Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Drawstring Bag Tutorial

I made a couple of these reversible bags before Christmas for all of the little sock, stocking, mitten, and hat projects I was carrying around, and so many people have requested instructions on how to make them, I have been spurred into action and have made a little tutorial! Thank you, Steph for prodding me on the subject, and Lisa and Veronique for physically forcing me to do it. :)
I really threw these together, so it's not a perfect pattern by any means, and if you can think of a better way to do things, go for it. But here's what I did.
Materials: For a smaller pouch, you can use 2 fat quarters, or for a slightly roomier pouch, 2 half-yards (which will leave you a lot left over). The measurements for the roomier version are in parentheses. You'll also need about a yard of ribbon or cord, and you can use a double cord stop for your drawstring, if you like.
1. From each piece of fabric, cut one piece that is 6" x 6" (6.5" x 6.5") and one piece that is 9" x 21" (10" x 24").
Fat Quarter Layout:
Your shorter side of the rectangle is what will eventually determine the height of your pouch, and you'll be losing 2" from your original number, so if you want a taller/shorter bag, plan accordingly.
2. Next, take one rectangle and one square, and, right side (RS) of square facing up, lay the corner of the rectangle about halfway down the square, RS facing down. You will be aligning the beginning of one of the long edges of the rectangle with half of one of the sides of the square:
3. Now sew this segment, with a 1/2" seam allowance, starting 1/2" from the start of the rectangle, and stopping a 1/2" before the square ends underneath. I stuck a pin in where the square ends so I would know to stop a 1/2" before then:
4. Now this sounds tricky, but it's not, really. You're going to lower the needle into the fabric, but raise the presser foot, and essentially hold up the top (rectangle) fabric while rotating the square underneath so that the next side of the square is again aligned with the long edge of rectangle:
Basically, you've got a square, and a long rectangle, and you're sewing the rectangle onto the square, wrong sides out. The corners are going to be wonky; just try to get them as flat as you can--you'll snip the corners later to give them a little more ease.
5. Sew down this side, stopping a 1/2" before end of square.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice, and then repeat step 4 again. You're now about to start sewing on the side that you started on at the beginning. You're going to sew all the way to where you started, being careful NOT to stitch over the little 1/2" flap of fabric that you left for yourself at the beginning. Sew right up to it, holding it out of the way (it can be helpful to use a pin to mark the spot where you'll stop here as well). You should have at least a 1/2" of fabric remaining:
Your corners will look like this:
So snip off the corners of the square, and do about 3 little snips into those really tightly pulled corners of the rectangle (being careful not to snip all the way to the seam). This will give your corners some ease:
7. Sew up the edge seam. If you have more fabric on one edge than the other, trim the edge with extra:
8. Now repeat steps 2-7 with the second fabric. I swear, you're almost done!
9. Leave one bag inside-out, and turn the other right-side-out and tuck it into the inside-out one:
10. With chalk or fabric marker, make a few marks around the top of the outer fabric, 1 1/2 " from the top. Then sew around, along these markings, through both fabrics, and making sure to leave about a 2.5-3" opening:
11. Turn the whole thing right side out by pulling the bag through the 3" opening you just left. Tuck one bag inside the other and press the edge flat all the way around where you just sewed. Your seams should all be hidden on the inside of the bag now.
12. Sew all the way around the top of the bag, 1" from the edge. I marked a 1" seam allowance on my machine rather than marking the fabric again:
It should end up looking like this:
With the 3" opening you left still open in the top of the bag, but now only opening into your fully lined drawstring channel:
13. Now tie one end of your ribbon or cord to a large safety pin:
And thread it though the channel.
14. When you get it through, cinch the bag tight with your hands so you can figure out how long you want the cord. Cut it, and if you're using a cord stop, thread it onto one side of the cord. Now, holding both ends in one hand, tie a knot (the kind pictured below won't untie):
Scoot the knot around, moving your cord stop as you go, till the knot is hidden in the depths of your drawstring channel. Cinch that baby up, and voila! You are finished!
Pouches by me, Lisa, and Veronique:
Close-up:

This is what your table should look like by the end of it:Much thanks to Veronique and Lisa for helping me out with making this tutorial! I hope you like it. :)