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:

Sloth Plush Video Tutorial PART 1

The sloth plush has been one of my posted free projects for quite some time, but I thought it was time to make a video!

I absolutely LOVE this project! It is so cuddly, which just makes me happy! It does take a bit of time, especially if you choose to work with fur, so the instructions for this project will be in two parts.

Supplies:

  • 7 x 48 inches Faux Fur or Fleece for body and legs
  • 4.5 x 18 inches of fleece for the face and claws
  • Scrap felt for face details
  • Two 16mm Safety Eyes (You could also use felt circles or buttons if you prefer)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Magnets, Velcro, or Snaps (optional)
  • Scrap fabric to cover magnets (optional)
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Poly-fil Stuffing

Helpful Tools:

Files:

Video Instructions PART 1:

Skill Builder – Finishing Seams

One thing that comes up frequently in sewing is finishing seams. This can be just as important on simple projects as it is on garments and in more complex construction.

Having a bag of tricks for finishing seams can remove the need for linings and can simplify projects. It can also provide a more polished and professional look.

In my video I will demonstrate four different methods of finishing seams.

PINKING SHEARS

This is the easiest method for finishing seams. It takes very little time and is really convenient. However, it does require a nice pair of pinking shears and they can be a bit pricey.

Zigzag Stitch

This method is very convenient as well. Most sewers are comfortable with the basic zigzag. It doesn’t require any special tools or accessories and it gets the job done.

Zigzag Over the Edge

This is a quick substitute for the overcast stitch if you don’t have the overcast foot available. However, depending on the weight of your fabric the edge may roll a bit when it is met with the tension of the stitch. I find it works well on heavier weight fabrics. The fabric shown in the example is a mid-weight flannel.

Overcast Stitch

This stitch provides the most professional finish. Since it is actually designed to go over the edge it is great for finishing seam allowances. However, it usually requires a special foot for your machine, and depending on your machine the stitch may or may not be an option.

Watch the video and learn how to use these seam finishing methods!

Learn to Sew Lesson 2: Rice Bags

The second Learn to Sew lesson continues to focus on hand-sewing. Most of the time when we are hand sewing we are not working with felt or yarn. As a result, it is very helpful to practice your stitch size and placement, as well as working with regular all-purpose thread.

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Recommended prep before this lesson:

Lesson Category:

  • Hand Stitching

Lesson Topics:

  • Careful Cutting
  • Identifying the Right Side of the Fabric
  • Using a Seam Allowance
  • Double Threading a Needle
  • Tying a knot
  • Sewing a Back Stitch
  • Blanket Stitch Applique
  • Stitch Size & Placement
  • Slip Stitch

Whether you have been sewing for a while or are picking up a needle and thread for the first time, rice bags are always a fun project 🙂

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For this project, you get to add decoration of your choice to really personalize your project! Decorative stitching can add dimension to any project and is a great skill to have even when sewing complex projects. These also make great gifts when you are finished.

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Supplies:

5.5 x 11 inches of Cotton Fabric

Scrap Felt

1 Cup of Rice

Coordinating All-Purpose Thread

Here is the free pattern:

Owl and Sloth Rice Bag Patterns by learncreatesew

LESSON:

Project Brainstorm – Sketchbook

Now that I have finished making many many face masks I am ready to start a new project! The question becomes…what to do?

Here are a few ideas I have had.

The first is a composition notebook cover that contains a zippered pencil pouch with clear vinyl window.

composition-book-cover-final-1 by learncreatesew

The next is a rag doll. I’ve wanted to make a rag doll for quite some time.

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We’ll have to see what I decide to make! But now I have two more projects in my to do pile!

Face Mask Key Chain Case

Once I started making tons of face masks I decided it would be nice to have something to carry them in.

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They also make great gifts if you are planning to give face masks to others!

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This case is super cute and small enough to fit on a key chain.

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I made two different versions, one lined and one without lining.

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I also used several different closures – velcro, snaps, key rings, swivel hooks, and D-rings.

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I hope you have as much fun making these as I did.

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Face Mask Key Chain Pouch Web Pattern by Learncreatesew

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW (LINED/FINISHED EDGE):

QUICK OVERVIEW (BASIC/UNLINED):

Pocket (Gift Card) Pouch

With the fabric I had left over from the Toilet Paper Drawstring bag, I wanted to make another little project. A gift card pouch seemed perfect!

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I had enough fabric to make the pouch in two sizes.

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The smaller pouch is perfect for gift cards, and the larger pouch can hold items that are a little longer.

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They are super easy to make, 1/10 on the difficulty scale. They don’t take much fabric, they’re very fast, and make great gifts!

Pocket Pouch Pattern by learncreatesew

I made two videos for this project. The first include detailed instructions and explanations for each step.

Detailed Instructions:

The second is a quick overview if you already know the basics 🙂

Quick Overview:

Toilet Paper Drawstring Bag

As I was contemplating what my next sewing project would be, I couldn’t help thinking about what is on everyone’s minds at present. Toilet paper.

Yes, it is a rare and precious commodity nowadays. So! What to do…

Well, if you feel the need to travel with your toilet paper so you are prepared for those “just in case” moments, here is a little drawstring bag that is perfect to carry it!

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Of course, you don’t need to use your drawstring bag to tote around your toilet paper, it can carry a whole lot of different things, but the toilet paper sure fits nice!

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This is a great little project to practice sewing curved pieces to straight pieces. It doesn’t take a lot of fabric and it is quick.

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Take a look at my video to see how to make it!

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

Here is the pattern for the circular base:

Round Drawstring Bag Pattern

This project is fairly simple. You should be comfortable pressing, sewing curves, and working with small seam allowances. Difficulty 2/10.

OVERVIEW: