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Dec 27, 2009

french seams drawstring bag tutorial

let´s make a pretty drawstring bag with french seams!
i know there are some tutorials out there already but i hope you´ll find my order of steps a bit easier than the others, too :-)
the trick is to sew the tunnels before sewing the bag body - way less fiddling with tiny seams for the tunnels..
(to see things more detailed just click on the pictures for a bigger view)



step 1: assemble your fabrics. you will need 3 pieces of the same size (i used 9 1/2"x7" in two designs which gives me a 8"x8" bag in the end) for the body of the bag and one long piece for the strap: 2" wide and about 3x as long as the wide side of your bag fabics (i took a 30" piece)





step 2: sew one long side of two fabric pieces LEFT sides together, as close to the edge as you can.


step 3: now flip the sides over to get them RIGHT sides together like you are used to. press to get a nice flat side.


step 4: here comes the french part.. sew a 1/4" (or even a bit more) seam over/next to the underlying first seam. the first seam should be tucked right away in this seam: you´ll have a "normal" seam on the right side and this slightly wide, but clean seam on the left side/the inside.


step 5: repeat for the other side. now you have a long rectangle as body of the bag with one piece of fabric being the bottom. mine measures about 19"x9,5".
to give the sides a nice look on the outside, iron both french seams on the left side to the bottom fabric and topstich them.
now your rectangle should look like this:


step 6: to make the two tunnels on top of the bag mark on the left side of the fabric on each corner DOWN 2 1/2" and TO THE MIDDLE 1/4". then cut a tiny little bit in the 1/4" mark, this will help you find the mark when folding the fabric over.


step 7: fold over the marked corners, fingerpress and sew as close to the edge as possible.
then fold over the top sides of the fabric for about 1/4" - i draw a line on the fabric 1/2" down from the top and then fold it over. iron the seam in place (picture).
turn the ironed seam over to the 2 1/2" marks to get a tunnel. sew close to the bottom edge of the seam.


step 8: now we are sewing the bag - fold the rectangle over, LEFT sides together, sew close to the edges, start on the 2 1/2" mark. do this on both sides, and don´t sew over the tunnels!!


step 9: turn the bag over, iron it and sew french seams again - about 1/4" from the sides, RIGHT sides together. again: don´t hit the tunnels, start/end right before them.


step 10: turn over the bag again - tada, here it is, in all it´s beauty!! 


step 11: now the drawstring. (it´s like making bias tape)
use the 2"x30" fabric strip, fold it on the long left sides together, iron it. now you have a marking right in the middle. fold each long side to this marking and iron it. then fold in a little part of the short sides, iron them, too. you should have a 1/2"x29" long strap. topstich all around.


step 12: with a safety pin pull the strap through your tunnels, tie knot at one side.






and you´re done!!



for this is my first tutorial (and i kicked out some pictures not to make it too long) please tell me if you understand all the steps - and if you have any questions please ask!!

14 comments:

  1. Lovely!!
    great tutorial too.
    (right side / wrong side)
    xo
    Tschüß
    eva

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  2. Alles verstanden - auch auf Englisch! ;-) Über Tutorials bin ich immer total dankbar!

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  3. thanks eva and floh for the kind feedback!!

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  4. Great tutorial and such a pretty little bag! I featured your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-drawstring-bag-with-french-seams/2009/12/28/

    --Anne

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  5. I am going to save this for future use - it' brilliant. I have done several gym bags for my kids, but this one is much better (I lined mine).

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  6. Also gonna save this for future reference. Thank you so much for the clear instruction and wonderful pictures!

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  7. Thanks for sharing this Claudia. Your bag came out great. So many uses for it too.

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  8. Great for gifts! Thanks, I'll add it to my tutorial list of things to do!

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  9. very good information you write it very clean. I'm very lucky to get this information from

    you.

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  10. Thanks for writing this. I've made bags before, and spent way too much time fiddling with the casing. This is definitely easier!

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  11. I tried this out today as my first sewing project! It turned out pretty well! Def need to work on straight lines, but the bag looks awesome! Thanks for the tutorial - please add more! :)

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  12. Tolles Tutorial, french seams habe ich noch nicht gemacht, muss ich aber unbedingt mal testen, sieht sehr sauber aus! Danke fürs Teilen, LG sternie

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  13. What an awesome tutorial! I've been trying to figure out a simpler way to make drawstring bags, and this is perfect!

    I like to make small ones, which I call "stealth snack bags." The idea is that sometimes we need to eat a snack in public but don't like the crackly sound of a wrapper, right? So at home you remove the food (a protein bar, nuts, etc.) from its packaging and put it in your little cloth bag. Then you can snack more inconspicuously.

    I use two drawstrings, threaded in a U shape, so the bag closes when they're pulled. I also put two small loops, sewn just inside the tunnels, on the sides for pulling the bag back open.

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial!

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  14. Hi, Thanks a lot for sharing the tutorial! I love sewing drawstring bags, but I've never used french seams. I'm going to try it next time.
    Jake P.

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