You make these little bags
from a circle of fabric, decorated with stitches or sequins. The size of the
finished bag depends on the size of the circle you start off with. I've drawn
mine much smaller than they should be, so that I could fit them on the page.
To work out what size circle you need, experiment with some tissue paper circles,
gathering up the edges till you have a 'bag' that is the size you want. When
you get it right, use your paper circle as a pattern to pin to the fabric and
The easiest fabric to use
for the bags is felt, which doesn't fray. If you want to use another type of
fabric, such as cotton, you'll need to hem round the edge of the circle before
you decorate it, to prevent it from fraying.
|| Cut out a circle of felt,
and make a series of holes or slits between 1 and 3 centimetres from the
edge, depending on how big your circle is. (The neck of the bag will be
formed by threading a cord through these.) If you can get hold of a leather
punch, use that to punch the holes. Otherwise cut them with small sharp-pointed
scissors (Be careful!).
| The felt won't fray, but
it's a good idea to overstitch the edges of the holes or slits, to strengthen
them. You can use a different colour, like this, or one that matches the
Another way of making
the neck of the bag is to stitch a series of rings
around the edge of the circle. Don't do that till you've put on your
decoration, though, or the rings will get in the way.
|| Think about how you will
decorate the fabric. You could choose some sequins and sew them on randomly
or in a pattern. Stars come in different sizes and colours, as well as
gold and silver, and there are lots of other shapes and colours of sequin
to choose from. Try scattering some on the background and see which ones
you like the look of.
If you are going
to use rings and not holes for your drawstring, don't forget to leave
two or three centimetres empty round the edge of the circle, or you
won't have room to stitch them on.
| Sew the sequins on with
a fine embroidery thread. Use straight stitches, or experiment with simple
embroidery stitches. Try fixing the sequin with a small bead. Bring your
needle up from behind the fabric through the hole in the sequin. Thread
a bead onto the needle. Then take the needle back down through the sequin
|| You can also use embroidery
stitches to decorate your bag. Patterns that radiate from a central point
fit the circle shape well.
| This one uses a pink backstitch
interlaced with toning threads. (The interlacing stitch is threaded behind
each backstitch in turn, without going through the background fabric.)
|| At this stage, you can
attach rings to the circle to carry the drawstring, if you want to. If
you've made holes to thread it through, you can skip
this bit. You will need a number of metal rings. The size and quantity
depends on the size of your bag. Try sewing suppliers for small rings,
jewellery suppliers for tiny ones. Stitch the rings round the edge of
the circle. You can put them on the inside or the outside, whichever you
| Cut two pieces of cord
or ribbon long enough to thread through all the holes or rings and knot
together. Thread both pieces in and out of the holes, or through the rings.
Knot the ends together. For ribbon, cut the ends diagonally or in a V-shape
to stop them unravelling. The ends of cords can be frayed for a pretty
|| Arrange the knots so they
are at opposite sides of the circle. When you pull them in opposite directions
they will gather the fabric together to form the neck of the bag
If you make a drawstring
bag, we'd love to hear about it. Tell us how you chose your design. You could
even send a picture for us to show on the Young Embroiderers web site. Send
mail about your project and to find out how to send a picture.
by Fiona Dix (firstname.lastname@example.org)
© Fiona Dix 1997 - 2012
if you want
to share this project with others, please link to it - don't copy it