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ScrapBusters: Drawstring Gift Bags

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Last week during our June is 4... series, we highlighted projects to make for the many gift-giving occasions during this busy month. Today, we're reminding you a handmade and personalized gift bag is often as fun as the present on the inside. A beautiful fabric bag can be re-used for so many things: additional gifts, to hold jewelry or lingerie when you travel, as a mini carryall in a bigger tote or bag. Our ScrapBuster design is very simple, and has the added benefit of a built-in drawstring that cinches the bag closed and creates a pretty ruffle along the top. What really makes a gift bag special is when you go to the trouble to customize it for the gift recipient. Does he or she have a favorite color or hobby? Reflect that in the fabric. Or match the outside fabric to the gift inside. Is it filled with homemade edibles? Choose a fabric with a yummy food motif. Housewarming gift? Find a sweet print with vintage cottages.

Dig into your scrap bag and find a unique combination of fabrics that will strike a chord. Then mix and match, trying some combos that push the envelope. We mixed a dainty print with a bold chevron then added some whimsical rick rack. Super cute! The trim also works as a great transition device between the top and bottom fabrics. You don't have to use rick rick; ribbon, fringe or even a beaded embellishment could be just the ticket. Take a look at our Terrific Trims article for more information on the types of trims available as well as the best feet and the right notions to make working with them easier.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any sewing machine (we recommend the Janome DC2013)
  • Quilting guide bar (optional)

Fabric and Other Supplies

Bag One

Bag Two

  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the bottom section; we used Millie's Purses in Red from the Millies' Closet collect by Loti Holt of Bee in My Bonnet  for Riley Blake Designs - this particular fabric is no longer in stock at Fabric.com
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the top accent band; we used Chevron in Black by RBD Designers for Riley Blake Designs from Fabric.com

Other supplies (shown in amounts for ONE bag)

  • ¾ yard of 20" lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon 950F Shir-Tailor®
  • 1¼ yards each of TWO coordinating ⅜" wide ribbons; we used satin ribbon in pink and black for Bag One and in blue and black for Bag Two
  • ¾ yard of jumbo rick rack; we used pink for Bag One and Blue for Bag Two - coordinate your rick rack color with the ribbon color
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil 
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pin for threading the ribbon through the casing

Getting Started

The instructions below are the steps to create ONE bag.

  1. From the fabric for the exterior and lining, cut FOUR 10" x 10" squares: two for the exterior and two for the lining. 
  2. From the fabric for the top accent band, cut TWO 7" high x 10" wide rectangles.
  3. From the fusible interfacing, cut FOUR 10" x 10" squares
  4. Cut each ribbon into two 22" lengths.
  5. Cut a 20" length of rick rack.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse one piece of interfacing to the wrong side of all four fabric squares. The accent band does not get interfacing. 
  2. Pin the front and back exterior pieces right sides together along both SIDES. NOTE: Because you are working with squares, if you have a directional fabric as we did, you need to be careful you are pinning along the sides and bottom - not the top. Double check before you stitch. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
  4. Repeat to pin and stitch the two lining pieces together.

Box the bottom corners of the exterior and the lining

  1. Our bag is designed to have 2" sides and base. To create this width, we figured our corners at 1". 
  2. Measure and mark each corner. 
  3. Press open all the seams. 
  4. Flatten the corner.
  5. Double stitch the corner.
  6. Repeat to create the opposite corner.
    NOTE: If you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
  7. Repeat to create the bag lining. 
  8. Turn the bag exterior right side out. Keep the bag lining wrong side out. 
  9. Slip the bag lining inside the bag exterior, so the two are now wrong sides together. Align all the seams and the bottom corners. 
  10. Set aside.

