A bucket handbag is an easy project to start with for beginners, as the pieces are small and a handbag does not have to fit a body. First we'll go over some basics for drafting your bag style, and then I'll show you how I put mine together.
Begin by drawing a sketch of the bag you would like to make. Decide upon the dimensions using ready-to-wear handbags that you like as a visual for size and shape. Decide on the number of seams that will be in the handbag. There can be two or four vertical seams around the bag. If you choose to have four seams, the pattern pieces will consist of a Front/Back and two Side pieces. If you choose to have two seams, the pattern pieces will consist of a Front and Back as the Side becomes part of the Front and Back. A bag with two seams tends to be flatter than a bag with four.
Decide on your dimensions for the base of the bag. The base can either be a square or a rectangle, or you can draft it to resemble the edges of an envelope. The envelope design is very attractive, flat and is easy to sew.
To draft a simple two-seam bucket handbag pattern with an envelope bottom, start with a basic square or rectangle in the dimensions of the front of your bag. To each side and bottom of the square add half of the dimension of the depth of the bag.
From the corners of the lower front square draw in the angled edges of the envelope bottom. The angle of this line can be your decision. I usually come in a few inches. This will become the center of the bottom of the bag. Add a 1/2" seam allowance to the sides, top and bottom edges.
Cut out the bag pattern and fold along the lower front square. Fold the side bottom edges in and fold the lower front base over these sides. Trace the angle of the front seam onto the side edges. Add seam allowances to both the lower front and side front angled seams.
Measure the width of the top of the bag pattern. Draft a facing pattern for the inside of the bag that is the width of the bag pattern (including side seam allowances) by 3" deep. Add a 1/2" seam allowance to the upper edge of the facing pattern.
The straps can be made in two pieces to make better use of the leather, depending upon how long you want your straps to be. This also gives you the option of making straps with an adjustable length. Cut a pattern piece to your desired length, making it twice your desired finished width. My strap is a finished width of 1", so my strips were 2" wide. Then cut a strap facing that is the length of each strap section by your finished width plus 1/2" (so my strap facing was 1 1/2" wide).
The lining for the bag can be cut from the same pattern pieces with one adjustment: take 3" off of the top of the finished bag pattern to create a lining pattern piece. The 3" wide facing piece with its extra 1/2" seam allowance on the top edge will overlap the lining with a raw edge by 1/2".