The bags for Bags of Love need to be sturdy; they will be used a lot. Very often the children will use these bags for home visitations or even for pillowcases. We try to use fabric that is sturdy, i.e., sailcloth, broadcloth, and lighter weight corduroy. Fabrics such as denim are too heavy and cord cannot draw the top together close enough to keep all the goodies inside. Fabrics that are too light-weight do not sew well for the flap unless you use interfacing.
Choose colorful, kid-oriented colors and designs. All-over prints work best. Solid colors work well for the bag when the pockets and flaps are really wild.
You can use 1/8” cotton cord for the drawstring and pick up cordlocks at Bags of Love, Inc. You can pick up already cut nylon cord and Velcro here, too.
If you prefer person to person learning, you are cordially invited to come to our office on Mondays, between 10 and noon.
The bag is just like the wrapping on a present: Although what is inside is the best part, the bag itself is the first thing the child sees and it makes the child smile– a lot!
- Use 7-8 stitches per inch. A size 14 needle should work well.
- Directions for each step include seam allowances.
- Always backtack at the beginning and ending of every seam. Always.
- If you do not have a serger, use a zigzag stitch set to the widest possible setting.
- The easiest method for finding the center of the bag, flap, and pocket is to fold in half and crease it with your iron.
- You will need a ruler. You may find the disappearing ink markers helpful as well.
- It is not necessary to match thread to the fabric unless you want to.
Getting It All Ready
We make two sizes of bags, one for infants and one for children (Ages 1-17). The steps for cutting and sewing each size are the same.
Children’s bag: Fabric widths vary some. If you have chosen fabric that is 42” wide, cut the bag at 32”. If your fabric is 44-45, cut it at 30”. Cord for the Children’s bag is 55”.
Infant’s bag: 36” X 24”. Cord for the Infant bag is 45”.
All flaps are 13” X 6 ½”.
All pockets are 13” X 15”.
All the Velcro is 6” X
Sewing the Bag
Fold in half and stitch the two short ends, using 3/8” seam allowance.
Turn right side out and press if needed. You can also topstitch the flap.
Serge the raw edges.
Center the hook Velcro about 3/8” above the folded edge and stitch it in place.
Measure down 4 ½” from the edge of the casing and pin the center of the flap on this line as shown.
Serge all 4 sides. Fold 1 1/2” down for top hem (right sides together) and stitch with 3/8” seam allowance. Stitch the hem in place. Place loop Velcro about 3/8” down from the top of the pocket, centered, and stitch in place.
Turn right side out and press the 3/8” seam allowance on each side and bottom of pocket.
Putting it together
Fold the bag fabric in half, right sides together. The serged edge should be on top and the fold is on your left. Fold the top piece back toward the first fold and let it extend about ½” past your first fold. Press this last fold. This is your center line that you will use to place the flap and the pocket. You can iron the fold; you may find using a fingernail works, too.
Making the Casing
You are going to stitch the cord into place and make the casing at the same time. First, fold the casing (about 1”) on the fabric and fold the corner as shown in the picture. Pin or clip (binder clip is in the picture) the cord so it won’t get away from you.
Stitch across the casing and make the same fold at the other end. Leave the binder clip in place.
Stitching the flap and pocket in place
Measure down from the top of the casing 4 ½” and mark on the center fold you pressed in. Pin the flap in place as shown, centered and even. Stitch it using 3/8” seam allowance. Fold it down and topstitch.
Next, line up the Velcro on the flap to the Velcro on the pocket, as shown. Flip the pocket into place, as shown, and pin the pocket in place. Stitch.
Line up the flap Velcro with the pocket Velcro and pin the pocket in place. Stitch the pocket to the bag.
Fold the bag, right sides together. Stitch the side and bottom seams using a 3/8” seam allowance. Serge these two seams.
Turn the bags right side out and push the corners out.
Thread the ends of the cord through the cord-lock and then pinch the little “ears” so the spring snaps into place.
Tie an overhand knot in each end of the cord. Admire your work!