Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fabric Paper (Popcorn) Bag Bag Tutorial

I’ve always wanted a bag based off a paper bag. I really like paper bags. They’re such a good size for so many things! I also really like popcorn. This Halloween I wanted to join the circus if you'll recall, so I got off my duff and made this:

Now it's time for this:

I used:
A paper lunch bag
Fabric for the outside (and fabric paint, masking tape, sponge brush, etc. to paint the stripes on the muslin if you're doing that. There are tons of great tutorials out there for painting fabric. This tutorial is just for the bag part. You can jazz it up or tame it down anyway you want!)
Lining fabric
Drawstring closure fabric (I used unpainted muslin. Cut 2 pieces as long as the top edge of your bag + 1/2” seam allowance and as tall as 1/2 of the finished bag width + 2” seam allowance so it can close in the middle.)
Interfacing (I used some cheap, light-weight stuff to give it a lunch bag personality.)
General sewing supplies like scissors, sewing machine, pins, etc.

After settling on a plan of action, I snagged a paper bag from the pantry and cut it open like this to use as my pattern:

Next time, I will square it up before cutting. What a silly mistake!

I just added 1/2” for the seam allowance by measuring that far away all around the bag except for the top (I wanted mine a smidgen shorter, so I didn’t add any on the straight parts there.) Draw where you want the seam allowance to be for the curved cut-outs at the top of the bag. Cut like this for the outside and lining.

Make and attach pockets if desired. (I just had one inside to hold my ID and such. Don’t forget to allow for the gusset and top seam when positioning.)

Take outer body piece and fold in half right-sides together so the edges of the small rectangles meet and the long edges are even. Sew. Repeat with other side. Repeat with lining, leaving an opening to turn bag through (or not. As long as the stitch length isn’t on teeny-tiny, the seam ripper is my friend. And it sure helps with pressing to sew it all closed)

Press open side seams. Trim to 1/4” if you want.

Take 1 body piece and open out a small rectangle so that the edges meet in 1 line, with the side-seam in the center of 1 side. Sew right-sides together with your seam allowance. Repeat with the other side and with the lining.

Iron in folds (like a paper bag!)

Sew closure pieces right sides together along short sides. Press open seams. Fold seam allowances under so the edges meet the seam like this…

…and iron.
Sew seam allowances down close to the edge, like hems. 


Press top edge of closure under 1/4”. Press under another 3/4”. Sew close to the edge.

With seam ripper open the side seams sewn into the hem. Slipstitch the inside side and the bottom 1/4” or so of the outside closed so the opening is only on the outside and the 1/4” raw edge inside is covered. These will be the openings for the drawstrings.

Time to put it all together!

Slip closure piece on the outside piece, aligning edges and side seams, right side facing right side of outer. Slip lining piece on, right side facing wrong side of closure, aligning edges and side seams. Sew around top edge using your seam allowance. Turn through lining and press, poking the rounds (and everything else) into shape!

Top stitch around top edge 3/4” away from the top edge with the closure tucked down inside.

Slipstitch lining opening closed.

Insert string for 1 side of drawstring in and out through 1 side. Knot. Repeat, going in and out through other side.

Your fabric paper bag bag is complete! Yay!

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