I have been doing a number of blog posts in recent weeks about all the lovely baggies that have been made for charity by our dealers & their customers. Kind, considerate folk from Vancouver Island to Saskatchewan have been sewing for months and I must say that I am simply thrilled by the response and by your warm-heartedness. Deliveries to various charities all over Western Canada are currently under way.  THANK YOU.

A BUNCH MORE BAGS I MADE FOR CHARITY. each of these was packed witht he donated toiletries and have been given to a charity that is working with folk in great need on the downtown east side of Vancouver.

A BUNCH MORE BAGS I MADE FOR CHARITY. Each of these was packed with the donated toiletries. These particular bags have been given to a charity that is working with folk in need on the Downtown East side of Vancouver.

I figured some of you might well be asking this question: Yes, but how can I make those baggies in the pictures?? Here is the HOW TO in 2 parts:

This is a "regular" zipper bag which is super easy to make.

This is a “regular” zipper bag which is super easy to make.

Part 1 today: HOW TO MAKE A “REGULAR” ZIPPER BAG which can be used for a bunch of things: cosmetics; toiletries; jewellery; sewing supplies like scissors, pins etc; candies; toys; medication; loyalty cards & coupons storage in your purse……..little totes for almost anything you want to tote around – make them any size you need!!

Part 2 coming next week on 31st Dec:  HOW TO MAKE A HUMBUG BAG which also has a dozen different uses!

Now before I start, I must say that there are many different ways to make these little bags. I am the first to admit that your way may be nicer or better. But I have made so many of these bags over the years that I tend to fall back onto what I know best – I am almost on auto-pilot when I make these. Feel free to send in your pics & ideas of other ways of doing these bags.

  1. You will need to cut out your fabric & batting. I usually make my bags from scraps so that might determine the finished size. Or I join pieces together to make a larger bag. Often it starts with a test stitch out from the embroidery machine which I trim & use on one or both sides of the bag…..use your imagination and what-have-you.  The pic above with the floral fabric was approx 16 inches by 9 inches (it gets folded over so there is no seam along the bottom edge of the bag. OR you could use smaller pieces & sew a seam along the bottom of the bag).  I cut one piece of fabric for the outside of the bag, 1 piece of fusible double sided batting and 1 piece of fabric for the lining of the bag – all 3 the same size. Fuse the layers together. I like double sided fusible batting but use spray glue if you do not have this.  I have often used satin or other shiny polyester fabric scraps for the inside. One of the Saskatchewan customers who made many,many bags for our 2013 Blog Bag challenge, used denim cut from pairs of old denim pants. You could go to a thrift store & buy second hand clothing & cut it up for making these bags as well. It does not have to be the best quilting cotton in your stash!START WITH THIS: outside of bag, batting & lining of bag

START WITH THIS: outside of bag, batting & lining of bag

  1. Next comes the quilting and embellishment. As already mentioned, sometimes I use fabric that has already been embellished with embroidery as a test stitch out or something similar. Or maybe I have stitched rows & rows of machine decorative stitches using our JANOME BORDER GUIDE FOOT; or maybe I am just using some pretty print fabric. Whatever I choose, the bag does need to be quilted. In this case, I chose to do 5 rows of serpentine stitch down the length of the bag “sandwich”. This is stitch #99 on the JANOME MC8900; #8 in the Quilt menu on the JANOME MC 15000, #5 in the Quilt menu on the JANOME MC9900. DSCF5580This is a


    relatively new decorative stitch and is just perfect for this type of decorative quilting. It does the job of holding the layers together, adds a decorative touch and is super quick. I know you would not believe me so I used the stop watch on my cell phone to time myself doing the 5 rows of quilting per bag. It suprized even me….It took a mere 1 minute 50 seconds per bag! That is amazingly fast. I used the narrow ACUFEED FLEX FOOT VD and was sewing on the JANOME MC 8900.  Here is a pic of the completed quilting above. Look carefully as I matched the thread colour to the fabric so it does not stand out real well in the pic.

  2. The next step is to trim the bag: I use my rotary cutter & ruler to ensure it is squared up & neatened on all the edges. This makes the next steps easier & the seams neater. DSCF5586
  3. The zipper comes next. I really like to use a zipper quite a bit longer than the top of my bag. Yes, I know this might seem a little wasteful but it is MUCH easier to insert the zipper and I DO use the part of the zipper that I cut off later anyway so it really is not wasting – this becomes a loop or tag on my humbug bags.  Generally I match the zipper to the colours on my bag: either blending or complimentary. I like both options.  The zipper lays FACE or right side DOWN onto the RIGHT  side of the fabric. I leave the zipper closed and make sure that it sticks out beyond the edge of the fabric. Pin if you wish though I do not. I just line up the edge of the zipper with the edge of the fabric sandwich, select the straight stitch in far left needle position & go for it.             DSCF5589                                                      I continued to use the Acufeed Flex VD foot for all the sewing as it was just perfect for the making of the entire bag. NO zipper foot needed though you can use one if you wish. Sew fairly close to the teeth of the closed zipper but not so close that opening & closing the bag later will be a hassle.
    Sewing the first side of the zipper to the top of the bag.

    Sewing the first side of the zipper to the top of the bag.

    I repeat for the other side of the zipper – sewing it to the other top edge of the bag. I do not open the zipper – I find it easier with it closed.

  4. Now I need to top stitch the zipper seam on the outside of the bag + neaten the raw edges under the zipper inside the bag. I have found that this can be done in ONE step: Open the zipper completely now. If the zipper is longer than the fabric, this makes step #4 a lot easier. If not, it is do-able but you will need to fiddle a little at the end of the zipper. Sew from the outside & fold the zipper seam to the left & under the foot. The teeth of the opened zipper will be to the right of the needle. Select a suitable decorative stitch. You could do a zig-zag but why not choose something a little more interesting like the star; or feather stitch or another serpentine/loopey sort of stitch. Experiment and you will soon find a favourite that sews well & quickly. Don’t get too “fancy” as you will need to remember that you are sewing through multiple layers and so you want a stitch with good coverage to catch & neaten the seam underneath but still feed well with all the layers. DSCF5611

DSCF56135. The side seams are next. I like to use an overcasting stitch which does a straight stitch as well as a zig-zag in one step. This means I don’t have to sew a straight seam & then neaten with a zig-zag or other stitch as a second step.  This stitch looks like this: DSCF5595I like to reduce the stitch width to 6mm as it does not need to be too wide – just enough to cover & neaten the edges of my seam.  I like to use nylon zippers so that I can sew over the teeth of the zipper without breaking my needle. But I am nonetheless cautious so I do slow down my speed as I get near to the zipper. Close the zipper about 2/3 – NOT totally closed or you will sew your bag closed & you won’t be able to turn it to the right side!  Sew both side seams of the bag right from the bottom edge to the edge of the top right over the zipper.

Here is the side seam sewed & ready to trim off the littlepiece of zipper sticking out.

Here is the side seam sewed & ready to trim off the little piece of zipper sticking out.

6. Lastly, I turn the bag out to the right side and gently poke the corners with a chopstick or similar. I try to avoid using the point of a pair of scissors …….for obvious reasons!

a few more simple bags ready to go to a worthy cause.

a few more simple bags ready to go to a worthy cause.

Part 2: How to make  a humbug bag coming up on 31st Dec — sign up by following on the home page of this blog – you will get an email alert when the post is published.

About Liz Thompson

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for over 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to sew, read, knit , crochet, travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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