Sunday, 19 March 2017

Drawstring Gear Bag: A Tutorial

This year Ms Moo started both dancing and netball. Both of these activities are after school and she needed a bag she could take her "gear" to school in as well as put her uniform in once she'd changed. The poor love was using a plastic shopping bag, so I wanted to make her something a little more permanent.

Moo modelling her bag. Just the right size 

I made this bag using an orphan block that I had planned to turn into a cushion cover which I had lying around in my garage sewing room plus some of the fabric left over from my #100days100blocks quilt. It has a drawstring top to keep everything in nice and tight and the drawstrings are attached to the bottom of her bag so she can carry it over her shoulders.

It was a big success and of course I also have an order in from Ms Bird for one of her own.

Strips added to the top and bottom of an orphan block for the front

Pieced back from matching scraps

It was such a fun and fast little make, I thought I'd share how I made it. If you make one, I'd love to see yours too!


Outer Fabric:
  • Cut two 16.5" x 20.5" outer fabric (I pieced mine, but you can use your favourite print - whatever floats your boat)


  • Cut two pieces of interfacing the same size as your outer fabric. I used SF101. Note that mine was precut and slightly smaller than the outer, so I just aligned it down the middle.

  • Cut two 16.5" x 20.5" lining fabric

Contrast fabric to run drawstrings through and to attach handles:
  • Cut two  3" x 15" contrast fabric
  • Cut one 4" x 6.5" contrast fabric

  • 4m thick cord cut into two 2m pieces

  1. Fuse interfacing to the outer fabric per manufacturers instructions
  2. Prepare the channels for the drawstrings
    • Take the two pieces 3" x 15" contrast fabric and fold over 1/4" towards the wrong side on each of the short ends. Top stitch in place. 
    • Fold each piece in half , wrong sides together and press
    • Align raw edges of prepared contrast fabric with the top centre of each outer piece and stitch in place with a 1/4" seam allowance
  3. Prepare the loop for the straps
    • Take the 4" x 6" contrast fabric and fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together; press. 
    • Open and fold edges in to centre; press. Fold back in half lengthwise and top stitch down edges. 
    • Fold in half to form a loop
    • Align raw edges of loop with the bottom centre of the back piece of outer fabric and stitch in place with a 1/4" seam allowance
  4. Assemble the bag
    • Lie the fabric lining down face up and place the outer on top, right sides together. Take care at this point to ensure that the fabric is the right way if you are using a directional print. Sew together along the top with a 3/8" seam allowance. Press seams open
    • Lie the assembled outer/ lining pieces wrong sides together and stitch together with a 3/8" seam allowance leaving a 4" gap at the bottom of the lining for turning. When pinning together make sure that the seams between lining and outer match on each piece to get a nice finish.
    • Turn right way out through the gap you have left, pushing out the corners and sew the gap together. Press the bag
    • Push the lining  into the bag and press around the top to get a nice sharp edge.
    • Topstitch around the top to keep the lining in the bag
  5. Attach handles
    • Using a pin thread the cord through the channels and tie through the loop at the bottom
    • Repeat in the opposite direction with the second piece of cord. 
  6. Use and enjoy. If you make a version, tag it with #moobirdgearbag so I can check it out!!

Ready to use