Tutorial – the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag

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Hello there! It’s been a bit quiet here hasn’t it – I’ve been away for a few days but did manage to put together a drawstring bag tutorial, which I’m calling the Stash’n’Go bag.  It’s a really simple pattern that goes together quickly and would make an ideal gift if you’re looking for some inspiration!

The StashnGo drawstring bag tutorial by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I was inspired to make these after seeing some of the nifty make-up bags on the web – I love that the drawstring bag opens up to lay completely flat allowing you to see everything! I’ve used a waterproof lining to protect it against any spillages and it can be chucked through a washing machine with ease! I think it could be used in so many different ways though – carrying around toys/snacks for a young child (this would have been so useful when my kids were little and I was looking for a clean surface for them to eat off of!!!!) or maybe even a project bag for some sewing or knitting?! So, shall we get on with how to make one…….

Finished Size:  17″ diameter

Materials

  • 1 FQ for the Outer
  • 1 FQ of wadding
  • 1 FQ for the lining (I used ripstop which you can get in lots of fun designs)
  • 1 FQ for the cord casing
  • Cord (I used paracord)
  • Cord Stoppers (also available in lots of different colours!)

Preparing your fabrics

To start with, I made a template as I knew I wanted to make a few of these! I used an empty cereal box and, using a tape, measured 8.5″ from the corner up one straight edge. I then moved the outside edge of the measuring tape towards the other straight edge marking 8.5″ dashes at regular intervals. Join the marks to create an 8.5″ wide quarter circle. Cut out.

Use the template to cut out (1) outer fabric and (1) lining: fold the fabric in half, and then half again. Place the template on top, matching the straight edges with the folded edges of the fabric.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

TIP: if you are using ripstop, it can be quite slippery. After making a few of these bags, I have found that using wonder clips to secure the template to the ripstop in place gave a better result.  

For the cord casing, open out the FQ and press. The casing needs to be cut on the bias so that it will curve around the edge of the bag. To do this, cut a straight line at a 45* angle to the selvedge. Cut three strips 2″ wide. 

Take two strips and place the ends right side together. Sew. Repeat for the other strip. Press the seams open, before folding the casing wrong sides together matching the long edges. Press. Square of one end and cut the folded strip to a finished size of 54″.

Making the bag

Lay the outer fabric wrong side down on to the wadding and quilt as desired, I went for random wavy lines. Trim any excess wadding.

Take the cord casing and lay it right side down in front of you. Fold one end back (wrong sides together) by 3/8″ to create a hem and stitch. Repeat at the other end. 

Fold in half and place a pin on the central point. Fold in half again and place a pin so that you now have four quarters marked on your casing. Take the outer bag piece and fold in half, marking each side with a pin. Open out and then fold the pins together to match, placing a pin in the fold on each side again. 

Match the quarter marks of the circle with the quarter marks on the cord casing. Place the casing on the right side of the bag outer and pin in place matching the raw edges of the casing with the raw edge of the circle. Add extra pins if you would like. Sew around the circumference of the bag using a 1/8″ seam allowance.

Place the lining fabric right sides facing with the outer panel. If you are using ripstop, use clover clips to prevent marking of the fabric and secure in a few places. Start, securing the beginning stitches and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the edge of the bag, stopping when you are 3-4″ from where you started, leaving a gap for turning.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Pull the bag through the opening until it is the right way out.  On the outer side of the bag, fold in to position and pin in place (I don’t go through the lining so as to avoid pin marks on the ripstop).

Place the bag lining side up, and begin top-stitching around the edge – I like to start just after the opening and leave long thread tails so that I can knot and bury the threads.  If you take it slowly and pull the casing slightly as you work your way around the edge, you will get a lovely neat finish.

When you reach the turning-out gap, gently fold the raw edge of the lining under and stitch in place. Stop when you have completed stitching all around the bag. I like to pull the threads through to the front of the bag, knot and then bury the threads in the wadding.

Take the length of cord and trim to around 55″ – you may need to burn the ends to seal the threads and stop them unravelling. Place a safety pin through the cord close to one end, and begin to feed it through the casing.

Once the safety pin has been threaded all the way through the casing, feed the cord gently through a cord-stopper. I find it easier to thread through each end individually. Tie a knot with the two cord ends to prevent the cord stopper coming  off and Ta Dah!!!! You’ve finished your drawstring bag!!!

The StashnGo drawstring bag tutorial by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To use the bag, pull the cords to gather it up, and the cord stopper to keep it closed. It will become easier to gather/open with continued use.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

These are quite quick to whip up – only a couple of hours – and a FQ can do the casing on at least three stash’n’go bags if you want to get in to production style sewing!

If you do make one of these, I’d love if you could use the hashtag #stashngobag so that I can see what you’ve made and you can check out my other tutorials here!

Back soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: mostly grey and very cold!!!

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Zippy Pouch Along – constructing the zip band, lining and pocket sides

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Hello there! Shall we get started with the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch?! You may find it helpful – if you haven’t done so already – to print out the Cutting Instructions (page 4/5) and the Measurement Guide (page 18/19) relevant to the pouch size you are making. Although not necessary, you may find it helps to keep a track of the pattern if you are working off a screen.

