/ / How to Sew a Yarn Project Bag – Free DIY Sewing Pattern

How to Sew a Yarn Project Bag – Free DIY Sewing Pattern

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Sew up a roomy bag that’s perfect for carrying balls of yarn and your knitting or crochet projects too!

This half-barrel shaped bag has an easy to install eyelet (or grommet) on top through which you can draw out the yarn.

With your yarn ‘in the bag’ it will stay clean even when the bag is on the floor – perfect for using at home and in the car, at appointments, or at a friend’s house!

In addition to the blog post, this sewing pattern has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here.

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I used piping on the round edges of the bag because piping is my secret way to hide uneven stitching, and it always adds a professional touch.

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The strap is attached at the back of the bag to make it easy to carry – the flat side is against your body so it won’t flop around.

And as you can see, my Yarn Project Bag holds plenty of yarn. The approximate size is 10’’ tall and 11’’ wide.

To keep this tutorial within the limits of a blog post, I did not add any pockets, but it would be very easy to do so.

You could use my How to Sew a Welt Pocket Tutorial to put a welt pocket of any size on the interior or exterior, front or back. Or you could make a simple rectangular slip pocket and sew it to any side of the bag too.

Add these pockets to the exterior or lining pieces before you get started, and then sew the bag as usual.

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I’m sure you also noticed the nice wide handbag zipper with two pulls. The pattern is designed for a wide (YKK #4.5) handbag zipper, but you don’t have to get one with two pulls – I just think it makes it easier to open.

Note: I love using Zipper By the Yard because I can cut as many handbag zippers as I need and the package comes with lots of pulls.

So let’s get started!

Yarn Project Bag Free Sewing Pattern

You will need:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the bag exterior

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the bag lining

  • 1/2 yard foam stabilizer (such as ByAnnie Soft and Stable)

  • 40’’ of piping (such as Wrights Maxi Piping)

  • 1 size 4.5 YKK handbag zipper, 20’’ long (one or two pulls, as desired – see my discussion about zippers above)

  • 1 large or extra large eyelet (I prefer Dritz eyelets and find them fairly easy to install)

More fabric and zippers may be required if you decide to add pockets.

Also helpful:

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Cutting:

Click here to download the Yarn Project Bag Template.

From your exterior fabric, cut:

  • 2 from the Yarn Project Bag Template

  • 1 rectangle 10’’ x 11’’ (bag back)

  • 1 rectangle 9 1/4’’ x 18 3/4’’ (bag front)

  • 1 strip 4’’ x 42’’ (strap)

From your lining fabric cut:

  • 2 from the Yarn Project Bag Template

  • 1 rectangle 10’’ x 11’’ (bag back)

  • 1 rectangle 9 1/4’’ x 18 3/4’’ (bag front)

  • cut or piece together one bias cut strip 2 1/4’’ x 20’’ (for bias binding)*

  • cut or piece together one strip 2 1/4’’ x 33’’ (for straight binding)*

*Note: a bias cut strip may be used instead of the 33’’ straight-cut strip, but a straight-cut strip cannot be substituted for the 20’’ bias cut strip since it will be sewn around a curve.

From the foam stabilizer, cut:

  • 2 from the Yarn Project Bag Template

  • 1 rectangle 10’’ x 11’’ (bag back)

  • 1 rectangle 9 1/4’’ x 18 3/4’’ (bag front)

Make the Strap

1. Fold the 4’’ x 42’’ strap piece in half lengthwise and press. Fold the edges to the center crease and press. Fold in half and press again to make a 1’’ x 42’’ long strap.

2. Topstitch along both edges of the strap 1/8’’ from the edge.

Tip: a Walking Foot helps with this step as well as when sewing other parts of the bag that have multiple layers.

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Prepare the Bag Top and Bottom Pieces

1. Place the rounded top and bottom exterior fabric pieces with the wrong side against the foam stabilizer pieces of the same shape. Baste around all edges 1/8’’ from the edge.

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2. Sew piping around the curved edge of both pieces. Switch to a zipper or piping foot (if available) to help you sew right next to the piping with matching thread.

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3. Choose one curved piece to be the bag top.

Sew one edge of the zipper around the curved edge, face down, right on top of the piping with a 1/4’’ seam allowance (or as needed to sew close to the piping. Move the sliders out of the way as you sew near them.

Note: you may pin or clip the zipper around the curved edge before sewing, if desired.

Clip away any extra zipper tape flush with the straight edge of the piece. Sew back and forth over the zipper teeth 1/4’’ from the cut edge in order to create a new stopper on both ends (so you don’t accidentally pull off one or both sliders).

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4. Place one of the curved lining pieces right sides together with the top piece, sandwiching the zipper in between. Stitch around the curve with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

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5. Turn the top piece right side out and press the fabric seams gently. Baste the straight edges together 1/8’’ from the edge.

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Attach the Bag Front

1. Place the 9 1/4’’ x 18 3/4’’ exterior fabric piece with the wrong side against the foam stabilizer piece of the same size. Baste around the edges 1/8’’ from the edge.

Baste the lining fabric piece of the same size against the back of the stabilizer.

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2. Use a pencil or fabric pen to mark the center of the front piece along the long edges at the top and the bottom.

Fold the curved top piece in half and mark the center of the zipper (on the back of the zipper).

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3. With right sides together, line up the center mark on the zipper with the center mark on the top of the front piece. Clip together.

