Hand Sewn Bag for the Byzantine Tarot

I was quite pleased with this and it fits the box I bought for $5 in the thrift shop to house the deck. It was made from two fat quarters from the quilt shop and sewn by hand with a #10 sharp needle.


The ribbon ties are sewn into the side seams but I didn’t make a drawstring channel, just the ties, so it closes like a gift bag. I’ve left the ribbon long until I get some beads to finish off the ties and decide on a final length.

The bottom corners were boxed like a handbag so that I didn’t have too much extra fabric to cram into the box.


Here it is in its box, where the fabric at the top nestles in to keep the deck from rattling around. I didn’t have a lot of room between the deck and the box lid, which was another reason I wanted a more tailored bag for this. The lining really cushions the deck even though I didn’t use batting in the construction of the bag.



Hopefully I can get some suitable beads to put on the ribbons. I discovered there is a bead store in this town too. I went from having nothing in the small town I lived in back in Ontario, to having what seems like a richness of supplies and stores here.

Now I’m going to start a free patchwork block-of-the-month, in order use up some of the fabric I bought for this plus six new fat quarters I bought to coordinate.

It’s called inspiration: cards inspiring creativity yet again!






10 thoughts on “Hand Sewn Bag for the Byzantine Tarot

  1. Ooh, those squared away corners look excellent. Tarot Totes do some bags like that, and I love them. I tried doing something similar when I was knitting bags, and that worked reasonably well, too.

    Hmm, talking of inspiration, you make me wonder whether I could sew a tarot bag… I’m trying to get more craft-y, to distract me from snacking in the evenings, but I have little in the way of sewing skills, and always thought a bag like that would have to be done using a sewing machine (which I don’t have and have never used).

    • I used to sew my custom embroidered and patchwork bags for Tarot Totes a long time ago. Betty Diamond always comes up with nice fabrics and designs. Somewhere out in the world there are at least 100 of my bags, about 60 to 80 maybe I sold through Betty over a period of three years (who is also a wiz at marketing, as is her husband.)

      After I lost my job in 2005 I didn’t sew for a year, and stopped sending Betty things. She is a whirlwind of product, and an awesome business/customer service person.

      It’s not hard to box corners–the main thing is to line up the seams. Here is a good tutorial with pictures. Steve knows how if you are stuck.

      Hand sewing is a simple running stitch, but you need a proper needle. I use a #11 Sharp–longer, finer needle. Unfortunately all I could find here was a #10 and it means my stitches aren’t as fine as they usually are. I also use thimbles on both my hands (index finger on left hand; middle finger of right hand as I am right-handed). so the needle doesn’t stick me.

      Use back stitches every inch or so to add strength to your stitching line. You can try making a bag for a Lenormand deck–doesn’t have to be as big or as sturdy–might make a good foray into this for you Chloe.

      For this deck, I cut two fronts and two linings 5.75 inches by 9.75 inches and used 1/4-inch seams. Make the lining up (sew the sides and bottom only) and leave about 1.5 inches open in the bottom seam (for turning after you sew the lining to the front.) Box the corners. Then sew the front up (side seams and all along the bottom seam with no opening) and box the corners. I sewed the ribbon into the seam 2 inches down from the raw edge of the top. Backstitch that to reinforce.

      Then you turn the front right side out, leave the lining wrong side out. Put the front inside the lining so the pieces are right sides together. Shove the ribbon down the sides outside the front (between the front and the lining down the side, out of the way. Then stitch around the top lip to join the two pieces and turn them through the opening in the lining. Slip stitch the lining closed and push it inside the front.

      It sounds more complicated than it is.

      • Thanks for all the advice, JJ! I have been watching Youtube tutorials, which help a lot, too. Am going to give this a go, though I may do a button or magnetic snap close instead of a drawstring… Wish me luck 😀

        • Great to hear Chloe, I always like to see people make things!

          You can make whatever closure suits you. The stores also have enamelled snaps that come with a small gizmo for setting them. They come in smaller sizes–here is an example of what I mean (and you can colour coordinate them to your fabric.)


          Here is an example from a UK store–I imagine your local sewing shop would have something similar. They also show how to set them with the included tool–no muss no fuss.


          • Oh, I think I have some of those studs in a sewing kit my MIL gave me a couple of years back! Have made a start on my first bag, but the material was smaller than I expected, so it may need to be an oracle deck bag rather than a tarot one. Probably no bad thing, as my first is unlikely to be all that pretty… We’ll see where I go with it all.
            I can’t imagine ever being good enough to sew for somewhere like Tarot Totes. As you say, their stuff was always lovely. I believe the kids have taken over from Betty and Dick now 🙂

            • Well, chip away at it and have fun.

              Oh their kids have taken over, isn’t that great when the family is interested enough to do that? Lovely to hear.

  2. Wow, that turned out lovely! If I ever start sewing bags again, I need to figure out how to do boxed corners. Hope you’ll take a picture of the beads on the ribbons when you get some. 🙂

  3. It’s gorgeous, Judy! Only just seeing all of this now as we’ve not had internet connection or a phone line for twelve days. I’ve been using my data on my phone to upload my daily videos but it’s running out fast.

    Love the bag and the bottom. I need to get on with some of the large pouches I started making. They’ve been cut and ready to sew for some time. So many things on the back burner at the moment!

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