Zippy Pouch Along - preparing the pieces and zipper tips by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’m making a Not So Little Zippy pouch and have made a patchwork front panel with some lovely scraps I had lying around. I ironed my favourite interfacing to the back – I find it sticks well and adds a nice weight/stability to the fabric without making it feel stiff and horrible –  as I have run out of fusible wadding before layering with some wadding to quilt. Depending on the quilting that you do, it may be beneficial to baste around the finished edges of the panel to secure everything in place.

Constructing the Zip Band

If you’ve not used zips much before, I have personally found that adding tabs to the end of the zip seem to make them a lot easier to work with as it seems to stabilise them! The tutorial here details how to add the zip tabs. Some other tips that may help with inserting the zipper (or any zip actually!);

Zippy Pouch Along - preparing the pieces and zipper tips by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
  • Pin the fabric/tabs in position with the pins at right angles to the seam that you are going to be sewing. 
  • For the tabs, if you can position the pins close to the zip, when you place the fabric under the machine you can add a couple of stitches to secure everything in place before taking the pins out.
  • Measure both sides of the zip for accuracy when marking.
  • When sewing the zip to the band pieces, begin sewing each side from the same end. This will mean that if there is any fabric creep, it will end up at the same end meaning you only need to trim one side, helping with accuracy.
Zippy Pouch Along - preparing the pieces and zipper tips by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The Pocket Sides

When making the pocket sides, the only thing to really watch is when trimming around the excess fabric around the tab: you need to snip right up into the corner, but not through the stitching. Then, when turning to the right side, press from the top edge towards the bottom tab. Even then, the sides of the tab can still be a little bouncy! I have found that using scissors/seam ripper to gently hold the side out will help create a straight edge. 

Zippy Pouch Along - preparing the pieces and zipper tips by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Bag lining & Internal Zip Pocket

Using some of the zipper tips from above, sew the pockets and pouch lining together. If your zip is slightly longer than even better as it means you can keep the zip pull up and out the way and you won’t need to move it at all whilst sewing the zip in!!!

To close the bottom of the pocket (Step 20), ensure that you fold at the zip and if necessary use pins to keep the top lining edges straight. Smooth the fabric down from the zip, measure and mark the line that you will be sewing.  Once you have completed this step, the bottom of the pocket will be closed. When you have shaped the side of the pocket you can baste the edges together – which can be beneficial if you are not adding the pocket sides on straight away.

Adding Slip Pockets

In an attempt to be ultra organised (ha!) I’m adding two slip pockets to this version. For one of them, I thought it would be handy to create a divide with a pocket big enough to keep pens/scissors so that they don’t disappear to the very bottom of the bag. 

Zippy Pouch Along - preparing the pieces and zipper tips by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To do this, I made a slip pocket following the pattern up to Step 3, before attaching it to the lining. I measured 3″ in from one side and using a hera marker drew a line. Starting at the bottom of the pocket, I stitched up to the top of the pocket, adding a stitched triangle to help reinforce the seam.

And there we go! That is all of our pouch elements prepped and ready to be put together – come back for our next post where we will add the pocket sides and join the layers together!!!

Zippy Pouch Along - preparing the pieces and zipper tips by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Zippy Pouch Along Timings;

You can pick up a copy of the pattern here, and don’t forget to follow @fabricandflowers and @rosegardenpatchwork and use the hashtag #zippypouchalong so that I can see all the fabulous pouches that you’re making!

Sx

Today’s sky::: mostly grey and quite chilly!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns check out my Etsy shop here.

Zippy Pouch Along – are you in?!

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

So, when I launched the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch, I asked if there would be interested in a sew-along and there were lots of ‘Yes’s’! It’s always fun to sew with others, isn’t it?!

So many of you loved the little macaron zip pull I made that I spoke with the lovely Lisa at Rose Garden Patchwork and she has very kindly agreed to sponsor the sew-along with a fantastic bundle of fabrics, pincushion and tulip needles, all pictured below. It’s a fabulous prize! The winner will be picked at random and announced on the 4th December. To be eligible you must follow @rosegardenpatchwork on Instagram and have sewn a pouch since the pattern launch in October.

So, how will the Zippy Pouch Along work?

You will need to get yourself a copy of the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch pattern, decide which size pouch you would like to make and then chose fabrics and zips. You will also need some interfacing and (fusible) wadding. However, if you don’t have any fusible wadding to hand, I have found that if you interface the fabric for the front of the pouch and then quilt it, it will have the same structure. Other handy notions to have are a fabric pen, wonder clips, ruler and pins.

(Not So) Little Zippy Pouch Along, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I will be making a zippy pouch with you, guiding you through the steps which can be a bit tricky and also passing on some tips. The instructions are the same for each bag, so you can make either size (or two, if you’re feeling particularly productive!), maybe a good way of getting some Christmas presents done?! To follow along with everyone’s progress, I have created a new hashtag for this sew-along on Instagram – the #zippypouchalong.

