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How-to

One-of-a-Kind Handmade Bag Makes a Thoughtful Gift

Get patterns and instructions for a simple, quick-to-make drawstring bag.

Oct 27, 2008
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By Carol Spier
An Online Extra to Threads #113

Cloth purses or bags are quick and fun to sew. Plus, a one-of-a-kind handmade bag is a treat to carry, and makes for a creative, thoughtful gift. With personal touches and a range of fabrics, you can sew a purse that’s perfect for any style or occasion. We’ve gathered an assortment of small bags that celebrate the beauty of Chinese brocade, a luxe and colorful silk/rayon blend fabric. To make the bags—you can use any fabric you like—use the schematic diagrams and basic directions shown.

To learn more about Chinese brocade, read “Exploring Chinese Silk-Faced Brocades” by Sarah Veblen in Threads #113.

Drawstring bag

1. Use any proportion (the bag shown is 10 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches). Cut the flap area no wider than the finished bag width.

 

Cut a round piece

Bind top edge

2. Cut a round piece for the bottom of the bag (above right). Cut two rectangles for the body of the bag, making the width of each approximately equal to the circumference of the bottom. Sew the sides together as shown above left: Clip the seam allowance at the bottom of the casing, leave the seams open in the casing area, and sew with the wrong sides together for the cuff area.

Cut flap area

Bind top edge

3. Turn the body right side out, fold down the cuff, and stitch the casing. Gather the bottom edge. Then sew the body onto the bottom.

4. Turn the bag right side out. Beginning at one side seam, thread a drawstring through the casing to the opposite side seam, then back to the starting side seam. Repeat with a second drawstring, inserting it first at the opposite side seam.

Get patterns and instructions for more chic purses:

Pleated pouch bag

Clutch bag

Drawings: Carol Ruzicka

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  1. SerendipityMuse July 6th

    I love this little bag! I made something similar, with a few alterations because I don't have any Chinese Brocade. Still, it turned out lovely, and I plan to make more of these.

  2. SweetDC September 19th

    This pattern was very dillicult to understand. It does not tell you if the two materals are sewn together or what. I am very confused and I have sewn for years.

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