I have made a bunch of project bags for myself recently, and I’d like to share my method. I’m getting a lot of comments on them on instagram, so here’s how to make one (or a bunch!) for yourself and your knitting friends.
It’s my preferred style of project bag – a boxy lined drawstring pouch. I like a sturdy bag that stands up by itself, so I recommend using iron on interfacing.
To confess, I’m pretty lousy at sowing, so if I can sow a project bag, so can you. If the edges are a bit uneven, don’t sweat it, it’ll be fine. I try to cut fabric and stitch it as best as I can, but hey, if the seams don’t match up perfectly, who cares? The cheerful fabric will make up for any mistakes 🙂
First, gather you stash of Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton fabrics.
you’ll also need:
coordinating cotton thread
shears or a rotary cutter
water soluble pen or chalk
iron-on interfacing, medium thickness
paracord or ribbon
large safety pin
Use a seam allowance of 0.5cm or so throughout.
Look at the fabrics for a while, then reluctantly choose only 3 that sort of go together. We’ll need 2 exterior fabrics and one lining fabric. Iron well, it really helps.
Cut the following pieces:
Exterior main fabric:
1 piece: 36cmx27cm
Exterior accent fabric:
2 pieces: 13cmx27cm
2 pieces: 35cmx27cm
Arrange the fabrics as such:
Where the accent fabric meets lining is the top of the bag, arrange any directional prints accordingly. Pin (right sides together) and sew your pieces, to create one large strip.
Cut your iron-on interfacing to match the strip of fabric you have just created. I like to press my seams to one side and iron the interfacing on afterwards. The seams are less bulky this way.
You don’t have to have one large piece of interfacing, few smaller pieces will do too.
Trim off excess interfacing. I always seem to have excess bits on the sides.
Fold your strip in half, right sides together. Try to match up seams as best as you can (I pin it at the seams). We’ll be leaving about 10cm open in the centre at the lining end for turning later.
On the exterior accent piece on both sides, measure and mark 1cm from the stitching and then 3 cm – this is where the drawstring will be, positioned closer to the lining side/top of the bag. These two small sections will remain unsewn.
Sew along the three open sides, leaving the two small sections and the 10cm on the bottom of the bag open. Backstitch when you start and stop.
Now we need to box off the corners to create a flat base. Measure and mark 5.5cm from both ends of the bag (5.5cm from the exterior main end, and lining end seam). Draw a line across, on both sides and on the back.
Now wiggle the corner apart, flatten the corner and match up the seams.
Find the line that you marked and line it up. Sew across the line, backstitching the ends and at the middle.
Trim excess fabric.
Repeat for all four corners.
Turn your bag inside our through the bottom opening.
Iron it a bit and press the lining opening under 0.5cm, and using teeny tiny seam allowance stitch the lining opening together.
Nestle the lining into the exterior and push the corners out. The lining is a bit bigger than the exterior, so there should be lining fabric peeking out at the top! Iron as flat as possible.
Find the 2cm opening that we left on both sides of the bag. Mark 1cm from the top seam and 3cm from the top seam. Draw a line all around the bag with chalk or water soluble pen if you wish to (I eyeballed it).
Topstitch all the way around the bag, creating a channel where the drawstring will be. Backstitch at the start and finish.
(To topstitch, I just use a longer stitch)
Bam! Sewing done.
Cut 2 lengths of your string or ribbon or paracord, approximately three times as long as the bag is wide.
If using paracord, you can melt the ends with a lighter a bit to prevent fraying.
Push a safety pin through one end of the paracord, insert it into one of the side openings, push it through the channel all the way around (don’t come out at the other opening), pull it out of the opening where you started and knot it. Repeat for the other paracord starting at the other side opening.
This way the bag will stay closed when you pull on both sides of the paracord simultaneously.
This project bag is small/medium, but you can vary the sizes easily, just keep the proportions similar.
Hope you make some, and let me know how it went 🙂 You can comment here or tag me on instagram as @hedgehogfibres