Then place clips around the edges of the round curved edge, easing the rectangle piece to fit.

Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

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4. Carefully trim away 1/8’’ from the seam allowance of the fabric and stabilizer behind the zipper tape (do not cut the zipper tape).

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5. Then fold the zipper tape down to cover the seam allowance. From the inside stitch the seam allowance down close to the edge. Alternatively, you could topstitch on the outside 3/16’’ away from the zipper.

Either way will create topstitching on the exterior and finish the seam on the inside.

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Attach the Bag Back to the Bag Bottom

1. Baste the 10’’ x 11’’ exterior fabric piece to the stabilizer piece of the same size (bag back).

2. Pin or clip the curved edge of the bottom piece to the 11’’ top edge of the bag back. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Press the seam towards the bag back.

Repeat step 2 with the lining bottom and bag back pieces.

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3. Place the wrong side of the the lining piece against the stabilizer with the exterior and piping on the other side. Clip. Baste around the piece 1/8’’ from the edge.

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4. If desired, topstitch on the exterior of the piece just above the seam on the bag back.

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Sew the Bag Bottom to the Front

1. Fold the curved bottom piece in half and mark the center of the curve.

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2. Right sides together, clip the bag bottom to the lower straight edge of the front, matching the center marks and clipping around the curve.

Important: The corners of the straight edge extend 1/4’’ past the seam that joins the bag back and curved bottom piece as seen in the second photo above.

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3. Start sewing on the seam between the back and curved edge, and then sew around the curve, stopping at the same seam on the other side.

This means that on the other side, the ends will stick up by 1/4’’.

Attach the Strap

1. Turn the bag right side out. Pin or clip the ends of the strap to the straight unsewn edge of the top – 1’’ away from the piping on both sides.

2. Stitch over the ends of the strap 1/8’’ from the edge to secure.

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Finish Assembling the Bag

1. Turn the bag wrong side out again. Clip the top edge of the bag to the straight edge of the top with the strap ends sandwiched in between.

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If the top of the bag back is centered properly against the straight edge of the top, the ends of the back will extend over the zipper by 1/4’’.

2. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance: starting and stopping at the zipper on both ends. Do not sew on the zipper.

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3. Open the zipper slightly so you will be able to turn the bag right side out.

Clip the sides together.

Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

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Finish the Seams

Tip: I finished my interior seams with binding, but you could sew the edges with a zig zag stitch instead, or serge the seams.

1. Fold the 2 1/4’’ x 20’’ piece of bias cut binding in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together.

Turn the bag upside down and clip the raw edge of the bias binding around the curved edge. About 1’’ of extra binding will extend past the corners.

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2. Stitch the binding to the curved edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

3. Flip the binding over to the other side and sew it down close to the folded edge.

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Since the remaining edges to be bound are straight, it doesn’t matter if you use straight cut binding or bias binding. I used straight cut binding because it was easier to make.\

4. Fold the 33’’ piece of binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

Clip the raw edges to the raw edges of the seams starting at one bottom corner (that you just bound), going up and over the top straight edge, and then down to the opposite bottom corner (also just bound). Cut off the ends of the binding so that only 1/2’’ of binding extends on either side.

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5. Sew the binding around the bag, 1/4’’ from the edge.

When you reach each top corner, put the needle down, lift up the presser foot, turn the bag 90 degrees, straighten the binding to make a mitered corner. and continue sewing.

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6. Flip the binding around to the other side. Fold the extra 1/2’’ down at the ends to make a neat corner (first photo above).

Stitch the binding down close to the fold. Use a sewing stiletto to help around the tricky parts (like mitering the corners).

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Add 1 or more Eyelets for the Yarn

1. Use a ruler and a pencil or fabric marking pen to measure and mark the center of the bag top.

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2. Use one of the eyelet pieces to mark the circle for cutting.

Tip: since the top has three layers that are kind of loose, use a small stitch length (about 1) to sew around the circle, just outside it – before cutting out the circle. This way the layers won’t shift when you attach the eyelet.

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3. Cut out the circle and finish installing the eyelet using the manufacturer’s instructions.

Are you going to keep your yarn bag for yourself or gift it to a crafty friend? I’d love to see it. Please share a photo on Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe so I can see!

xoxo,

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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4 Comments

  1. I was excited to see this post when the email arrived, and immediately clicked over to view as I have knitters in my family and have been looking for a project bag to make for them. But have to confess, I’m disappointed. I don’t know many knitters who complete a project in one sitting. So the setup of this bag, with the yarn coming thru the top grommet, means that the unfinished project will be hanging out in the open while the yarn ball remains inside. One could cut the yarn, but that means another join in the project – not something many want to do. Ideally, the unfinished item could go back in the bag to be protected and kept clean until completed.

    It’s a lovely bag but sadly, not for the knitters in my family.

    1. Hi Liz,
      That was one of the reasons why I used two zipper sliders. The project can be tucked back inside the bag and with the two sliders almost closing the bag – 1/4” or so can be left open for the yarn. 🙂

  2. Thank you! My 14yo and myself are making one each!

  3. I can’t really pinpoint why this bag was so difficult for me. Maybe all the layers? But I made it happen and I like it. When I got to the point of finishing the seams inside, I used the bias tape method. I hand sewed the tape down after stitching it to the seams and that makes it look almost professional!

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