One of the many things that Miss P’s room needs is storage solutions. I thought about making these bags mainly to store all her loose toys such as blocks, big puzzles or anything that has separate parts that needs to be kept in the one place. Then I thought it would be nice to have one to keep her pyjamas in too, instead of leaving them on the chair so I made two, one for her PJs and one for a game of matching cards that has been missing the box it came in for a while. I’m planning on making more in the near future for the rest of her toys.
Here’s how I made them:
What you need:
- Fabric for outside of bag (quantity depends on size of bag)
- Fabric for lining
- Small amount of fusible interfacing
- Ribbon or other kind of string
- 2 chunky beads (optional)
First you’ll need to draw a circle template for the base of the bag, using a compass. Don’t forget to account for the seam allowance. For instance, if you’d like your bag to have a base with an 8cm radius, you’ll need to draw a circle with a 9cm radius.
If you’re like me and you’re a bit hazy on your geometry (I had to Google it!), not sure what the radius and diameter of a circle are, check out this simple diagram.
Now that you’ve got your template for the base of your bag, cut 1 in your outside fabric, 1 in lining and 1 in interfacing.
Calculate the circumference of the circle = Diameter x ∏ (3.14)
The Width of the body of the bag will be as follows: (Circumference x 1.3) + 2cm (3/4″) for seam allowances.
The Height will be however tall you want your bag to be + 3.5cm (1 and 3/8″) for the drawstring casing (2.5cm ; 1″) and seam allowance (1cm ; 3/8″)
Cut 1 (Width x Height) in your outside fabric and 1 in lining fabric.
Start with your 2 pieces for the outside of the bag: the circle for the base and the big rectangle for the body of the bag.
Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of your circle.
* Take your main piece of fabric and fold it in half widthwise, Right Sides Together (RST) and sew with 1cm (3/8″) seam allowance. Open seam and press.
Sew two gathering rows at the bottom. If you’ve never gathered fabric before it’s pretty easy, it’s like the basting stitch:
- Set your machine to the standard stitch (straight stitch)
- Set your stitch length to the longest possible (on my machine it’s 4, but I think most machines go up to 5)
- Sew your first row 7mm (1/4″) from the edge of the fabric, starting on one side of the seam and finishing of the other side of the seam. Do NOT backstitch at the beginning and end.
- Sew the second row in a similar fashion, 13mm (1/2″) from the edge of the fabric.
- Grab the 4 threads on one side of the seam and tie together in a knot to keep the thread from slipping.
- Grab the 2 top threads on the other side of the seam and gently pull to gather. You’ll need to gather your fabric so that it fits around your circle. When it is the right size, knot the threads together to keep the gathering in place and spread the gathers evenly all around.
- Set your machine back to a normal stitch length.
Placing them RST, pin to the circle (see photos below) and sew with 1cm (3/8″) seam allowance. Backstitch at beginning and end to secure. Remove your gathering stitches so they won’t show on the outside of the bag (this should be fairly easy: just undo or cut the knots you made before and gently pull on the thread). Press the seam towards the circle.*
Pin the top edges together and overlock or zigzag stitch to hold in place.
Fold the top edge down 1cm (3/8″) towards the wrong side and press. Fold down another 1.5cm (5/8″) and press again. Unfold it at the side seam. On each side of the seam, make a small vertical line – about 1cm (3/8″) long – starting just under the second crease.
Sew buttonholes on those lines.
Refold at the creases, then sew the drawstring casing shut all the way around, as close to the edge as possible
Grab your ribbon or string, attach a safety-pin at one end and pass it through one of the buttonholes. Pull the ribbon all the way around the bag until it comes out the other buttonhole. Cut ribbon to desired length.
Pass a chunky bead through each end of the ribbon, then knot together.
And your bag is done!
If you’d like to make the outside of the bag in a patchwork like I did, don’t forget to add your seam allowances. You’ll need an extra 3.5cm (1 and 3/8″) for the top band – 2.5cm (1″) for the drawstring casing and 1cm (3/8″) for the seam allowance at the bottom – and an extra 2cm (3/4″) for each of the other pieces – 1cm (3/8″) each for the top and bottom seam allowances on each piece.
For the purple and pink-themed bag, I didn’t use any lining or interfacing. I made this into a pyjamas bag so I wanted to keep it simple and ‘flowy’. The lining and interfacing on the base help the bag to keep its shape and make it more sturdy, which is that I wanted for the toys one. If you’re not using lining though, I’d recommend you either overlock or zigzag stitch all your seams to keep them from fraying. I’ve also pressed down and topstitched the seams on the body of the bag to keep them in place.