Saturday, September 19, 2015

GO! Tumbler Gift Bags

Years ago I came across this great idea for using the Accuquilt GO! 6 1/2" Tumbler to make little drawstring bags. You can find the tutorial here at Jo's Country Junction.

One of the things I really like about this little bag is the way that when it is opened up, it is wider at the top opening. That makes it a lot more versatile.

While drawstring bags are super easy to make, there is always one part of making them I hate -- weaving the cord through the casing. Am I the only one who has to fight to get the safety pin through the opening? I'm always getting the pin stuck on the wrong side of the seam allowance. Then I have to back up and bring it forward again, where I find that it is still not placed right. It's worse than trying to parallel park! So annoying.

What follows is just my method for making sure the safety pin that's bringing the cord through doesn't have to fight those seam allowances. If you're interested in making these, I'd suggest hopping over to Jo's tutorial and reading through her directions first. Then what I'm doing here will make more sense and you can decide if you want to add these steps in or not. (I know it would probably be easier if I just recreated the entire directions here, but this is Jo's smart idea, so I don't want to infringe and recreate her tutorial).

To begin, after I've run the fabric through the GO! and I have my four patches ready, I make marks in the seam allowance on the wrong side of the fabric. For bags where the lining is completely inside the bag, I mark 1" and 1 1/2" down from the wide side of the tumbler (what will be the top of the bag) on all four sides. (These identify where the casing for the drawstring cord will go.)

For some of the bags, I use Jo's idea and fold over the lining fabric so that it forms a binding edge at the top.  Like this:

When I'm going to use that little binding edge, I mark the fabric that will be the outer fabric of the bag at 3/4" and 1 1/4" and the lining fabric at 1 1/4" and 1 3/4".

When it is time to sew the side seams, I sew through the side seams of the lining (still leaving a turning opening at the bottom), but for the outer fabric, I skip over the half inch between the marks. In the picture below, you can see that the blue fabric is the lining so the seam is unbroken, and the yellow is the outer fabric, so I left that part of the seam open.

Next comes the part where I take steps to ensure the cord doesn't get caught in the seam allowance.  I put a little glue in the seam allowance between the two marked lines (for both the outer and lining fabrics) and then iron the seam allowances back.  (Sometimes I iron all fabric in between the two casing areas and sometimes I just iron open the specific spots. In the picture below, I ironed the whole part open). Do this on both sides of the tumbler, front and back.

After that I just turn the bag inside out, sew the opening in the lining closed, and stuff the lining inside the bag.  I draw the casing lines on the outer side of the bag at 3/4" and 1 1/4" from the top of the bag. And in the best of all possible worlds, with those pesky seam allowances glued down out of the way, the safety pin holding the cord slides right through those openings with no trouble at all!

These little bags are so useful. You can tuck a gift card into them, a tiny little toy, or, even better yet, little chocolate kisses.

These little bags weren't what I originally had in mind to show this week. I have a table runner in process. I just got distracted.  Perhaps I'll have the runner done and ready to show by the end of next week?


  1. Super cute! I don't know why we struggle with those little things in a project that drives us crazy when if we would just stop and think about it and we'd come up with a simple solution. You did it! Bravo!

    1. It might be too fiddly for some sewers, but since it makes the part I have trouble with go much easier, I'm for it!