Sewing, Crafting and Giving

Last June, I worked on creating 30 bags (along with a dozen of my friends) to donate to an organization that provides assistance to at-risk and foster youth. We made a wide variety of bags, and this one was inspired by one I found on the clearance rack at Target. It’s simple and can be interpreted with minimal sewing skills and you can either measure & cut or create a quick pattern out of paper. We used mostly commercial upholstery fabric that was donated for us to use in this project.  This is one to save in the repertoire of kid/tween crafts.

Here are the steps to make your own:

1. Determine size. Mine is about 12”x15” finished with a 6” x 12” pocket & 15” straps.

You should have a total of 4 pieces.

Body: 17”x12.75”
Straps: 3”x16” (x2)
Pocket: 7”x12.75

Cut the body of the bag in one piece. The fold will be at the bottom of the bag. Allow about 3/8 seam allowance at the sides and 1” at the top for the draw-string pocket.


2.  Sew straps first. You can either press/fold/sew on the finished side or sew unfinished sides together, then turn them right side out. I’ve done both and since it’s a small piece, turning out the unfinished to finished sides took too long for my patience level (about 20 minutes). I prefer a little bit of ironing and sewing on the finished side.


3.  Sew pocket to front of bag. You can position it to your preference. It seems right about 4” from the bottom. I sew the top finished seam first, then turn under and secure the bottom to the face of the bag. I like to create 3 separate pockets with seams. You can use fun stitching if your machine has the settings. You will sew the sides right into the side seam of the bag later.


4.  Sew the top draw-string pocket seam next. We found that by notching the top by about ½”x2”and putting a finish stitch down the side, it worked well and created the perfect guide to sew the sides together. After the notch-stitch, turn the top down 1” and sew, leaving the hollow center for the cord.


5. Turn bag right sides together, ensuring that the pocket is straight/pinned in. Insert the straps at this time. For the ‘backpack’, place the top of straps very close to the top of the bag (right under the cord pocket) and the bottom of the strap about 2”-3” from the bottom. The straps should be pinned to the finished/inside of the bag.


6. After sewing up each side, turn the bag right side out and insert the cord. Done!
The cord we used is from Target in the ‘fishing/automotive/camping’ section. It’s about $4.99 for 100’.


Be creative, add pockets in different colors, use a variety of fabrics and put your own creative spin on it! Have fun.

Featured on Girl Inspired as: Charlene
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14 thoughts on “Sewing, Crafting and Giving

    1. Thanks Ana! I just looked at your post and I love the camp idea. That is where we are headed with many of our ideas. We will be following you now too.

  1. If only I could sew at all I would be set! I’m lucky if I can darn a sock! I love seeing these from someone who knows what they are doing!

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