Friday, June 15, 2012

Sewing Tutorial: How to Make an Easy Project Bag

Happy Friday Everyone!

I've been really excited lately about these easy cloth bags that I've been making, and I wanted to share them with you and include some simple instructions. I've taken some photos to go along with it, so I think with my written instructions and photos, you should be able to figure it out. They are super simple after all!

(I will apologize in advance for the slightly grainy photography and messy yarn piles in some of the photos. I am in the process of cleaning out my sewing room and it's getting messier before it gets more organized.) :)


I love these bags and use them for all sorts of things besides just toting around knitting projects (although they get used for that too)! Some other potential uses for these cute cloth bags:

1) Produce bags at the grocery store
2) Gift bags any time of year.
3) Pack a few extra when you travel for dirty laundry
4) Use as a beach bag in a pinch when traveling
5) Use different prints for different kids when going on car trips to carry toys and games for entertainment.

The possibilities really are endless for these, and if you cut out a bunch at once, you can make one in about 10-15 minutes! I made two in about 30 minutes last night using a couple different Amy Butler Sale Prints. Here is what you need to get started:

Materials:
-Basic sewing tools- a sewing machine, scissors, thread, measuring tape.
-1/2 yd or more of a fun fabric. (You can make these in any size. You can get two 9"x13" bags or one 15"x18.5" bag out of 1/2 of a yard of fabric. If you get a full yard of fabric, you can get three 14"x16" bags which are perfect medium sized project bags. You can also make these with fabric scraps from other sewing projects. Go wild!)
-At least 1 yd of Ribbon or Cord per bag (You can also use up scrap yarn by making i-cord or crochet chains to use as the drawstring. Whatever you use, just make sure it can withstand being tied over and over.)
-A 1.5" or larger safety pin.

Instructions:


Step 1: Wash and iron your fabric. Do me a favor and don't skip this step. Please. Your fabric needs to be washed to pre-shrink. You don't even want to know what your bag will look like if you don't do this and then you throw it in the wash. It's not pretty.

Step 2: Cut out your fabric whatever size you want your bags to be. If you can get away with cutting the whole thing as one long strip that you will fold in half so that you don't need to sew a bottom seam, do it. Otherwise, you'll just have to sew the bottom seam. No biggie. :)


Step 3: With the print facing in, sew the side seams (the two longer sides), and if necessary, the bottom seam (one of the shorter sides). Leave a 2.5"-3" space at the top of each long side to fold down later for the drawstring casing at the top of your bag. When you sew the sides, use a 1/2" seam allowance. If you have three sides to sew, start at the top of the one of the longer sides and work your way around. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning, corners, and end of your seams to reinforce the stitches.


Step 4: Trim the edges of your bag if they look a little rough. If you have a serger, you can serge the edges to keep them from fraying. If not, I like to use pinking shears which cut little zig zag edges and also help prevent fraying.

Step 5: Turn your bag inside out and iron your seams flat. You may have to stick your hand inside the bag to push the seams forward as you iron them.

Step 6: Iron down the 1/2" edges on the top side flaps of your bag.


Step7: Then iron down the top edges 1/2" so that your seam has a smooth edge on it.



Step 8: Iron down the tops another full inch and stitch down both sides separately using a 1/4" seam allowance. You should now have two little tubes at the top of your bag on both sides of your opening for your ribbon.

Step 9: Cut two lengths of ribbon for your drawstrings. Each piece should be twice the length of the bag opening plus 4"-6" depending on the size of your bag.


Step 10: Attach the safety pin to the end of one ribbon and use it to guide the ribbon through both tubes. When the ends meet, tie a knot. Then attach the pin to the other length of ribbon and guide it through the tubes the opposite direction. You now have a super cute project bag!!!


Extras and Advanced Techniques:

- Use a French Seam on the inside seams to make them look super nice and not fray. Directions on how to do a French Seam can be found in a number of sewing reference manuals. You can also check out these directions here on Burda Style.

-Make a cute square bottom on your bag by opening the bottom corners and sewing them across anywhere from 2"-4" wide. Cut the corner off once you've made the seam.


-Piece together different fabrics for a patchwork bag.

-Embroider or applique onto your bags.

Any way you make them, you are sure to love how fast and easy it is to make these bags. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Please feel free to let me know what you think by leaving a comment! Or, if you've made these types of bags, leave us some of your tips!

Hope you all have a great weekend and happy sewing!
Kristen

2 comments:

CrochetBlogger said...

Nice tutorial. Love that these bags can truly be used for almost anything.

KristenJBW said...

Thank you!