Sew your next craft project bag! This free bag pattern will help you sew the perfect tote for carrying sewing supplies, yarn and crochet or knitting needles, scrapbooking tools, or even diapers and baby items. There are lots of pockets on the outside and the inside, plus an optional drawstring top to help keep items from rolling out.
My son was recently admitted to the hospital for testing (again!) and I used this bag to carry some fabrics and hand sewing supplies inside to keep myself busy while waiting. As I went through hospital security, I layed the bag on the x-ray machine conveyor belt and of course it rolled over (like all bags do). At that moment I realized how genius the drawstring top is… not one of my items fell out!
This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free Craft Project Bag sewing pattern is included in the blog post below and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional.
The pockets on the front and back of the bag have a cute center pleat for extra volume. They can fit larger items like a ball of yarn, a water bottle, or a couple diapers. The pockets over the side seams are great for keeping smaller items like crochet or knitting needles, scissors, or pens and pencils secure and organized.
The interior of the bag has four more generously sized pockets with an elasticised top edge to keep your items from falling out.
The finished size of this bag is approximately 15’’ wide x 23’’ tall (including the straps).
Sewing my craft project bag is easier than most other bag patterns because the stabilizer is not thick and there are no zippers.
A heavy duty needle is required for securing the top of the bag and the bag straps to the decorative rectangle rings. I’ll share an unexpected tip that makes this step doable on any sewing machine.
Let’s make the Craft Project Bag Sewing Pattern!
You will need:
- 2/3 yard of cotton fabric for the bag exterior
- 1/2 yard of cotton fabric for the exterior pockets
- 1 yard of solid fabric for the lining (lightweight is best)*
- 1/2 yard of fabric for bias binding and straps
- 28” of elastic, 1/4” wide
- 1 1/2 yards (54”) of drawstring cord (1/8” or 1/4” wide)
- 1 drawstring cord lock
- 4 rectangle rings with a 1 1/4” opening
- 3 yards of 20” wide medium weight fusible interfacing (Pellon SF101) Note: if your interfacing is wider than 20”, you can get by with less than 3 yards)
- 1/4 yard extra firm double sided fusible stabilizer (such as Peltex 72F)**
- Pins and Wonderclips
- a fabric marking pen (such as a Frixion pen or blue fabric marker)
- a bodkin or safety pin for inserting the drawstring and elastic
- a Sewing Stiletto (very helpful for sewing binding)
*The drawstring top and interior pockets require a reversible fabric so that’s why I chose a solid fabric. You could also use a reversible gingham or seersucker fabric.
** With our current supply chain situation, this extra firm double sided fusible stabilizer is sometimes out of stock. You can make do with the single sided fusible or sew in variety (Peltex 71F or 70) by using a spray baste product (such as SpraynBaste or 505) to adhere one or both sides of the stabilizer to the fabric instead of fusing with an iron.
Cutting the Fabric
Note: all cutting dimensions are height x width.
Download and cut out the pattern templates. The template for the bag exterior is in 3 parts and must be taped together. A 3/8” seam allowance is included in the templates.
From the fabric for the bag exterior, cut:
- 2 from the template for the bag exterior (cut on the fold)
- 2 from the template for the interior top (cut on the fold)
- 1 from the template for the bag bottom (cut on the fold)
From the fabric for the exterior pockets, cut:
- 2 rectangles 14” x 12” (pleated pockets)
- 2 rectangles 14” x 5 1/2” (flat pockets)
From the lining fabric, cut:
- 1 rectangle 7” x 33 3/4” (drawstring top – this is optional and can be skipped if desired)
- 2 rectangles 10’’ x 17 1/2’’ (lining sides)
- 2 rectangles 7 3/4” x 17 1/2″ (interior pockets)
- 1 from the template for the bag bottom (cut on the fold – not shown)
From your fabric for the bag straps and bias binding, cut:
- 1 square 18’’ x 18’’
- 2 rectangles 5” x 22”
Use my Bias Binding Tutorial to turn the 18” square of fabric into 3 yards of bias binding. Mark and cut the binding 2 1/4” wide.
Alternatively, you may use 1/3 yard of fabric to make the bias binding. In that case, cut:
- 7 bias cut strips of fabric that are 2 1/4’’ wide (strips cut at a 45 degree angle)
Sew the bias cut strips together to make one strip at least 3 yards long.
Cut and Fuse the Interfacing
Press to fuse each interfacing piece to the wrong side of a fabric piece as instructed below.
1. Use the pattern templates to cut two pieces of fusible interfacing for the bag exterior and two pieces for the bag interior top.
Fuse the interfacing to the matching pieces cut from fabric.
Tip: If your sewing machine struggles to sew through thick layers, you may skip the interfacing on the smaller pieces for the bag interior top.
2. Cut two pieces of fusible interfacing 5” x 22” and fuse to the strap pieces.
- 2 interfacing rectangles 7” x 12”
- 2 interfacing rectangles 7” x 5 1/2”
Fuse the 7” x 12” interfacing pieces to the bottom half of the 14” x 12” exterior pocket pieces.
