Day 10: Easy Drawstring Bags
It hasn’t felt very much like Christmas this week with the warm weather we have been having and today is just rainy and dreary. We have all been a little grumpy this week, despite the fact that we are in full Christmas prep mode. Today, to help us find some Christmas spirit, we listened to the first half of Handel’s Messiah while we sewed. That helped me along a little and I was able to get today’s quick gifty item done.
I like bags. I think they are useful for all kinds of things and I really feel that a person cannot have too many bags. My favorite bags for knitting are made by my friend Michele at ThreeBagsFullStudio on etsy. They are really well made, have a lot of great features, and are pretty as well.
In my bag collection, I also have a couple of simple drawstring bags that are especially useful for holding extra yarn for a bigger project. They help keep the yarn from rolling around with my project pieces and getting all tangled up. These easy drawstring bags are fun to make and very quick. I think I was able to sew six of them up in an hour after I had the prototype made and the process ironed out.
First, cut the fabric. I had a yard of mystery green fabric. I thought it was quilting cotton when I bought it, but I think it really must be some kind of blend because when I tried to iron it, it wrinkled up on high, which is the temp I usually use for cotton. Plus, it’s a little thin. Anyway, all of that was just to say that most any type of fabric can be used here, though I would stay away from the really expensive stuff and just use plain cotton.
I cut the fabric into 11 by 21 inch pieces. I also took a fat quarter that I had in my stash and cut it in half, so that I had two 9 inch by 21 inch pieces. Exact size is not super important here, so I wouldn’t worry about an extra inch or two here and there. As long as the corners are square and the sides straight, it will all work out.
Fold the fabric in half so that it is now 11 inches by about 10.5 inches. The fold will be the bottom of your bag and the opposite edge is the top.
At the top, make a mark an inch down from the top edge on each side.
Sew each side, beginning at the marked line and down to the bottom. Repeat on the other side.
Now, at the top opening, with the wrong sides still out, make a fold about quarter of an inch along the edge that did not get sewn towards the wrong side of the bag. Do this on all for unsewn top edges. If this sound a little confusing, look at the photos and all should be clear.
To make this next step easier, you can iron that fold down, which will also force you to iron open the side seams a little.
Now, this is the fiddliest part. You have to sew those folded edges so that there will not be any raw edges at the drawstring openings of your bags. I start on one side, then turn the fabric just past the one inch mark where the side seam starts, sew just a few stitches to get past the seam, turn again, and then finish sewing at the top edge.
Here’s what it looks like when you are done.
Now, fold down the top edge down about three quarters of an inch and sew a seam all around the top about a half inch from the fold.
Go all the way around the top of the bag. You will be sewing down those corner edges as well.
When you are finished, turn the bag right side out.
To insert the drawstrings, tie one end of some cotton yarn to a safety pin. Insert it through one side opening and move the yarn around the bag top until you come back to where you started.
Cut the yarn about 3-4 inches long, with the bag undrawn and then tie your ends together. Now do the same thing with another piece of yarn using the opening on the other side. The bag should draw up at the top when you pull both pieces of string.
For a festive look, I stenciled on some snowflake designs.
The smaller bags from the fat quarter are just right for a skein of sock yarn.
The larger green bags I made can fit two or maybe even three skeins of yarn.
Of course, they can also be used for other things besides yarn. They are a great reusable alternative to wrapping paper or could be used for packing on trips. Basically, they have all sorts of uses!
These can be made into all sorts of sizes if you want to customize them for certain things. One of these will definitely make its way into the Christmas giveaway box. Just leave a comment for a chance to win. Tell me how you would use one of these bags and which size you would prefer!