The Toni Box Bag - Let's sew some Arm Candy: African print style!

The Toni Box Bag - Let's sew some Arm Candy: African print style!

In this guest blog post, Adelle (aka @button_and_pip) shares the process that she used to make her version of the Toni Box Bag in an African wax print fabric that I have called: 'Peacock Feathers'. The pattern shows this print off beautifully and it is available in my sewing book: Sewing With African Wax Print Fabric.   Adelle pairs her bag with the Harriet Hair Tie which is also in the book. New to African Wax Print Fabric?  Then you will love this  blog post.  Grab a cup of your favourite drink and enjoy!!

"Hi I’m Adelle @button_and_pip and I’m passionate about creating a handmade wardrobe. Last summer I made my first dress from African Wax print and I soon fell in love with the vibrancy of these fabrics. I’m never one to shy away from print and colour, that’s one aspect that drew me into dressmaking. The freedom to choose the style, the colour and print of my wardrobe gets me excited every time I sit down at my sewing machine. 

Adelle, white woman wearing a blue dress. She is sitting down and wearing sunglasses.  Next to her is a an African wax print bag.

The new book from Adaku ‘Sewing with African Wax Prints’ is a project book full with colour and inspiration. The Toni Box Bag my the second project from the book and my first time creating a bag. The Toni bag is a large tote bag with a magnetic clasp. It’s lined with fusible fleece to give the bag structure and the lining can be made in contrasting fabric or like me the same fabric as the outer. 


The book is opened on the page with the bag instructions and images. On top of the open page is the Peacock fabric, white high-loft interfacing and the magnetic bag clasp.

I used the Peacock Feathers fabric in white and blue for my bag. A beautiful bright design with vibrant feathers in red and blue of various sizes. The print is small enough to play around with the placement of the design. I used the feathers crossways on the side panels and in a contrast, moved the placement vertically on the side panels. Do pay attention to the writing on the selvage as this will help you to work out which side of the fabric is the right and which is the wrong side. 

There is no template for this pattern, all the sizes are given in the instructions, metric and imperial. The cutting guide is clear for the measurements, however I would recommend labelling your pieces as you cut them out as it does begin to get confusing as you have different sized panels for the outer and inner pieces. When cutting the interfacing, I lay my pattern piece directly onto the fusible fleece before cutting out the pieces. This ensured that they matched up exactly. I had never used fusible fleece before and following the instructions was simple and applying heat gently with a pressing cloth worked well. 

I have always been told that bags are a simple sew and I now have to agree. It is just simple straight lines to sew and the illustrations in the pattern, clearly show how the side panels are fitted to create the box shape. I used clips to hold my pieces together as with the fleece lining it would be too bulky to use pins. Also do not skip the advice to trim seams as again it removes bulk to the seams with the added fleece lining. The bag also includes a magnetic snap closure which is added to the inside facing. I add heavy interfacing to the piece to give the closure extra stability with use in the future. Careful planning of the placement here is important as once the closure is in place you want to be sure that it doesn’t twist the bag when closed. 

Image shows an interfaced piece of the bag and another piece that has not been interfaced.  Both pieces have both parts of the magnetic snap attached.


I absolutely love this bag, the size is perfect for me to use on our family day trips. I took it out for our visit to the garden at Chatworth house. The width and length of the handles are comfortable to carry and it was big enough for our picnic blankets and treats. 

With the extra fabric I also made the Harriet hair tie, a quick accessory to make using up scraps from your previous projects. The template is included in the back of the book and it needs to be enlarged on the photocopier. After sewing up the edges, I did trim the seams down as much as possible. I also top stitched the edges as I find this easier to close the gap rather than hand stitching it closed. Hair ties are going to help me as summer approaches. When the weather is warm I don’t like my hair sitting on my face and with my hair being short it’s difficult to put up."

Adelle, a white woman, wearing the Harriet Hair Tie.

Shop Sewing with African Wax Print Fabric Book here.

Shop Peacock Feathers African wax print fabric here

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Wendy Anderson

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