Fuse the 7” x 5 1/2” interfacing pieces to the bottom half of the 14” x 5 1/2” exterior pocket pieces.
4. Since the Peltex extra firm stabilizer is hard to fold, use one of your fabric pieces for the bag bottom to cut a matching piece of extra firm stabilizer.
5. Trim 3/8” away from the bag bottom stabilizer piece all the way around.
6. Fuse the stabilizer to the center of the bag bottom exterior fabric piece.
Then fuse the bag bottom lining piece to the other side. Your bag bottom is done so you can set it aside for now.
Make the Exterior Pockets
1. Fold a 14” x 12” pleated pocket piece in half with the 12” edges right sides together. Pin and sew the side edges.
Repeat with the remaining pleated pocket piece.
2. Fold a 14” x 5 1/2” flat pocket piece in half with the 5 1/2” edges right sides together. Pin and sew the side edges.
Repeat with the remaining side pocket piece.
3. Turn the pockets right side out and press flat. 3 sides of each pocket should be finished with a raw edge at the bottom of the pocket only.
4. Use the fabric marking pen to draw a vertical line down the center of the two larger pockets.
Make the Interior Pockets
1. Fold and press the top edge of a 7 3/4” x 17 1/2” interior pocket piece down 1/4”, and then down 1/2”.
2. Sew close to the fold to make a 1/2” casing.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a casing at the top of the other interior pocket piece also.
3. Use the fabric marking pen to draw a vertical line down the center of each pocket piece (on the front of the pocket – not the side with the casing).
4. Cut the 1/4” wide elastic into two pieces, each 14” long.
Use the bodkin or safety pin to insert a piece of elastic into each pocket casing.
5. Use pins or wonderclips to hold the end of the elastic in place as you even out the gathers along each pocket piece.
Tip: elastic can stretch as it is inserted. Measure the top of the pocket and pull out some of the elastic if needed so that the top of each pocket is 13-14” wide.
6. Sew across the ends of the elastic 1/4” away from the opening in the casing to secure the elastic on both sides of the pockets.
Attach the Interior Pockets
1. Use the fabric marking pen to draw a vertical line down the center of the 10” x 17 1/2” lining pieces.
2. Pin or clip an interior pocket piece to a lining piece with the bottom edges lined up.
2. Sew the pocket piece to the side edges of the lining with a 1/4” seam allowance.
3. Line up the marked line on the pocket with the marked line on the lining piece and pin along the line.
4. Sew along the line to create a divided pocket. Backstitch neatly at the top and cut the threads.
Baste along the bottom edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.
5. Repeat to sew the remaining interior pocket piece and lining piece together.
Make the Drawstring Top
1. Lay the 7” x 33 3/4” drawstring top piece on your work space. On one side edge, make a 3/8” cut into the fabric 1 3/4” down from the top edge. Repeat on the other side.
Fold the fabric over by 3/8” above the cut and press. Do this on both side edges.
2. Fold and press the top edge down by 1/4”, and then again by 3/4” to make a 3/4” casing.
The bottom folded edge of the casing should be even with the cuts as seen in the photo above.
3. Sew close to the fold to finish the casing.
The casing side is the inside of the drawstring top, so the side with only a line of stitching showing is the right side.
4. Place the ends of the piece right sides together (with the casing side out).
Sew from the cut edge to the bottom corner with a 3/8” seam allowance.
This seam will show on the inside of the bag, so finish the edges with a serger or zig zag stitch.
Turn the top piece right side out and press it flat. Press both sides flat, which will mark the half way point to help you line it up over the bag interior in the next steps.
Sew the Interior of the Bag Together
1. Pin the two lining pieces right sides together with the pockets in between.
Sew the side edges with a 3/8” seam allowance.
2. Press the seams open.
3. Turn both the interior with pockets and the drawstring top piece right side out.
With the drawstring top upside down, place it over the interior with pockets so the raw edges line up at the top.
Make sure that the casing and the side seam on the drawstring top are facing down against the pockets on the bag interior.
Line up the side seam on the drawstring top with one of the side seams on the bag interior and pin. Line up the pressed edge (center of the drawstring top) with the side seam on the other side of the bag interior and pin. Then continue pinning all the way around the top edge.
4. Sew all the way around with a 3/8” seam allowance.
5. Place the two interior top pieces right sides together and sew the small side edges with a 3/8” seam allowance. Press the seams open.
6. Place the interior top over the bag interior with the raw edges lined up. The right side of the interior top should be face down against the right side of the drawstring top.
Line up the side seams and pin all the way around.
7. Sew all the way around with a 3/8” seam allowance.
8. Press the seam down toward the bottom of the bag. Open the bag interior with the drawstring top up and press the seam again.
Topstitch just below the seam, sewing the seam allowance underneath to the bag lining.
This is a really long sewing tutorial! The blog post might take too long to load on some computers, so I have split it into two parts.
Don’t forget that I also prepared the entire Craft Project Bag in one PDF document that has been optimized for printing.
See you over at Part 2!
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