Just after Christmas I bought some mini fabric panels from the wonderful Jane Foster in her sale and I've been waiting until I think of something special to make with them. Do you ever do that? Keep something for a bit as it's 'too nice' to use too soon?
I've started with a patchwork drawstring bag, made as a gift for a new baby due soon. I thought it would be useful storage, maybe for toys or other baby paraphernalia.
I used scraps of pretty fabric from my stash, a pillowcase and bits of 2 old shirts. You could use whatever you have of course. This bag has turned out 35cm x 40cm (14" x 16") that's including the extra bit at the top for the drawstring.
If you are a complete beginner and just thinking about taking up sewing as a hobby then you might find the article I put together on “What you need to get started sewing” helpful. I list all the equipment that you’ll need, the essentials that you can’t really manage without.
To make A Patchwork Toy Bag you will need:
3 pieces of fabric 37cm x 37cm (15" x 15") for the back and lining
2 pieces of fabric 35cm x 16cm (13.5" x 6.5") for the drawstring
A piece of fabric with a cute design, you could fussy cut part of a patterned fabric if you can't find something like I bought from Jane Foster
Small pieces of patterned fabric, a good chance to use up scraps
Thread, Sewing Machine, Scissors
Creating the patchwork front panel
Exactly what you need will depend on the size of your piece of fabric with the central design. I'll give measurements and instructions for what I did and you can just adjust as necessary.
Use a 1 cm seam allowance throughout.
My central panel with the dog design measured 17cm x 16cm (6.75" x 6.25")
For the grey border I cut
2 pieces 17cm x 8 cm (6.75" x 3")
2 pieces 28cm x 8cm (11" x 3")
Pin then sew the 2 shorter pieces to the top and bottom of the central panel. Press the seams open.
Pin the sew the 2 longer pieces to the sides of the central panel. Press the seams open.
Create patchwork side border pieces. I used scraps left from other projects and created 4 panels:
2 pieces 29cm x 6cm (11.5" x 2.5")
2 pieces 36cm x 6cm (14.25 x 2.5")
Join these in the same way as the plain grey panels, the top and bottom pieces first, then the two side panels, pressing the seams at every stage.
Making the drawstring bag
At this point you'll have 4 pieces all the same size, the patchwork piece, the back and lining pieces.
Prepare the drawstring pieces. Fold one of the short ends over by 1/2cm, press, then turn over again and press. Repeat on the other end. I took photos of this but because I used black fabric nothing really shows up! You're just making a little hem at each end, I'm guessing you get what I mean.
Fold in half longways, and stitch 2 lines, one 2 cm from the fold and one 4 cm from the fold.
Repeat on the other drawstring piece.
Lay the patchwork piece right side up and place one of the drawstring pieces centrally at the top, raw edges together (so the fold is at the bottom).
Place one of the lining pieces on top and pin, then sew across the top edge.
Repeat with the back fabric and the other lining piece.
Open the 2 pieces up and lay the patchwork piece right side up.
Lay the back piece on top lining up the central seam on both side. Pin and then sew all round the edge leaving a 4 inch gap at the bottom of the lining.
Turn the bag out through the gap and then sew the gap up, You can do that on the sewing machine or by hand,
Press everything with the iron then push the lining into the outside of the bag.
Lastly create the drawstring. You can use ribbon, cord or make a fabric cord as I did. You want 2 lengths of drawstring that are a minimum 42cm (16.5")
I cut a 5cm x 43cm (2" x 17") length of patterned fabric and used a clever bias binding making gadget I have to turn it into bias binding. I folded the bias binding in half and then stitched along the length as close to the edge as I could.
Thread one cord through the channel in the drawstring section in one direction and back up the other side and tie the ends together. Thread the other cord through in the other direction and tie again.
Pat yourself on the back - you've made a beautiful, fully lined drawstring bag!
You can size this up and make a bigger bag or size it down and make something smaller. You could even go crazy and make both sides patchwork instead of the slightly lazy 'plain back version' that I've done here.
I'd also recommend following Jane Foster on Instagram as that is where I spotted the sales of her panels. Now what shall I make with the rest of those cute little printed panels?
I'll be linking this idea at these linkups.
You might like to check out these other bag making tutorials and ideas: