An afternoon of sewing

We've just had a lovely half term break here. Lots of walks in the orange, browns and reds of fallen autumn leaves. There's a slight chill in the morning air now as we quickly get back to our school routine.


While packing my daughter's kit bag I realised that (5 years on) this was the only bag she had ever had. It really has seen better days and I'm surprised she hasn't mentioned it before. We had a rummage through my fabric box and picked a butterfly print to make a new one. It's not a strong fabric so chose a stiff cotton for lining and providing a bit of structure.

Here's what we did next:

Fabric Cut

Outer piece - cut this 32"x12"
Lining - cut 2 pieces 14"x12"
Give all of these a good iron.

Fabric pinned

Lay the outer piece (pattern side up) and place the lining pieces on top (pattern side down), matching one piece at the top edge and one at the bottom of the outer fabric. Pin these ends and sew across.

Fabric pinned

You should now have a long piece of fabric with your outer piece in the middle, and lining at both ends. Give this an iron to get the seams flat then fold in half, right sides together. Try to line up the seams carefully, this is the important bit. Pin the edges and open end. Now measure down 3/4" from the seam and mark with a pin or pen. Leave a further gap of around 1/2" and mark again (I used a couple of pins).

Starting at the folded end, sew a seam up each side, leaving a gap where your 1/2 inch markers are. We back-stitched a little here just to strengthen. Continue up the side and round the top edge for about 4". Repeat on the other side.

Inside out

Using the gap at the lining edge, turn the bag inside out, so the right side is now on the outside. Sew up the gap in the lining with ladder or top stitch and give the bag another press with the iron.


Now you need to carefully push the lining part inside the outer fabric, to create the bag. The outer fabric will be longer than the lining so will create a border all the way around the top. Keep fiddling with this until the lining is pushed fully and neatly inside. Iron again.

Drawstring gap

At the top of your bag (on each side) you should be able to spot the gaps left when sewing. These are for your drawstring.

Last sewing

Carefully sew 2 lines of stitching around the top of the bag, level with the top and bottom of this gap. Again, we did a little extra back-stitching at the edge seams where the little holes were.

Drawstring Bag

Now, insert your drawstring cord. We used 2 pieces. One we inserted on the left and threaded all the way through the front, then along the back, returning to the where it had started. We then repeated this from the right. Tie knots at the desired length, cutting off any excess cord. And there you have it. A perfectly sized kit bag that should hopefully last another 5 years :)