Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tutorial: The Not So Tricky Treat Bag

We're mere weeks away from Halloween and how better to get everyone in the spirit than a fun and simple tutorial for making reusable (and reversible!) Trick or Treat bags? Even better, you get to decide how big or small you want your Treat bags. All you'll need to do is choose the dimensions of your finished bag, add half an inch seam allowance to those dimensions and POOF in no time (I'd estimate an hour and a half), you're ready to hit the pavement and start ringing doorbells.

**NOTE: I recommend reading all the way through these instructions first before you start sewing**

Step 1: Getting Started

Here's the supplies you'll need:

1 yard of Halloween print fabric
if you want to use two different prints for the inside and outside of the bag, you'll need a half yard of each print
A ruler
A pair of scissors
Matching thread
A sewing machine

Step 2: Cutting Your Fabric

Decide on the dimensions of your finished bag. The two bags I made for my kids measured 10 inches by 12 inches, so I added a half inch to each dimension to get my fabric measurements.

If you are using the same fabric for the inside and outside of your bag, you will need to cut 4 rectangles in your dimensions. If you're using two different fabrics, you will need 2 rectangles of the inside fabric and two of the outside fabric.

Next, cut two lengths of fabric for handles. Again, it's up to you how thick and how long you want your handles. For a 12 inch tall bag, I generally cut the handle pieces 25 inches long and 4 inches wide. Finished, the handles will be an inch thick.

Finally, cut 1x1 inch squares out of the bottom left and right corners of all bag body rectangles. This is where you will be boxing the corners for the bottom of the bag (the picture above shows the fabric pieces with the square cut out). If you want your bag bottom to be wider, you can choose to cut out your corner squares bigger, so long as you keep it square.

Step 3: Preparing Your Handles

Before you sew your handles, you'll need to press them. Start by folding the handle piece in half along the long edge. Press. Next, reopen the handle piece and turn in each long edge towards the center crease you just pressed (see the bottom right picture above) and press again. Once the raw edges are pressed in towards the center, refold the piece along the original crease you made and press one last time.

Step 4: Start Sewing!

Take your body pieces and match two sets (one set for the inside lining and one set for the outside of the bag) with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and pin. Sew each set using a 1/2 inch seam allowance down each side of the bag making sure to STOP one inch away from the 1 x 1 inch square at the right and left bottom corners. Next, sew each set along the bottom seam using the same seam allowance, remembering to STOP one inch away from the square cut outs on each side.

Now for the handles! Sew along the open, long edge of each handle, 1/4 inch from the edge. Repeat on the closed side.

Step 5: Boxing The Bag Bottom Corners

If you've never boxed a corner, this step can seem a little confusing (it was for me the first time I read instructions on how to do it), but I'm hopeful my pictures will help! Take one of your sewn inner or outer body pieces, still turned wrong side out and open up the 1x1 inch squared corner (see picture 1 above). Grab at the cut out corner where the square makes the 90 degree angle and pull the pieces away from each other. At this point, the one of the side seams and the bottom seam should match up (see picture 2 above). You will need to sew across this flattened out corner using a one inch seam allowance. Box the corners for both the inner and outer body pieces.

Step 6: The Big Finish

Now it's time to put it all together. Turn your outer body piece so that the right side is facing out. Press in 1/2 inch across the top of the inner and outer body pieces, with the pressed seams turned in towards the wrong side of the fabric. Insert the inner body piece into the outer body piece, with the wrong sides facing each other. Insert each handle (one handle goes across the front side of the bag and the other across the back side of the bag) 1/2 inch down and one inch from each side of the bag, between the inner and outer body pieces, then pin. Make sure that your side seam line up. Sew around the top edge of the bag using a 1/4 inch seam, closing the bag top and securing your handles...and you're done!

Wasn't that easy? If you're feeling really adventurous, you can embellish it to your heart's desire. For my kids, I cut out their names in glittery felt, fused them to the bag using two sided fusible webbing , then embroidered an outline for the letters to make them pop. I made bags for my niece and nephew (the Hello Kitty and the spider web bags pictured in the very first picture above) and ironed on their names using plush lettering I got from Joann's Fabrics. Have fun with it. You'll be surprised how fast and easy these bags are to make.

Enjoy and...Trick or Treat!!!

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