Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Upcycling: Making New from Old ~ Drawstring Bag

I haven't made a bag for some time.  I think last items made on the sewing machine were phone pouches about 18mths ago.  I often have ideas in my head or at least aspirations to make things but they do not often come to fruitition.

Hand drawn felt letters

Having enrolled son into Pre-School, I decided to dust off the machine to knock up a little drawstring bag.  They do have nylon material ones available to buy from the preschool for £2 but I thought I would make Minh a special personalised one.  Opening my sewing box full of patterns; fabrics; odds and ends, I came across a scrumpled old work shirt.  I put my creative head on and started planning...
I used the front of the shirt including the button front as it wouldn't be wide enough otherwise.  I just sewed the flaps down after cutting the material so even if the buttons were undone (or fell off) the bag would not open.

Button flaps stitched down in place
The bag needs to hold son's nappies, wipes and nappy sacks as well as a spare change of clothes.  No, we've not toilet-trained him yet.  With this in mind I thought about making a Flat-Bottomed Bag.  The contents could sit at the bottom nicely without tumbling about.

Flat bottom helps bag contents stayin one place!

I had to refer to this book Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible - to remind myself how to do it.  I love this book as it's got great ideas how to customise bag's you are making to have features that you want as well as some projects for you to tackle.  (Lisa Lam also has a fabulous Bag Making Blog  ~ U-Handblog as well as a shop ~

The shirt material is quite flimsy so I gave it reinforcement with some heavy sew-in interfacing and also made a lining from some calico fabric.  I could have made drawstrings from the same material as the shirt but as time was against me, I found some light blue ribbon to thread through as ties instead.

I am really pleased with the bag as the interfacing has made the bag look more substantial, the lining makes it look classy.  The design I think is quite cute and I love how the lettering turned out! 

A label added in last minute!


  1. What a brilliant idea for recycling! I wish I have that flair in sewing.

    1. LOL thankyou Edith! I don't have flair in sewing - was luckily the sewing machine was behaving! Often I can't get tension right and get ugly loops under the work :(