My daughter has been asking me to make her some little drawstring bags to put her little ‘thingies’ in. I believe the initial request was for me to make her 10 drawstring bags, all in shades of pink and purple.
Sure thing. I’ve got this. I am after all a super Mom with loads of time on my hands. Hardly.
Instead of spending an evening of my precious me-time sewing drawstring bags, I thought it would be a good opportunity to involve my 5 year old in the process. She’s been very keen to have a go at using my sewing machine for a long time. (And I admit I’ve been a bit precious about it so far.) But aside from the actual sewing, I realised I could show her exactly what kind of work goes into making something. After all, the sewing only takes a minute or two. It’s the pattern making, cutting and little finishing touches that take up most of the time and effort.
So I decided right then and there that at 5 years of age, she was old enough to design and create her own little kid made drawstring bag.
Have a look and see how it went, step by step instructions included!
Kid Made Drawstring Bag Tutorial
What you’ll need for the Kid Made Drawstring Bag
- a sewing machine
- fabric scissors
- paper to draw a pattern on (we used regular old brown paper) and pen
Step by Step Instructions
After taking 2 seconds to pick her favourite fabric, the first thing I asked my daughter to do was to draw how big she wanted her drawstring bag to be. We then doubled that size (since we’ll need twice the fabric) and allowed some room for cutting and the seams (about half an inch).
She drew the pattern and cut it out herself. I then straightened things out a bit for easy sewing as the sides will need to somehow match up in the end.
Once we had the pattern all sorted, we transferred it onto the fabric. The needles kept it in place (excellent fine motor skills practice!) while she used the fabric scissors to cut out the fabric. We used the opportunity to try out regular scissors and tried to figure out why they don’t work on fabric. (And why we should NEVER use fabric scissor for anything else. Because Mommy will have a meltdown that’s why. Remember when Daddy used them in the garden? It wasn’t pretty.)
I again had to tidy up the edges a bit so it would help the edges match up and the sewing to be easier.
The next step is to use the little craft iron (that I only use for sewing projects) to iron the fabric out and fold over the two ends of the fabric. That little flap we’re creating ON BOTH ENDS is where the string will go. We allowed about 2 inches for that. (Take that into consideration when drawing your pattern!)
And then, only then (finally!!) we get to use the sewing machine. It was a truly joyous moment for my very excited daughter.
A few tips: make sure they can comfortably reach the foot pedal (or whatever you call it) and make it very clear that they’ll need to follow your instructions for safety’s sake: stop means stop. (You could also have some practice runs on fabric scraps if you want so they can get a feel for how the sewing machine works.)
Things that surprised my daughter: 1) if you put your foot down fast and hard the sewing machine will take off like a racing car and you might get a fright: easy does it and 2) the machine feeds the fabric to the footer all by itself, you don’t need to push or pull, just gently guide it the way you want it to go.
There are only two things that need sewing for making this drawstring bag. (Yes, that’s how simple it is.) The first is the flap where the string will go: use a straight stitch for that. And the second is the sides: use a zigzag stitch for those and you might want to go over twice to make sure it’s very secure. Don’t forget to do this on both sides, but I’m sure that’s pretty obvious.
Here’s a little close up of the stitching: straight for the string allowance pocket and zigzag for the sides. Note how the zigzag stops at the straight stitching, otherwise you won’t be able to pull the string through. Also, I think you know this but just in case you’re really new at this: always sew inside out. That way your stitching will show on the inside of the bag and the outside will show a nice finished seam. So what you’re looking at in the image above and below is the drawstring bag inside out.
Now, for the strings: have a good look at the image below and it will all make sense. You’ll need two pieces of string that, when folded double, are slightly longer than the width of the bag. Attach a safety pin to one end of the string and use it to pull through the tube and then back again so you can tie both ends together. Do the same with the other piece of string but start from the other side. Then when you pull the two loops, the bag will magically close. Voila!
Once finished and turned the right way, this is what it should look like. Pretty awesome kid made drawstring bag cuteness.
Note that we added a little tag in there, just because we can really. I have an Etsy shop so I have a bunch of tags for the play mats and other cool play things I create. But while making these drawstring bags I was contemplating ordering some tags with my daughter’s name on it. I got mine from Anemone Labels on Etsy. They’ll print your own logo or you can choose from their many cool designs. (No affiliate link, just an honest happy costumer referral.)
Kid Made Drawstring Bag Fun: it’s only the Beginning
That was easy, right?
I think the whole activity from beginning to end took us under an hour. There was a whole lot of concentration, lessons in patience, laughter and squeals and pure satisfaction involved.
My daughter decided to make a few more bags in different sizes: one for her books and one for her fairy treasures. She was so happy about her creations she even took them to school to show her teacher. Lots of ooh’s and ahh’s followed suit. A few days later we had a play date and our little guest got to design and create her own little bag, getting her instructions from my daughter, who now considers herself quite the kid made drawstring bag specialist. It’s gorgeous to watch.
I truly believe creating alongside your children and involving them in the process, even though you might not quite know what you’re doing yourself, is a precious experience. There’s so much to learn from each other and I think in children, it fosters a love for creating, finding joy in the creative process of problem solving and a sense of achievement and respect for all that is handmade.
Here are a few other projects I did with my daughter I think you might like:
- we made mini felt sleeping bags for (all of the!) figurines
- we made a cardboard sword for pretend play with duct tape and fabric scraps
- we made princess hair braids (an all time favourite!)
- we made felt treasure bags for small world play
- we made fairy hair clips (that are worn ever day …)
- and we made felt chocolate pralines (we’re Belgian after all!)
What projects have you done with your children? I’d love to know!
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