Top accent band 

  1. Find the two 7" x 10" rectangles.
  2. Fold and press both pieces in half (3½" x 10"), wrong sides together, to set a center crease. 
  3. Unfold wrong side up and place horizontally on your work surface. 
  4. On EACH 7" side of EACH top piece, measure and mark ¾" from the top raw edge. 
  5. From that mark, measure an additional ¾" and make a second mark. The space between the two marks will become the channel for the ribbons. 
  6. Repeat to create these marks on the remaining accent band..
  7. Along the bottom 10" edge of EACH accent band, fold up the raw edge ¼" and press.
    NOTE: One quick way to make a perfect ¼" fold is to measure ½" from the bottom raw edge with your see-through ruler. Draw a horizontal line all the way across at this measurement. Fold up the bottom raw edge to meet the line and press. 

  8. Place the two accent band pieces right sides together and pin along both 7" sides. Match the channel marks. Unfold the ends of the bottom folded edges so the side seams are flat from top to bottom.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides, leaving the space between the two marks open along both sides. Lock your seam at both sides of the opening on each side. Press the seams open and flat. 
    NOTE: When pinning, it can help to put double pins at either side of the opening to cue yourself when to stop and start.
  10. If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to best match the accent band in the top and bobbin. 
  11. Topstitch the seam allowance in place around the channel opening. 

    NOTE: If you have a free arm on your machine, this is a great time to use it. Simply slip the accent band over the free arm to more easily stitch around the opening. 
  12. You are essentially stitching a keyhole around the opening to catch and secure the seam allowance. 

Rick rack

  1. Find your length of rick rack.
  2. Place the rick rack along the raw edge of the accent band (which is now a loop). In other words, not the folded edge. 
  3. Pin in place, starting and stopping at a side seam. 
  4. The top "waves" of the rick rack should be ⅛" from the raw edge. At the beginning and end, turn the rick rack towards the raw edge of the fabric so these raw ends will be hidden in the seam. Trim away any excess rick rack
  5. Using a ⅜" seam allowance, machine baste the rick rack in place.
  6. Find the bag (with the lining in place inside). 
  7. Slide the accent band over the top of the bag so the band and bag are right sides together and the raw edges are aligned. The rick rack is sandwiched between the layers. 
  8. Line up the seams and pin all around the top. 
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch the accent band to the bag. Again, this is a great time to use your free arm if you have one.
  10. Pull the accent band up. Press the band up and the rick rack down. 
  11. Refold the band along its original center crease. This will bring the band to the inside of the bag and the ¼" folded edge will cover the bag/band seam you just made. 
  12. Pin this edge in place all the way around first from the inside to make sure you have covered the seam all the way around. Then, carefully transfer your pins to the right side of the bag. 
  13. Topstitch the accent band in place all the way around, staying as close as possible to the seam line. This will catch the inside folded edge. 

Drawstring channel

  1. Stitch 2" from the top fold of the accent band all the way around to form the top of the drawstring channel. We used our quilting bar to keep a consistent seam.
  2. Stitch a second seam ¾" from the seam you just made, all the way around, to form the bottom of the drawstring channel. You can also measure ⅜" up from topstitching seam. 

    NOTE: These stitching lines are just above and just below the side seam openings.
  3. Find the four lengths of ribbon. Pair them up in color opposite pairs - one black with one pink in our sample. Attach a safety pin through both ribbons at one end. Thread one pair of ribbons through the front channel and the second pair of ribbons through the back channel. 
  4. Cinch the ribbons, knot and tie bows at each side seam.
     

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (4)

amy mccarthy said:
amy mccarthy's picture

These are so cute!  I'm in the process of sewing one right now.  Am I reading the instructions correctly that say cut two pieces of interfacing, but then the work instructions say to iron interfacing onto the bag exterior and the lining.  I'm just not sure if I should apply interfacing to the lining or not.  Thanks for this tutorial!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ amy mccarthy - So sorry - you are right. You need FOUR squares of interfacing. Both the exterior and the lining are interfaced. Thanks for the heads-up. We've fixed above.

Yanilda Reyes said:
Yanilda Reyes's picture

You are excellent. You hands are blessed.  I have learned a lot from you. I wish I could be in US close to you for continuing learning. I am overseas. (:

Your tutorials are out of this world!!!!!

 

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