Back to school- Library Bag

Well hello there! Only a few more days left of the school holidays. I can almost hear every one sigh with relief. This year my big boys start High School (holy smokes!) and my gorgeous girl is going back to school. I have been homeschooling Miss K and loving it but unfortunately my bank account is insisting I go back to work. So school it is! In a mad rush we have managed to get her uniform, shoes and books all sorted. On the list of items she will need for the school year was a Library Bag. I have to admit, I did intend on buying one from a shop. That was until I saw the prices of them and how terrible they looked!

Being a beginner and still finding my feet with my sewing machine (no pun intended) I ran through the motions of making this bag in my head over and over and over again. And when I actually got out the machine and stitched it together I was really surprised at how quick and easy it was!  This drawstring bag can be made in any size- so I reckon home made giftbags would look great for that bottle of wine or to hold some little pretties for a childs birthday, even a fancy bag for swimming gear or kindy sheets.

So, yes, this is my first go at a tutorial. Keep in mind this is one beginner showing other beginners- if you have any tips and pointers please please comment after the post! I’ve put together some pics of the process in hopes I can help along another sewing newbie.


Things you will need:

Your chosen fabric (pre-washed and ironed of course!)
Fabric scissors
Tape measure
Bodkin or safety pin
Drawstring or cord
and your Sewing Machine and Iron.


The first thing you will need to do is cut your fabric. I am making a library bag so I found a nice big book to help me decide on size.
Once you have worked out how big you want your bag (make sure to add in 1.5cm or about 5/8″  for seam allowance!) cut out 2 lining pieces and two outer fabric pieces all measuring the same size.


Now on the top of each piece, measure and mark 1.5 – 2 inches (depending on how thick your drawstring is)

Next you will be sewing the lining pieces together with right sides together. start and finish at the marks you have just made. repeat with the outer fabric, stitching with right side together. You will end up with something like this..


Now trim those bottom corners a bit so your bag doesn’t end up with bulky corners. Careful not to cut the stitching. Make sure you do both the outer fabric and the lining fabric.


Now you need to iron those seams apart. The iron really is a sewers best friend.


Still with me? Great. See those open bits.. that will be where the drawstring slides though- so lets stitch those. Aim to sew straight down the center of that seam allowance ( I used my presser foot as my guide). Sew all the way down to just past the bottom of the slit. With your needle still down, turn your fabric and stitch across to the other side (I did a little back stitch here for extra strength) turn again and straight back up to the top. It will look like a little U shape when you are done. Repeat this step on all the other little slits.


Fantastic! Now turn the Outer fabric right side out. Put the lining inside with seams lined up. You will have the wrong sides together now..


Pin the top edges together and stitch across the top, I used my presser foot as my gauge for this, once you have done that, iron this seam toward the inside like so…


Looking good, now you need to measure and fold this edge again, pin in place because this is going to be the casing for your drawstring. once you are all pinned, stitch nice and close to the edge. We are almost done!

022 023

Now you will need your Bodkin or a simple safety pin will work too. Thread your drawstring through the casing of your bag. If you have enough to do two loops it will make pulling it shut easier, but one loop will work fine too. That’s all I have used here.


And once its threaded, tie the ends or stitch them together. Woohoo! Look at your stylin’ bag. Pretty easy huh?


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