We will start putting the bag together next week, which gives you the weekend to start choosing fabrics and cutting out the pieces! The pattern includes instructions for the measurements needed to make a contrast pouch base. However, you could use some precious scraps to make a patchwork version, add a feature strip across the side or even add applique……so many options! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Zippy Pouch Along Timings;

You can pick up a copy of the pattern here, and don’t forget to follow @fabricandflowers and @rosegardenpatchwork and use the hashtag #zippypouchalong so that I can see all the fabulous pouches that you’re making!

Looking forward to sewing along with you over the next couple of weeks!

S x

Today’s sky::: grey and miserable. Again!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns check out my Etsy shop here.

New Pattern – The Little Zippy Pouch

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Hellooooo! Well, that was a slightly longer than intended break! We had an early half term and since then I’ve been working away on my next pattern and I’m so excited to finally share it with you today!

If you’ve followed me for any time, you may remember that I designed the Little Zippy Pouch a few years back for Quilt Now, and then went on to tweak it slightly by showing you how to add zipper tabs. It’s been one of my most used pouches as it’s the perfect size to carry just enough hand-sewing around with me.

Over the years, people have asked if I would look to release the pattern and, after lots of testing and thinking about tweaks, I set too!

The Little Zippy Pouch pattern is now available and has been completely re-written. It includes more step-by-step pictures, how to add zipper tabs, an optional slip-pocket and also a bigger size (the Not So Little Zippy Pouch!) – two pouches in one pattern!

  • The Little Zippy Pouch                 8”    wide x 5” high x 3” deep
  • The Not So Little Zippy Pouch     9.5” wide x 7” high x 4” deep
New PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

It would make a great project bag for sewing, knitting or crochet. For one of my samples, I added a little lobster clip – ideal for keeping stitch markers to hand! And if waterproof fabrics were used, it could make a great make-up/toiletries bag in either size!

The pattern calls for fusible wadding for the outer panel – this is both for ease and also structure. However, if  you don’t have any to hand (I ran out from making all the samples!) I found that you can achieve exactly the same effect by ironing interfacing to the wrong side of the bag panel, and then layer it with wadding and quilt as normal.

PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

There are lots of options for playing with colour on these pouches – you can use a piece of feature fabric, applique or patchwork for the outside and then co-ordinating/fun fabric combinations on the inside for the lining and pockets. A great stash buster.

PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

You will need a couple of zips for this project – I can highly recommend this shop as they do a great range of colours in lots of different sizes (they used to send a colour code card through with your order) – the shipping is a bit pricey if you’re in the UK but I went half with a friend a few years back, bought a huge bundle of zips in lots of different colours and they’re only just starting to run out, so it worked out good value in the end!!!

New PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I really hope you enjoy making this – you can get the pattern here and if you would like some extra hints and tips then do check out the Zippy Pouch Along posts.

Speak soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: raining and grey. And did I mention the rain?! Horrible weather!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns check out my Etsy shop here.

Gingerbread Man Christmas Banner

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Have you seen the Gingerbread House quilt-a-long that Love Patchwork & Quilting are running this month? It’s a row-by-row design by Gracey of Burlap & Blossom Patterns which you can find in Issue 66.

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I was asked if I would like to have a go at making a block and after a quick look at the pattern, I couldn’t say no! I decided upon a Gingerbread man, because who doesn’t love a good gingerbread man (although Boy 2 was a bit disappointed when I told him I’m made one only for him to then realise it was in fabric and not an actual biscuit. Oops!)

There are a lot of little pieces in this block – the buttons are cut at just 1″ (so, finishing at 1/2″!) and I’d been gifted some fabric with little snowflakes on which I thought would make cute buttons!

It’s a fun make and actually comes together quite quickly.  I wanted to use stripes for the cuffs. If you would like to do this too, make sure that you cut your squares out at a 45* angle to the selvedge (on the bias) so that the stripes are going in the right direction. along the arm.

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

As we have enough cushions in our house (according to Mr f&f anyway!) I thought a Christmas Banner would be a fun make.  The blocks finish at 10.5″ inches but for mine, I extended the top and bottom border (piece’s A and G) by 4.5″ and 5.5″ respectively, as well as curving the bottom of piece G to mirror the writing. 

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To add a more festive touch, I printed out ‘Merry Christmas’ so that I could trace the words on to the fabric using a water-soluble pen (if you are wondering, I used the Tempas Sans font at size 120 and curved the words slightly in Microsoft Office).

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

It took a little time to embroider each of the letters – I used a padded satin-stitch – but I think it was worth it!

I’m so pleased with him, although I might have to find some little button eyes in green, I think that would finish him off nicely?! Have you started any Christmas makes yet? You can check out this post if you’re thinking of making your own family sized Advent Calendar.

I think I’m going to have to make a present list and get started on it soon! And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please sign up to my newsletter to find out about new tutorials and patterns.

See you soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: grey, windy and miserable. Meh!