I’ve decided to share my secrets with you guys. Actually, I’m sure there are other tutes on the web that are similar to this one, but I’m trying to branch out a bit.
I’ve decided to write up a tutorial for my Drawstring Project Bag. This is a great bag, fully lined with a little interior pocket. I’ve been making these bags for years to hold knitting or crochet projects, as gift bags, as toy bags for kids stuff, and I’ve even used them to hold electronics chargers and cords, etc. in my suitcase. The finished bag measures 12 inches wide by 10 inches tall. It has a flat square bottom measuring 5.5 inches.
And the best part: they are super easy to make. And quick (after you’ve made a few hundred).
First gather your supplies:
Fabric and supplies:
Main fabric: 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall (cut two)
Coordinating: 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall (cut two)
Pocket (Main fabric): 5.5 tall by 12 inches wide (cut one)
Handle (coordinating fabric): 2.25 inches by 13 inches (cut two)
Drawstring Casing (coordinating fabric): 1.25 inches by 12
Silky cord: 28 inches (cut two)
Interfacing: 5.5 inches by 5.5 inches (Cut two)
All the other usual stuff: Sewing machine, iron, thread, scissors, ruler, pins. If you happen to have bias tape makers and a cord threader thingy….great, but you can use the safety pin method as well.
Construct the parts of the bag:
Once you have all your pieces cut, start at the ironing board with the casing (2) and handle (2) pieces. Fold the long edges (wrong sides together) about 1/4 inch. Or use a bias tape maker for 1 inch and 2 inch.
Next you are going to sew the two handle pieces together (wrong sides together) using a narrow top stitch along each long edge (that was previously folded over and ironed). Set aside for later.
On the short end of each of the casing pieces, fold it under about 1/4 inch and top stitch.
Repeat for all four short sides of the casing pieces. Then re-iron them so all raw edges are either sewn or ironed under.
With the 5.5 X 12 piece, fold it in half right sides together, wrong side out, matching short ends. Sew along the three raw edges using a 3/8 seam allowance, leaving a 1.5-2 inch opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press seams, folding opening under even. You will close this opening when you sew it on to the bag lining.
Now you have a finished handle, pocket and casings ready to be sewn on to the bag panels.
Preparing the bag:
Pin one casing piece 1.5 inches from top of the 13 inch side of the main fabric. Centered.
Topstitch very close to each long edge, leaving the short ends open, making a place to slide the drawstring. Repeat for second side.
On one of the main panels, you will attach the handle. Fold the handle in half, matching raw edges. Pin it to one side of the main fabric piece, one inch under the casing you just sewed. Baste in place.
Next, pin the second main fabric piece to this piece, right sides together. Sew along both sides (14 inch sides) and bottom (13 inch side, opposite the casings you just made) with a 3/8 seam allowance, leaving the top open. Be careful not to sew the ends of the casing closed.
Now you will work with the lining pieces. Pin the pocket to one lining panel (right side up), two inches from top (on the 13 inch side), centered. Make sure your open spot from turning the pocket is on a side or bottom so it will be sewn shut when you attach the pocket to the bag.
Topstitch close to pocket edge along sides and bottom, leaving the top open to make the pocket.
Pin second lining piece on top, right sides together, sew along sides and bottom with a 3/8 seam allowance.
Now you have an inner and an outer bag.
Boxing the Corners:
You will want to box the corners in order for the bag bottom to be flat.
First take the lining piece still inside out and match the side seams together:
Next, flatten the corners down, forming a sort of diamond shape with bottom of the bag. Matching the bottom seam with the side seam.
Draw a line 6 inches from the point of each corner:
and pin for sewing. You will sew on the line you drew.
Repeat for the second corner, then again for both sides of the outer/main fabric
Sew all four corners on the line you drew. Move to the ironing board. Fold the corners on the seam you just made, toward the center and press flat with the iron.
For both sides:
Then imagine a square with in that space, this is where you will center one piece of interfacing. Iron interfacing according to directions:
Repeat all this for the main/outer fabric.
Complete the bag:
Turn the lining piece right side out and place inside the main fabric piece matching side seams. Right sides together. Pin raw edges together.
Sew around the top edge of the bag with a 3/8 inch seam allowance, leaving a 1.5/2 inch opening for turning. Turn right side out through the opening. Tuck lining inside to form the bag.
Press the seam flat, tucking the opening inside. Pin the opening closed for sewing.
Topstitch along the whole edge, closing the turning hole in the process.
Attach the drawstring:
Use whatever method you have available to thread the drawstring through the casing you made. I love my little “magic wand” tool (Dritz Drawstring threader). Thread one piece of silky cord through one side casing, then continue to the next. Tie the ends together.
Thread the other silky cord through the casing, beginning on the opposite side this time. You will be able to grasp both knots and pull to close the bag.
Please let me know if you have any questions with this tutorial. I’d love to know if you make your own bag. I want to see pictures!