make a drawstring bag for ballerinas

At the moment I am busy sewing 10 pretty things for ballerinas and dancers who go to my friend's dance school. I have been having fun making ballet shoe bag using this gorgeous kokka ballerina fabric which I'm in love with. I thought I'd share a little sewing tutorial on how to make a drawstring bag (even though there are a million other ones out there!).

Here is a picture of the final result:

Ballet show drawstring bag
This style is a bit different to the usual way you make a drawstring bag as the casing runs along the outside of the bag instead of at the top (you can just see it in the picture, it's white and pink polka dots). I think it looks nice and it's smoother and easier for kids to use.
The casing can be a little fiddly to get on (there's probably an easier way so suggestions welcome!) but it opens up the option for having a contasting casing panel. Have a go and see what you think!

  • main fabric for front and back (I've used a different fabric for each side to conserve expensive fabric but you can obviously use the same front and back!)
  • lining fabric
  • casing fabric (i used the same fabric as the back. You could use your lining fabric to coordinate)
  • interfacing (optional)
  • ribbon
  • pins, thread, machine etc

Step one: cut your fabric

For the body and lining pieces cut two 11" x 14" (27.5cm x 35cm) rectangles from your main fabric, lining fabric and interfacing. (I like to make my interfacing pieces a little smaller to avoid bulk in the seams)
Fuse your interfacing to the wrong side of your main fabric pieces.

For the ribbon casing cut out two strips of fabric 9" x 3" (22.5cm x 7.5cm)
Fold in each long end of each strip about 1/4 an inch (0.5cm or so) and press.
Fold in each short end of the strip about 1/4 an inch and press.
It should look like this:

prepare casing
Step two: stitch on your casing

Place your main fabric piece right side up on your working space with the two short ends at the top and bottom.
Put your casing right side up about 1/2 an inch (1.25cm) below the top of your main fabric piece and carefully pin into place, making sure the ends are all folded under nicely. You can see in the picture below that there is an even gap between the fabric edge and casing on each side. (well, it's close enough!).
Repeat with the other fabric piece.

pin casing

Top stitch the two long ends of each casing close to the edge, leaving the two short edges free to encase the ribbon.

stitch on casing
Step three: sew your pieces together

Pin your two main body pieces right sides together with the two casing pieces at the top.
Pin your two lining pieces right sides together, leaving a gap of around 3 inches (7.5cm) at the bottom so we can pull it all through later. (see picture, right hand side)

pin main and lining pieces together

Take your main body pieces and sew around the 2 sides and bottom, leaving the top open.
Clip your corners, turn the right way out and press. Set aside.
Take your lining pieces and sew around the 2 sides and bottom leaving the gap at the bottom open.
Clip your corners, turn the right way out and press.
stitch, turn, press
Ok, now the fun part!

Step four: sew the bag together

Turn your lining piece so it is inside out.
Place the main body piece (right side out) inside the lining piece. in this picture I haven't put it all the way in yet so you can see what it looks like.

place body (right side out) into lining (wrong side out)
Line up the top edges and seams and pin all the way around.  (don't pin the top together though.... :)

pin around the top of the bag

check you haven't pinned it together!

 Stictch all the way around the top of the bag, avoiding the casing.

stitch around the top of the bag

Pull the main body of the bag through the gap in the lining.

pull main body through the lining
pull all the way through

Slip stitch closed the gap in the lining, press and tuck it into the main body of the bag.
Give the whole thing a good press.

Press. Almost there!

Using a safety pin, feed one piece of ribbon through the casings so both ends appear on one side.
repeat using the other piece of ribbon so the two ends appear on the other side. (I hope that makes sense) You'll know if you got it right if you pull on both ends and the bag closes. Magic!
attach a safety pin to your ribbon

feed through casing

Knot the ends of the ribbon and pass it on to your favourite little ballerina or dancer.

She (or he) can put their ballet, jazz or tap shoes in it. If you have a boy or girl who isn't into dance, these drawstring bags would nicely hold some trains, tracks, dolls, tea sets or a mountain of toy cars.You can also make some for yourself to house all your gorgoeus strappy shoes!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, feedback and links to pics of your completed bags would be very welcome!


1 comment:

  1. Great tutorial! I love cute little drawstring bags. I might actually use some of these techniques next time I need to make some. I still gotta get that sewing machine fixed!

    On another note, did you lost any posts or comments in the big blog debacle today? I lost posts, comments and all but one of my followers. Grrrr


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