Learn to Sew: Lesson 6: Drawstring Bag

In this lesson we will learn several topics that are applicable in a wide variety of sewing projects. The drawstring bag introduces how to make a casing or channel that can be used to hold, a drawstring, elastic, ribbon, and more. This skill is used everywhere from bag making to garment construction and makes the drawstring bag a great project for beginning sewers.

Lesson Category:

  • Machine Sewing – Straight Seams

Lesson Topics:

  • Making a Drawstring
  • Making a Casing
  • Sewing Straight seams
  • Finishing Seams
  • Pressing

This bag measured approximately 13.5 x 15 inches when finished, but could easily be adapted for other sizes.

The bag features a 1/2 inch wide drawstring made by piecing and folding 2 inch strips of fabric.

This project was designed to only use 1/2 yard of fabric, and as a result the drawstring is pieced, but you could use more fabric if you prefer to make the drawstring out of a continuous piece of fabric rather than multiple pieces.

It has a wide casing for easy threading of the drawstring. I’ll show you a quick way to make sure the sizing of your channel is consistent.

It also introduces finishing seams, which is a great skill in general. If you are interested in learning more about finishing seams check out my Skill Building Video on the topic!

In the video also introduces tips for how to turn a corner exactly, how to finish the edges of the drawstring channel and more.

Supplies

  • 1/2 yard cotton fabric
  • Coordinating thread

Helpful Tools

Instructional Video:

Flat Zipper Pouch

This is a classic zipper pouch! It is a great project to start sewing zippers if you want to learn. These make great pencil bags. They are also fun to fill and give as gifts.

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This is also a fun project to use decorative stitching on. I love adding a cute stitch to the contrasting bottom panel.

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This is a flat pouch, kind of like a pencil pouch. So, it does not stand up on its own.

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That said, it still holds quite a bit!

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You can easily adjust the size of the rectangles to make the bag as bid or small as you would like.

The bag I made has final dimensions of approximately 6 x 9 inches.

Supplies

Two 7 x 10 inch rectangles for the lining fabric

Two 7 x 10 inch rectangles of lightweight fusible interfacing (optional)

Two 4.5 x 10 inch rectangles for the outside TOP fabric

Two 3.5 x 10 inch rectangles for the outside BOTTOM fabric

One 11 inch Zipper

Here is the free pattern if you would like it.

Flat Zipper Pouch Pattern by learncreatesew

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW:

Rag Doll Part 1 – Constructing the Body

I have finished my rag doll pattern! I’ve been working hard to create the instructional videos and I am happy to say that I have the body instructions ready to share with you today.

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I really enjoyed working on this project and mixing and matching fabrics to create the body of the doll.

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I love all of the different styles you can design to make the doll uniquely your own!

This project is a bit more time consuming than others and does require a bit of patience. It is probably a 5/10 in difficulty just for the amount of time needed to hand stitch the hair and for the exactness of seam allowance that is needed. When sewing plush projects, a small error in your seam allowance can make a big difference in the appearance of your doll. You also need to be comfortable slip stitching and working with small curves.

The doll measures between 14 and 14.5 inches tall when finished.

Rag Doll Pattern by learncreatesew

Rag Doll Hair Tutorial COMING SOON!

Rag Doll Project Testing

A rag doll was one of the project brainstorm ideas that I posted in my sketchbook recently. The project is a bit time consuming, so I opted to do other projects first.

However, this weekend I was quite excited to have the time to work on the project.

First, I drafted two pattern options. After testing them both I made some adjustments to my favorite version and found a shape I was pretty happy with!

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Next came the daunting task of tackling the hair! I do have to say that it took longer than expected to hand stitch all that yarn! Thank goodness for comfy couches and Netflix. It definitely helps the process.

Once I was happy with my rough drafts, I went on to test the project!

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I have to say, I was quite happy with the results! I love all of the hair! It took about a half skein of yarn, but I love how puffy it is!

I hope to have instructions and patterns ready to share soon!

Casual Flannel Skirt with Pockets

This was a really fun project to make! It took me a few tries to perfect the sizing, but I was very pleased with the results.

When I designed this project I was looking for something to lounge around in, especially in the summer.

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Pockets are a must for me, so that was the first thing I decided the skirt needed.

Next, slits were a priority for ease of movement. I also ended up choosing an elastic waistband for simplicity. The elastic doesn’t have a casing, but is exposed on the inside of the skirt.

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Then, I looked at my huge stack of flannel. That definitely needed some attention. You don’t necessarily need to make the skirt using flannel fabric, but that is the only fabric I have tested the project on.

The skirt is designed to sit at your natural waist, where you bend, and is very comfortable. Here is my casual skirt in action as I tried to take photos. My dogs decided it was a great time to be helpful. Unfortunately, their photography skills are lacking. Luckily, they make up for the lack in cuteness.

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Casual Skirt Cut Layouts and Measurements by learncreatesew.com

Casual Skirt Pocket Pattern by learncreatesew.com

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW:

Thanks to my mom once again for being my photographer on this project!

 

Free Fleece Slipper Pattern – Adjustable Sizing

I know this project is a little unexpected. I wasn’t planning to make fleece slippers. The idea has been sitting around in the back of my head for a while, but I hadn’t had great success in making a pattern that worked for me.

Thank goodness this week my mom came to stay with me 🙂 The subject of slippers came up and since she wanted to make slippers it got me started on this project again, and I am very pleased with how it turned out!

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We just wanted a simple fleece slipper. Something casual and easy to make.

Of course, then we had to make them cute and add decorations!

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Flowers were the first addition 🙂

We also played with contrasting binding. My mom made this cute pair with purple binding.

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After cuteness, we moved on to comfort. The first addition for comfort was two layers of fleece for the base! My mom’s brilliant idea! This really made a difference. It made the side seams less noticeable, hid all raw edges, and added a layer of cushion as well.

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We also found that each of us preferred a different style of slipper. While my mom loves the classic snug fit with a lot of coverage, I found that the high opening wasn’t what I was used to.

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So, we altered the pattern. We decided to add a second style, ballerina fit, with a larger opening and longer band. We then added an optional mary jane strap, just for cuteness.

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In the end, while we hadn’t planned to spend several days making slippers, it was totally worth it. We both love our homemade slippers!

The project is fairly easy. You just need to be comfortable working with fleece and using a zigzag stitch.

The pattern is a woman’s size 7 but can be adjusted slightly for other women’s sizes.

Fleece Slipper Pattern Letter Size by learncreatesew

Fleece Slipper Pattern BALLERINA Letter Size by learncreatesew

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW:

Also! A special thanks to my mom for being my photographer and pattern tester for this project!

Project Brainstorm Sketchbook – Hanger Storage Bag & Casual Skirt

I had a few more ideas for possible projects!

First, I am thinking of making a closet storage bag, one that could easily hang from a hanger. It would have an open window for easy access. It is very similar to a clothespin bag.

hanger-bag

I am also thinking of making a casual skirt. My idea for this was a skirt that you could wear lounging around the house or on weekends. Just a simple flannel skirt with pockets. I can’t decide if I would prefer a drawstring or elastic waistband. I would definitely want comfort to be the priority.

casual-skirt

Composition Book Cover Testing

I decided to make the composition book cover first.

I tested my pattern several times looking for the best fit and arrangement. While my first plan was to just make the zipper pocket with the window, it was quite difficult in some respects and I wanted the project to be practical for sewers of all ability levels. As a result, I ended up making a pocket version as well.

I was quite pleased with how both turned out and hope to have tutorials available soon!

Composition Book Cover Cut Layouts by learncreatesew

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