I think you'll be surprised as just how fast and easy these bags really are. I made all three of the ones in the photo in just two hours, including cutting everything out and the extra steps for the optional cording accent on one. Of course, you can make these in any fabric and for any occasion.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 45" wide fabric for bag
- ½ yard of 45" coordinating fabric for lining
- 1 yard of coordinating ribbon - apx. 1" wide
- ½ yard coordinating thin cording (optional)
- All-purpose thread in colors to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- From bag fabric, cut one piece 15" wide x 16" high.
- From lining fabric, cut one piece 15" wide x 16" high.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place bag piece and lining piece right sides together, matching all raw edges. Pin along one 15" side.
NOTE: This seam will be the top of your bag, so if you are using a directional print, make sure you are stitching the TOP edges together.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press seam open.
- Lay your seamed piece open and flat on your work surface, right sides facing up.
- Fold the the ribbon in half, and place the folded edge at the midpoint of the bottom raw edge of your bag fabric.
- Stitch ribbon in place very close to the edge.
NOTE: For one of our bags, we selected a ribbon that was patterned on only one side. If you choose a ribbon like this, fold the ribbon right sides together and stitch it to the bag with the wrong sides facing out. When the bag is completed, and you wrap the ribbon around to tie, the patterned side will show correctly.
- Fold your seamed piece in half, right sides together, encasing the ribbon inside. Match seams and all raw edges. Pin in place, leaving approximately half of the lining's short edge open. You will use this opening to turn the bag right side out.
- Stitch all around, using a ½" seam allowance, and remembering to leave those last few inches of lining unsewn.
NOTE: Make sure your ribbon ends are up and out of the way in the middle of the fabric so they don't get caught in your seam; only the ribbon's folded edge, which you already basted in place, should be in the seam.
- Clip corners. Turn right side out through the lining opening. Push out corners so they are nice and square. You can also use the point of a pin to gentle pick and pull the corners out if need be.
- Press. Turn in the lining opening ½" so it matches the seam. Slip stitch closed.
- Push the lining into the bag. Adjust the lining so it is as flat inside the bag as possible. Press.
- Fold down the top of the bag, adjusting this ‘cuff' to best fit the bottle or gift that will be inside the bag.
- Wrap ribbon around and tie a bow to secure the bag and its contents.
Hints and Tips
Adding optional trim to the top seam
We added some cording along the top seam of one of our bags. This is a more advanced technique, but it does add a lovely highlight. You could also use beaded trim or fringe or even pom poms. Whatever best matches your fabric and style.
- Prior to any of the steps listed above, sew the trim to the top 15” edge of your bag fabric. Place the trim on the right side of your bag fabric, lining up the cording’s insertion tape with the raw edge of your fabric. Pin in place.
- We recommend using a zipper foot so you can sew as close to the trim as possible. Stitch trim in place.
- Place your lining fabric over the top of the bag fabric so the fabrics are right sides together and the cording is sandwiched in between. Line up all raw edges and pin in place.
- Stitch all layers together, still using the zipper foot, still sewing as close to the cording as possible.
- Replace your zipper foot with your regular sewing foot and complete the steps as listed above.
Sewing over the cordingOne final note about choosing the cording option: you’ll need to off-set the ends of the cording when you fold your piece in half so the trim lays as flat as possible. There’s no way your machine will be able to stitch over the bulk of two full pieces of cording. Off-setting like this is a bit different than how you would normally butt together or splice cording or piping (see our tutorial, How to Make and Attach Your Own Piping). The reason is you’re not going around in a circle or square, as you would on a pillow, with the beginning meeting the end. In this case, you’re folding a pre-trimmed piece together and actually running a seam over the cording; you have to arrange the two pieces side by side as best you can. Go with a small cording for the best (easiest) results.
It’s still going to be a bit of a challenge sewing over the bulk of the cording. Go slowly and carefully. As we’ve mentioned before, the Janome machines we use are powerful and precise, and they can handle tasks like this, but if you have a machine that’s given you trouble in the past with thick seams and layers, I would not recommend this cording option.
Other machines suitable for this project include the Singer 4205 Inspiration and the Baby Lock Decorator's Choice.