We were literally heading out the door for our beach vacation and I decided that we needed a pouch to carry my daughter’s headphones. Talk about last-minute crafting!
My very generous sister – who has fabulous taste, by the way – got me a Longchamp Paris Le Pliage tote for my birthday. In related news, I’m 35 again, ya’ll – yay!! It’s only the third year in a row…
Because we were about to enjoy a 6 hour road trip locked in a car with a toddler who has boycotted naps, we thought we’d try our very first cartoon in the car with her Kindle. I needed – yes that is the right word – a bag to hold her headphones so they wouldn’t snag anything in my new, swanky tote. I whipped up this one in no time – actually, it was 10 minutes.
Click on “Read More” to see how this little bag makes both Elise and I beam with smiles and learn to whip one together yourself.
Isn’t my little sister so awesome? I didn’t know I needed one of these totes until I had one. It is a large tote that can fold up easily for travel – it’s a Transformer, ya’ll! It’s such an awesome bag (that can be wiped clean) and I wanted to fill it up immediately and use it for our vacation.
After bringing it home, the little one absconded with it for hours while she filled it up with her “treasure toys.” Once it had been extricated it from her chubby, little toddler fingers, I began packing it with some trip essentials when it occurred to me that I didn’t have a purse organizer. How is it that I can be the proud owner of 1,241* tote bags and not own a purse organizer?
*more like 8 tote bags
I will be remedying my lack of purse organizer options shortly with another sewing project added to my ever-growing list. Once I figure it out, perhaps you’ll see it here at Ruffles and Rain Boots?
Back to the bags…
A drawstring bag is such a versatile bag! Simple drawstring bags can be used:
- to store toys
- travel bags for shoes
- as party favor bags
- for a quick and customized gifting solution (think wine bottles or oddly-shaped presents)
- to separate craft supplies
- to store puzzles
- to corral those tiny little Lego pieces that should have been sucked up by the vacuum…
Because of their simple design, they are easily customized to fit any item. After figuring out that these are so very easy to make, I will definitely be finding more uses for them.
This tutorial is so easy and there are probably a ton of tutorials on the web already, but because I whipped this up in 10 minutes and 11.45 pm is entirely too early to be in bed whilst on the eve of one’s vacation, I’m going to write up a tutorial for you here.
Side note: I really should start trying to get to bed earlier…
- fabric (two pieces of any size of your liking)**
- ribbon or straps that are 2 times the width of your fabric (plus 5 inches, or so)
- sewing machine, thread, scissors, safety pin
**Shortcut: I used the side of a good quality sheet I picked up at a thrift store forever ago. I initially intended to practice my sewing skills with it, but hey – who am I kidding? I don’t have time to practice… By using the sheet that had a hem along the side already, I was able to skip a step, saving time.
Pinking shears are your friend in this fast little baggie so that you can reduce fraying (and the need to zig-zag stitch the edges). If you have a serger, or the time to zig-zag the edges, know that I am envious of both.
Measure out the size you want for your bag, and cut the fabric using the pinking shears. I just plopped her new headphones down on the cutting mat I had out (used for painting, if you couldn’t tell) and eye-balled it, but you can get all technical and measure stuff…
Once you have your pieces cut, you will need to make the casing for the drawstring. You can either use the pre-hemmed option like I did, or fold it over (and then over again) and create your own hem.
You have a choice here: I chose a single drawstring, but if you cut on the fold of the fabric and want a double drawstring, you’re going to have to separate the casing piece that will be on the folded edge side by cutting it. You can do this by measuring your drawstring width and making sure your casing is cut to fit it. Then snip it.
If you didn’t use a pre-hemmed piece of fabric, hem the top edge of each of your fabric pieces (or the one piece like I used). Once hemmed, you will need to turn the fabric down again to create a casing to fit whatever ribbon or strap you intend to use. I measured 2 inches down from the top edge, but it will depend on your drawstring strap width.
Wow, the hard part is actually over, isn’t that nice? Here you have another choice. If you cut on the fold and have one large piece of fabric, you can choose to sew around just the two open sides (the two sides without the casing) or you can sew all three. I chose to sew all three, allowing for the same look on all sides. I used a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
I snipped the bottom corners, taking care not to snip the stitches. It must be said, ‘cuz I’ve done it. Then, I turned the bag inside out and started threading the casing.
You have a couple of options for the drawstrings, but because I needed this done quickly, I went with the easier of the two (option 2). Both ways involve threading a ribbon or strap through the casing, which is easily accomplished by attaching a safety pin to one end of the ribbon. The pin allows one to easily feed it through the casing, completing this bag in no time at all.
Option 1: Double string (see above for cut information)
You will need two strings 2 times the width of your fabric (plus 5 inches, or so). To do this, thread the string through the entire casing, tying off at the end. Thread the other string through the casing, starting at the opposite side, tying off at the end.
Option 2: Single string
Because I was in a hurry and didn’t split the casing at the folded side, I opted for the single string method. Thread the string (2 times the width of your fabric plus 5 inches) through the entire casing and tie off at the end.
Elise is already asking for another tote bag for her precious FROZEN dolls and yet another for her tea set. I’m not sure why one needs a tote bag for a tea set, but because these are so quick and easy, I’m happy to comply.
What are some ways you use drawstring bags? Have you tried to make any food-friendly ones to use as recyclable produce bags? I’m thinking I might try that but I’ve yet to do research on food-friendly netted fabrics.
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