Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Small fabric bags

As part of my quest to make more Christmas gifts this year, I decided that I wanted to try making fabric bags. Not huge tote bags or anything, just something that would use up some of the fat quarters of fabric that I've collected here and there. Of course, I don't have a sewing machine, so this project required a little help. I recruited my mom, and she brought her fancy sewing machine over to my house for a couple of days. I cut and pressed fabric and did a little hand stitching here and there, while my mom kept her sewing machine humming along doing most of the assembly.

Reversible small bags made from Christmas-print fabrics and ribbon handles.
For each bag I chose two coordinating fabrics (some were from Stampin' Up!) and a wide coordinating ribbon for the handles. I ironed fusible fleece onto the outer fabric for each bag to provide some stability. I wanted to add a little embellishment, so I made a fabric yoyo with a button center for most of the bags. I sewed each yoyo onto a piece of ribbon and then tied the ribbon onto one of the bag's handles. That way it can be removed without leaving pin holes, and the ribbon adds extra color.

Reversible small bags made from coordinating fabrics and ribbon handles.
I'd spent some time searching the Internet and found a few patterns I liked, but nothing exactly right. But I have a small bag I received as a gift a few years ago that was almost perfect, so we took the measurements from that bag and used some tips and tricks from a few online patterns. Our first bag (the one on the top in this picture) wasn't the greatest. We placed the two pieces of fabric together, with fusible fleece between them, and then sewed the bag shape. That method left unfinished edges inside and along the top of the bag. We covered the edges on top, but I wasn't crazy about the look of it -- or having to do that extra step -- so we modified our "pattern."

Reversible small bags made from Christmas-print fabrics and ribbon handles.
For the rest of the bags my mom sewed the inside fabric and outside fabrics into the bag shape separately and then sewed them together along the top seam with the handles in between, leaving a few inches to turn the bags. I had the job of turning the bags inside out, tucking the lining fabric into the bag, and then whip stitching the opening closed. This method is much more finished looking, and the bags are actually reversible because all the seams are hidden between the layers of fabric.

Photo showing the inside of one of the finished bags.
For most of the bags I cut the pieces of fabric to 20" x 14". Some of my fabric pieces weren't big enough, though, so used smaller pieces: 20" x 11", 20" x 12" and 19" x 13". For those smaller sizes, we just made the bottom of the bag narrower.

I'm using these bags as gift bags and tucking a few little treats inside them. The recipients can keep them to use themselves or re-use them to give a gift to someone else.

Photo showing a close-up view of one of the fabric yoyos made with green fabric, a red button in the center and brown ribbon.
Here is a list of the supplies I used:
Fabric: Candy Cane Christmas, Candlelight Christmas, Spice Cake, Essentials (Stampin' Up!); Christmas in Killarney (Keepsake Quilting); other miscellaneous patterns
Ribbon (all Stampin' Up!): Burlap; Chocolate Chip taffeta; Baja Breeze striped grosgrain; Old Olive, Night of Navy 1-1/4" striped grosgrain; 3/4", 1-1/2" twill tape; Very Vanilla, Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake seam binding ribbon
Other: Crochet thread, Candy Cane and Sweet Stitches Big Designer Buttons (Stampin' Up!), Very Vintage Designer Buttons (Stampin' Up!), 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue (Beacon)

Thanks for stopping by!

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