1/3 yard of fabric for straps (if using the same fabric as pleated outer panel, you’ll need 2/3 yd total)
  • 1/4 yard of bottom-weight fabric (corduroy, linen, twill, home dec) for pleated outer panel and ring tabs
  • 1/2 yard of lining fabric
  • 1/3 yard canvas, flannel, or heavy-weight fusible interfacing (such as Decor Bond) for reinforcing center panels and straps
  • one magnetic snap and two 2” squares of fusible interfacing (only if using magnetic snap)
  • OR one 14” zipper
  • one package of four plastic purse rings (you could also use metal or wood rings here)
  • 1/2 yard of trim such as pompoms, ric-rac, or lace

Remember to prewash your fabric!

Purse rings can be found at your local craft superstore:

A quick note about pompom trim: I prefer to use the kind where the pompoms are closer together because you get a fuller look around the center panels.  To tell the difference, look at the way the pompoms are attached to the base of the trim: if the two strands are separate (top) the poms will be further apart; if the two strands are together (bottom) the poms will be closer together.


Home sewists who purchase this pattern may sell handmade Bonsai Bags made with this pattern provided they give design credit on tags or listings and register their shop or business once ready to sell.  More details can be found on the license page included in the PDF.

In the past I have offered licensed copies of a pattern (with permission to sell) separately from personal-use-only versions of the pattern.  I am finding this to be a little too confusing.  I am now offering my new patterns with permission to sell included with purchase.  Free patterns will still be intended for personal use only.


The Bonsai Bag was featured on the following posts:

Bonsai! Rae’s New Fall Bag (you can see me holding the bag in this post)

Return of the Bonsai Bag

And see what others have made in the Bonsai Bag Photo Pool (submit your pictures here!)


The digital PDF including pattern and instructions will be sent to your Paypal email address (please do not request that we forward to a different address. Thanks!) via instant download link as soon as payment is received.


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*Please read my purchasing/printing instructions first if you have never purchased an instant download PDF pattern before. Thanks!

A huge thank you to all of my pattern testers (Karen, Andrea, Lauren) for helping me try these out and for your fantastic suggestions.

As this is the first released version of the pattern, there are bound to be mistakes.  Thanks in advance for your patience, and please email me if you find any errors or need assistance!

Categories: bonsai bags
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16 Responses to Bonsai Bag Sewing Pattern!

  1. Anna says:

    yay Rae! glad it's done I bet. :) yet another beautiful pattern.

  2. Jenny says:

    Good for you, Rae! This bag should do very well!!

  3. Jenn says:

    I couldn't help it. I went and bought one just like you said. It worked beautifully!

  4. Cyndi loves to stitch says:

    Glad you got this working as an instant pdf. Did some of my patterns several months ago and am VERY happy with it. No one has complained so far! Good luck with yours!!

  5. Bec says:

    Yipee! I love this bag, can't wait to make one :-)

  6. Sharon says:

    No problems downloading. Super excited to get started! Now to find the perfect fabric…
    Thanks Rae!!


  7. KellyLeaSews says:

    Yay! I just had to have it, and although any actual sewing will probably be a ways off I can spend lots of time pondering the perfect fabric choices :) And pompom color. Thanks Rae!

  8. luvinthemommyhood says:

    So gorgeous… it! Another stunner by you! You are feeding my purse addiction quite nicely :) Gonna have to get myself one to make after the xmas gift rush.

  9. dana says:

    yay! Congrats Rae! So happy you have a new pattern!

  10. Lauren says:

    Thanks again Rae for letting me test it out. I love the bag. Hope the pattern is selling like hot cakes.

  11. jackie says:

    adorable. if only i could sew…

  12. mei says:

    pretty! will get this when I improve on my sewing skills!

  13. Larissa says:

    woweee wow wow, Ms. Rae. These are just so eye catching, especially that scrumptious brown one! Bravo!

    PS my word verification is desserr but I keep typing dessert instead, naturally.

  14. Freckles Crafts says:

    Hi Rae, I just discovered your blog and love this bag. I am a beginner and wasn't sure if this would be too hard for me to try. I have been sewing for a long time but mostly straight line stuff, pillows, etc. What do you think?


  15. devyani says:

    very nice…………..

  16. Uta says:

    Good post! We will be linking to this great content on our
    website. Keep up the good writing.

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seller’s program

I offer licenses for handmade sellers who would like to sell items made with my patterns on a small scale. To see all of the available licenses, visit the pattern page. For more information on the seller's program, please visit the seller's page.

My free patterns or tutorials are intended for personal use only. Thanks for respecting my wishes and supporting my shop!

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