Last night my friend Sera and I got together and had a super fun sewing night! We ate fantastic pizza and salad from Via Tribunali, had a little red wine, and made ourselves some very cute waterproof drawstring bags!
This project truly is easy for beginning machine sewers or those just returning to the hobby after a long time (me and Sera!). I found it on the blog of one of my all-time favorite stores, Purl Soho. If you live in Manhattan and are itching to try any sort of needlecraft, from knitting to sewing to embroidery, stop by their store to peruse their beautiful selection. They even have some classes!
Our unique twist on this bag was making the interior waterproof. I had no idea where I could find vinyl by the yard, and not much time to look around the city, so I hunted around online for ideas. One forum discussed exactly this topic - and the ingenious suggestion was cutting up a shower curtain! This is exactly what Sera and I did.
Here are our materials:
Purl Bee tutorial
Self-healing cutting mat
Non-slip ruler (I just bought one and this helps sooo much with cutting fabric precisely)
Fabric of choice - half yard remnants, pillowcases, cloth napkins and tablecloths work great! This should be big enough to cut one of these sizes: 6-in. wide x 12-in. long; 9-in. w x 18-inch l; 12-in. w x 24-in. l; 15-in. w x 30-in. l; 18-in. w x 36-in. l
Shower curtain to use as waterproof lining
Cord of choice for drawstring - shouldn't be too thick or it won't fit into the drawstring channel easily. You'll cut 2 pieces measuring 20", 26", 34", 42", 48" depending on the bag size you're making.
Thread that complements fabric
For the step-by-step tutorial, head on over to the Purl Bee. Since we changed up the tutorial a little bit and added waterproof lining to the interior, I'll share a few tips and plenty of photos.
Read on after the jump!
Here's our cut fabric. Sera settled on the 9" x 18" size, while I chose the smallest 6" x 12" size. We also cut our shower curtain liner to the same size as our fabric strips.
After cutting the fabric/liner, we matched up both pieces and pinned them together so they wouldn't slip around while sewing. After pinning, fold them in half, sew up both sides from the fold using a 1/4 in" seam allowance. Make sure you backstitch at the start and end of each line of stitches. Stop 2 inches from the cut portion. As you can see below, we both forgot to do this! We had to use the seam ripper to undo the last two inches of stitching.
The next step is to create the channel for the drawstring. You'll do all of these steps on one side first, then the other: fold over 1/4" fabric/lining and iron on a low setting to create a crease.
Make sure you fold both the top and side edges. Because the thickness and slipperiness of the liner don't hold a crease very well, I also sewed a few stitches to hold the liner/fabric down on the sides (excuse my chipping nails). You won't need to do this if you don't use a liner:
After creating the 1/4" fold all the way around the top edge (see this picture if you're having trouble imagining it), make another fold of 3/4". This creates the channel for the drawstring, so make sure the fold is wide enough to fit the drawstring, plus a little bit for the seam. Stitch across the bottom of the fold (1/6" seam allowance), backstitching at the start and finish.
Your bag should then look like the below. Then repeart this step on the other side.
You might notice that my channel is pretty narrow. I chose a very thin cording for my drawstring, so adjusted the size of the channel slightly. You might also notice that my stitching is not so perfect! Until I'm more skilled, I'll keep telling myself that that's just the charm of handmade goods :)
Next up: creating the gusset! If you don't know what a gusset is, it's what makes the bag have a square bottom. It's a little bit tricky and we definitely had to read the steps a few times to make sure we were doing it right. Follow the Purl tutorial's instructions and your bag should eventually resemble this:
Here's a view of the inside when the bag is right side out - at this point, we were so excited we made something actually resembling a bag!
The final step is pulling your cording through the drawstring channel you've created. Run a safety pin through one end of the cord. Carefully work the closed pin through the channel on both sides, all the way around the bag, until both ends are dangling out of one side of the bag. Then do the same on the other side. It's a little bit like working with an inchworm, as Sera described it.
What do you think? Will you attempt to make one of these?