I love making bags. And not the cute frilly gift bags, I’m talking about really useful bags here. There’s something so satisfying about starting with a jumble of stuff and organizing it with a simple fabric bag. Some basic sewing skills are needed to make all of these. I’m not going to tell you how to thread your needle or measure properly. If you need help with fabric selection or the right/wrong sides of fabrics, consult your nearest seamstress.
The basic bag pattern I use is as follows: If you need your bag to be 10 inches wide and 30 inches long, you’ll need two rectangles of fabric, 10×30, or one length of fabric, 10×60. If you want to drawstring close the top, add another inch to the top of both rectangles, this will be folded down and sewn to make the casing for the drawstring. Pin the two rectangles together, right sides together, sew 3 sides, leaving the top open. If using 1 piece, fold it so the right sides are together and sew the two sides, leaving the top open. If you want the drawstring closure, fold the top edge down, sew around that folded down edge, close to the raw edge, leaving an inch or so open so you can thread your cord of choice in the casing.
Bags for food storage – Root veggies like potatoes and onions and garlic can all be stored in bags. Sometimes it’s easy to acquire a nice burlap bag, reusing it from something else. Other times it seems like nobody in this country still uses bags of reusable quality. So, I’ve made a couple of bags. The garlic bags are smallish, as I usually have about 12 heads of garlic, of two different varieties to store. So, I have 2 bags, sized to fill that need. As a bonus I found some cotton quilting fabric that had a garlic montage on it; negating the need for labeling. :-D These just have the simple drawstring closure.
Bags for seed storage – Very similar to the drawstring bags used for my garlic, these are just a size smaller, and I use them to hold the pound or two of bean seed that I usually have on hand.
Bags for home organization – Whether it’s a toy set, or tool set or set of something else, a bag is awesome to have around to keep it in. Padding can be added if the tools are needing some protection. Sew your padding of choice to the bag rectangles before you sew up the sides. I have made bags for our baby-proofing supplies, bags for Son #1’s toys, bags for bits of kitchen equipment, it really helps keep a handle on clutter.
Bags for projects – Hubby has a bag for his paracord knotting equipment, I have a bag for my hand sewing. They keep things out of sight of little ones. They keep projects-in-progress together with the tools needed to complete them. Pockets can be added to hold specific tools, cut out squares or rectangles of fabric that match the size of the tool in question, and attach them on 3 sides to the rectangles of the larger bag, before sewing the sides of the larger bag.
Bags for Bug Out – Bags can be good for attaching components to your Bug Out setup. If you’ve got an extra water bottle that you want to hang, or pieces to a gun that you don’t want floating around the bottom of your larger bag, making some custom bags can be a great solution. If the bag will hang with weight in it, do take the time to reinforce the seams, and get a sturdy fabric. If you go really really sturdy with the fabric, you might need a stronger needle, like a jeans needle or denim needle.
Insulated Bags – like the padding I mentioned above, sew your insulation material to the rectangles before you sew up the sides. There are iron-on insulation materials available at fabric stores, or you can whip up something with leftover building supplies or whatever you have laying around.
Give it a try! Holler if you’ve got any questions.
– Calamity Jane