Tutorial – the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag

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 tutorial for the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag which I thought I’d share.  They go together really quickly and would make an ideal gift if you’re looking for some inspiration!

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I was inspired to make these after seeing some of the nifty make-up bags on the web – I figured they couldn’t be that hard to make! 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


  • 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, and 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’re finished!!!

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag 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 versions have been made. If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial,  please do sign-up to my newsletter if you would like any updates or news sent straight to your inbox. And if you’d like to see any of my other patterns then you can check out my Etsy shop here.

Back soon, 

S x

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

Tutorial – Adding a Zip Pull using Mini Macarons

Tutorial – Adding a Zip Pull using Mini Macarons

Hello there! Well, this morning I’ve just finished off a zip pull – one of those fantastic 5-10min project that makes you feel so happy with the end result,  that I just had to hop on and share it with you!

Tutorial - how to add zipper pulls to the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch using mini macarons by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

A little while ago, I’d ordered a few things from the Rose Garden Patchwork (a new-to-me online shop) which specialises in Japanese fabrics.  Obviously, I’d ordered a couple of fat quarters (!) but also added to my basket these Mini Macaron’s: they are like buttons that you can cover with fabric but without the shank.  So you can place them together to cover the end of zip-tabs….I’d never seen them before and really wanted to have a play with them!

Once I’d finished my Not So Little Zippy Pouch, I thought a zipper pull would add the perfect finished touch – I don’t know why, but they always seem to make it feel nicer when you open the pouch?!

To make a zipper pull, you will need;

  • 2 macaron covers – I used 24mm and they come in sets of 6
  • 2 pieces of fabric, minimum 1.5″ square for zipper pulls
  • 1 piece of fabric, 0.75″ wide by 2″ long for zipper pull tab
  • Scrap piece of fabric
  • Needle & thread

To start, cut two circles bigger than the size of the macaron – I used the bottom of a large thread spool to draw a circle 1.5″ wide.

Take some thread and, starting on the right side of the fabric, do a running stitch around the edge of the fabric, until you reach your starting point. Place the macaron dome side down in the middle of your fabric and gently start to pull the threads together gathering the fabric up so that it is tight over the macaron. Knot your thread to secure. If you feel that the fabric is not tight enough, I found completing a second round of running stitch and securing it helped to solve this. Repeat for the remaining macaron. Set aside.

Taking the zipper pull tab, fold the fabric in half width-ways, wrong sides together. Finger press before folding the outside edges in towards the centre. Finger press again and keep in place with a couple of pins.

Tutorial - how to add zipper pulls to the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Place a scrap piece of fabric under your machine needle – we are going to use this to help feed our tiny little zipper pull tab through the machine (these are sometimes called leaders/enders) as the fabric is so narrow it can easily be eaten by the machine/not feed through properly.

Complete a few stitches on the scrap piece of fabric, and stop just before you reach the end of the fabric. Lift the presser foot to place one end of the zipper tab pull under the piece of scrap fabric – I tried to line up the centre of the tab pull with the needle. Place the presser foot back down, and sewing slowly continue stitching – because the zipper tab is quite narrow, you may find that the scrap fabric moves and the zipper tab pull comes out from underneath. If this happens, lift the presser foot and re-arrange.

Take your zipper tab pull, and snipping off the scrap fabric, thread it through the end of your zipper pull. Set aside.

Tutorial - how to add zipper pulls to the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Place two covered macaron pieces wrong sides together. Holding in place, begin hand-stitching (I use ladder stitch) around the outside to join them together, stopping when you are 1″ from where you started.

Squeeze the opposite sides together slightly to help open up the gap, and gently push the zipper tab pull ends inside until you reach the desired length (I pushed them nearly all the way in!).  If you are struggling to get the ends in, you can use sharp scissors to help encourage them!

Holding everything in position, secure in place, stitching through the zipper pull tab a few times before going on to close the gap.  

And ta-dah! We’re all done! I hope you’ve found this useful if you’ve not made covered buttons/zipper pulls before. I had so much fun making this, that I think I’ll be adding them to lots more pouches in the future! And don’t forget, if you’d like your own (Not So) Little Zippy pouch, do check out the pattern here!

See you soon,

S x

Today’s sky::: slightly cloudy, but finally some sunshine!!!

Tutorial for a fitted oil-cloth table cover

It’s the small things that can make so much difference to your day I find – either add the finishing touch or be the thing that leaves you counting to ten and taking deep breaths.

Tutorial for a fitted oil-cloth table cover by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

One of the things that has had me pulling my hair out recently is Littlest Boy’s habit of pulling the tablecloth any which way he can when he climbs up at the table, often resulting in the spillage of whatever’s on it, or the perfectionist in me getting very annoyed that the tablecloth isn’t just so!

And this morning I decided that I could remove this stress from my life! I had some spare oilcloth in the cupboard (I normally get a meter at a time and find that this does two tablecloths), did a little bit of measuring and off I went.

Using the length of the table  (+1/4″ for a bit of ease), I trimmed the fabric to give a 2 1/2″ border so that all the sides would be equal. For example;

Fabric requirements = (length of table + 5″) x (width of table + 5″)

I then drew a 2 1/2″ square in each corner on the wrong side of the fabric to create a mitred corner.

Bring the edges right sides together to create a diagonal fold in each corner. I’ve never worked with oilcloth before and it is a bit tricksy because of its size and the material. But we got there in the end with the help of some wonderclips to hold it in place for the next step!

A quick bit of sewing across each of the corners following the line I’d drawn…….

….a trim of the excess  fabric and I was done! (Can you see I’ve already had to make a second tighter line – I figured it would be better to work generously so that I didn’t ruin the fabric!)

Turn the corners out to the right side and voila! One fitted tablecloth! It could maybe be a little snugger on the corners, but I’ll see how this works out for now.

It made lunch a lot more peaceful I can tell you! And I’ll try not to dwell on the fact that I could have done this ages ago and instead enjoy the little bit of peace that it has bought to my days now!

Hope you’ve found some little things to enjoy today,


Today’s sky ● blue with some clouds