This was a great little project that I found on Pinterest. Basically, you draw lines on a fabric bag to resemble a piece of lined paper. Then you have your child draw a picture of their teacher on the bag and you embroider it. I used that basic premise and added to it by making each of the bags instead of purchasing them. That way I was able to use some school-themed fabric for most of the bag. I originally saw the Pinterest Inspiration here at Come Together Kids.
Approximately 1/2 yard of fabric of your choice (I used a printed fabric)
1 piece of muslin or light colored fabric measuring 12″x14″ for the front of the bag
fusible interfacing to cover up embroidery, about the size of the front of the bag.
Blue Sharpie marker – fine tip
Red Sharpie marker – fine tip
Black Sharpie marker – fine tip
Black embroidery floss
Thread and sewing notions
I started out with a simple bag pattern that I like to use. I made up the patterns in various sizes a while ago. For this bag I used the size which starts out with a measurement of 12″ wide by 14″ high. On each of the bottom corners I cut out a two inch square so that I could square the corners and have a flat bottomed bag. I used fabric in my stash but I would think that you could make this with about 1/2 yard of fabric.
I cut out one piece of 12″x14″ fabric from the muslin, one from the fusible interfacing and one from the printed fabric. This forms the bag. I then cut out one piece of printed fabric 8″ wide for the handle. I used my original pattern piece of 8″x34″ to start with. That size handle makes the bag more of a tote bag and I was looking for a shorter handle to make the bag more of a lunch sack. I took the longer strap and then just trimmed it to a size that looked good with the bag, but I kept the width at 8″.
I started out with the muslin piece first. I cut out my two bottom corner, a 2″x2″ square. Then I took my blue Sharpie marker and drew lines across the muslin to make it look like lined paper. I started about 2″ or so from the top of the bag. Please keep in mind that part of the top of the bag will be folded over to make the top finished edge of the bag. I took a straight edge and made my lines. I then took my red Sharpie marker and made one red line along the left side of my front bag piece about 1 1/2″-2″ in leaving room for the french seam to be formed. If you want you can add three black circles to the left side of the red line to make it look like loose-leaf paper. I opted to do this at the end of the project so that I didn’t run the risk of getting the black circles lost completely or partially in the seam.
Once I finished drawing the paper on the front of the bag I wrote each teacher’s name on the bag since my kid’s are still to young to do that quite yet. I then gave each child the bag for their teacher and a pencil and asked them to draw a picture of their teacher. They were very excited and happy to do that so that part went much more smoothly than I had anticipated. When they were finished I took black embroidery thread and backstitched over their drawings and the teacher’s name. I finished the front of the bag by ironing a piece of fusible interfacing to the back of each bag front. This will offer some protection to the back of the stitching.
When I had all of the embroidery done I begain to put the bags together. I chose to use french seams because I do not like the raw edges showing in my bags. I think that the french seams just keep everything looking neater. I started out by laying out the front and back piece of my bags, wrong sides together. Now, this next step you can do either now or later. I find it easier to do now because I prefer to iron the fabric when it is not already sewn together. I fold over the top of the bag a 1/4″ and press. I then fold that piece over about 3/4″ and press. I now have the creases in my fabric for when I am ready to stitch the fold on top to finish the bag. I then unfold my pieces of fabric (most of the crease will stay in your fabric) and then I am ready to begin sewing.
I used my 1/4″ pressing foot and made a 1/4″ seam along the two sides and bottom of each bag. I trimmed the seams to about 1/8″. I turned the bag inside out and pressed the bag catching the seam that I just made between the front and back pieces. I changed my presser foot to just the regular presser foot and stitched two more side seams and a bottom seam again with almost a 5/8″ seam, catching the previous seam in the center so that there were no raw edges showing.
This is from another project but you can see how you press the seam together, catching it between the two side pieces.
To box the corners I turned my bag right side out. With wrong sides together I used my 1/4″ presser foot, I lined up my bottom and side seams to give the bag a flat bottom and stitched at the spot where all of the layers will come together and will be caught in the seam. I trimmed the seams, pressed the seams, turned the bag inside out and changed my presser foot back to the regular one. I then stitched a 5/8″ seam locking the previous seam into a french seam.
To finish the bag I folded down the top of my bag along my crease lines and stitched, catching the fabric that I had ironed under 1/4″.
The final step was the handles. I pressed my piece of fabric for the strap with the wrong side facing up. I then folded it in half, wrong sides together, and pressed. I opened it back up and then pressed each long raw edge to the center pressing line. I then folded that piece in half and pressed again. Basically, I folded the piece in half making it into two 4″ halves. I then opened it back up and folded in the raw eges of each 4″ half and making them each a 2″ half which then made the entire strap 4″ wide. I then folded that 4″ piece in half and ended up with a 2″ wide strap.
I folded the short end of each side of the strap up about a 1/4″ or so and pressed. I then placed each end of the strap on each side seam of the bag and stitched it to the bag by stitching a square around edges of the strap. Prior to attaching the second end of the strop to the bag, make sure that the handle is the length that you want it to be. If not, trim the handle with scissors, press the edge under about 1/4″ and then sew it to the bag.
When I was finished I pressed each bag. I was so happy with how they turned out and the teachers seemed to like them too! I placed them each in gift bags and then attached a homemade gift tag to each bag along with a reindeer ornament.
Here is each bag all packaged up.