Monday, March 28, 2016

Drawstring Tote Bag Instructions

This drawstring tote bag is now my go-to gift bag. No need for a bunch of wasteful tissue paper to hide your present -- the drawstring closure keeps your surprise under wraps :)

The bag also becomes an extra bonus on top of the gift it's carrying inside. The first friend I gave one to years ago has been using it as her lunch bag. My sister-in-law intends to use hers to carry her art supplies.  It's just a conveniently sized little bag to carry stuff around in, with a simple closure so your things don't fall out.  What else could you ask for? :)

Although I first made this a few years ago and have made a few more since -- there are a couple of spots where I tend to mess up the construction (and then end up having to unpick a lot of stitches as a result).  So I figured it was time to put together instructions to prevent such future kerfuffles.

Here's what you need:

1 piece for the body - 21" x 14"
2 pieces for the handles - 3" x 14"
1 piece for the casing / drawstring closure - 8" x 21"
1 drawstring - at least 23" long (not in picture)

1. First we make the handles and body like you would with any other tote bag.

First, fold the handle pieces the long way, right sides facing and stitch the long sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance (so you have a long skinny tube).  Press the seam open and turn it right side out (attach a large safety pin onto the end of the tube and then push that safety pin through the inside of the tube to turn the tube right side out).

Press the handles with the seam in the middle.  Stitch along the length of the handles with 1/8" seam allowance (or as close to the edge as you can stitch nicely).

For the body piece, zigzag 3 out of the 4 edges, leaving one long edge raw.  This will be the top / opening of the bag.  Fold the piece in half, and stitch around the side and bottom of the bag with a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving the raw edge on top open.

(Optional) Square off the bottom corners of the bag, snip off the corners and zigzag the raw edge.

2.  Now we make the casing / closure for the drawstring tote bag.

Fold the casing/closure piece in half the long way and press.

Open it and fold it in half the other way and pin together.  Using pins, mark a point 1/2" from each side of the fold you made in the previous step (this is assuming that your drawstring is less than 1/2" wide -- if it's wider, you would mark those points the width of your drawstring away from the centre fold you made earlier).  Stitch this left side of the casing, from the bottom towards the middle, stopping at the mark you made and then back stitching.  Repeat from the top to wards the middle.

You now have a tube with the same diameter as the bag opening.

Press the seam open and stitch around the opening you have in the middle.  This is the opening for the drawstring casing.

Fold the tube in half along the crease you made at the beginning.  Stitch around the tube 5/8" from the fold.

3.  Now that we have the bag, handles and casing / closure piece, it's time to put them all together.

With the bag body right side out, pin the handles to the top of the bag 2 1/4" from the sides, with the seam facing away from the bag.  Put the casing over top of the body and handles and pin the raw edge of the casing to the opening of the bag.  Stitch with 3/8" seam allowance.

Turn the bag inside out and press the seam open so that the casing piece is flat.  Fold the whole top of the bag down so that 1 1/4" of the right side of the body fabric is showing.  Fold the handles up and pin.  Stitch around the opening of the bag, 1/8" from the top as well as 1/8" from the seam between the bag body and drawstring closure.

Turn the bag right side out, insert your drawstring and you're done!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Handkerchief tote bag

Here's a very simple project that I did with my Girl Guides (ages 9-11) last year.  They did it as part of their needlework/sewing badge.  The girls were able to get it done on the same meeting that they learned to use the sewing machine (with some help, of course).  If you were doing it on your own, you could probably finish the whole thing in well under 10 minutes.

It makes a cute little gift bag.

Here's how you do it:

Start with 2 handkerchiefs, the same size.  Pin them together, right sides facing (not shown).  Draw a line 2-3 inches from the edge.  Cut along this line to create the strip for the handle (the exact placement of this line is not critical -- just eyeball it).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Origami frog!

Please excuse yet another non-sewing related post.  This is just something else I had to share.

This origami frog has provided countless hours of entertainment for children (and non-children) I've known.  It's great for warding off boredom when all you have is paper and limited space.  It's less disruptive than paper airplanes and considerably more fun than a paper crane.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Adding a drawstring closure to a yoga bag

Last week, I figured out another (hopefully simpler) way to make the drawstring closure on a yoga bag.  Here's the bag I made today using this new (and hopefully improved) method.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pencil case / camera pouch

This is a joint effort between me and Sahar.  She started it as a pencil case.  When I saw the pieces in my fabric stash the other day, I figured it would be a good replacement for the camera bag I sadly lost a few weeks ago.  So now it's my new camera pouch.  :-)  (don't worry, Sahar doesn't mind)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beautiful Thanksgiving Weekend II

We went to Etienne Brule Park to watch the salmon run today.  I wasn't able to capture any pictures of the fish jumping but I did get some birds and trees.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beautiful Thanksgiving Weekend

This has nothing to do with sewing, but it is about Toronto...

We are in the midst of a beautiful Thanksgiving long weekend in Toronto right now.

Yesterday, Aunty and I took advantage of the beautiful day and finally used the Groupons I had bought in April for Toronto Harbour Tours.  Our ship captain and first mate, Caroline and Rob, gave us a very entertaining tour of the harbour as they took us to the Toronto Islands.

View of Toronto from Deep Pike Cut (one of the channels between islands).


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