Friday, April 29, 2011

The Ballet Bag Tutorial

I hope you enjoy my tutorial for a lined (and reversible!) drawstring bag of (in my opinion) perfect proportions.


For Side A: cut two 14.5" x 17.25" pieces (the 14.5" edge will be the top so keep it in mind for directional prints)

For Side B: cut two 14.5" x 17.25" pieces (same here: top edge is 14.5")


For Drawstring: 2 yards (72") of double faced satin ribbon (5/8" wide).

Let's get started! Place one Side A and one Side B right sides together:


Sew along one short side using a 1/4" seam. This will be the top of the bag so be careful if you're using a directional print. Press seam open (this will help your bag look more finished). Repeat with your other two pieces:


Place one of your pieces wrong side up. Mark lines for your drawstring .5" and 1.25" on both sides of the seam line. Repeat on the other side.

*edit* After making several bags since creating this tutorial, I now like to mark lines for my drawstring at 1" and 1.75". I like a little more fabric above the drawstring. Mark your drawstring at whatever height you prefer.


Pin your two pieces together, making sure that matching fabrics are layered together.


Sew the long sides only using a 1/2" seam. Backstitch when you get to the first pencil line. Move to your next pencil line and sew the space between lines (over the seam). Backstitch at the beginning and end. Move to the last pencil line, backstitch and continue sewing the long seam until you reach the bottom of the bag.


Repeat on the other long side.

Sew both short short sides using a 1/4" seam. On one of the sides, leave a 3" gap, backstitching at either side.


Now we'll make the gussets. Place your ruler on the stitching lines in one corner of your bag. Measure 1.25" from the corner on each side and mark with a pencil line.


Pinch the front and back sides of the bag and pull the fabric outward.



Your goal is to get the seams and your pencil lines to line up. I like to mark the pencil lines with a pin to make sure the front and back are lined up.


With your ruler, draw a line perpendicular to your seam line. The line should be 2.5" from edge to edge and should line up with your original pencil mark.


Pin and sew along this line, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim the corner, leaving a 1/4" seam.


Repeat these steps with your three remaining corners.

Once you're finished with that, press your side seams open. This will create the opening for your drawstring. You don't have to press the entire seam, just be sure to press a few inches on either side of the top seam.


Check your bag for lint and/or stray threads and then pull your bag through the gap in the bottom.



Sew the gap closed by machine or by hand (I used a ladder stitch which is pretty invisible).


Push one of the sides into the other, creating the bag. We will be topstitching the drawstring channel so it's important to pin your layers together so they don't shift.


Be sure that the side seams are still open inside the bag. You should be able to insert a pencil through the side openings without it catching on any fabric.

To sew the drawstring channel, first stitch 1/2" from the edge. Backstitch when you reach the side seams. This is important if you will be reversing the bag since the thread at that point will be under some stress. Next, stitch 1.25" from the edge. I used a piece of masking tape to show where the edge of my bag should be while sewing this step. Again, backstitch a few times when you come to the side seams.

*edit* If you changed the location of the hole for the drawstring, make sure to change where you sew the drawstring channel. I now sew mine at 1" and 1.75".


Here is what your drawstring channel should look like. As you can see, I forgot to do the backstitching. It's ok to go back and add it later...I did as soon as I remembered.


Cut your ribbon into two 36" pieces. Using a bodkin or safety pin, thread one ribbon through the opening in the side and continue around until you reach the same opening.


Pull the top of the bag straight and tie a knot close to the edge. Trim the ends. I like to melt the edges with a match to keep them from fraying. Run the flame along the cut edge for just a second...don't let it melt too much or it will burn.


Repeat with the other ribbon, starting at the opposite side opening.


To reverse the bag, push the knots through the side openings and turn bag inside out.


Find something to carry and take your new bag on an outing!


As always, let me know if you have questions or if you need clarification on any of the steps. Thanks for taking a look at my tutorial and I hope you enjoy your new drawstring bag!

As with all my patterns/tutorials, once you make something from them, that item is yours to do with as you please. This includes selling it. I'd love it if you link back to my blog in your listing...I do so love new people stopping by!