OK, so I admit it….the wheels fell off a bit this year. Usually I am way ahead of myself sewing and gathering gifts for Christmas months ahead of December ( I shop here & there through the year as I really dislike going to the malls just before Christmas!).  Yes, a bit irritating to those who find themselves in the shoes I am wearing this year! I was so way behind I did not think I would catch up. However, I went Christmas shopping for easy things like gift cards & wine last weekend and spent the rest of the weekend sewing up a storm in an effort to catch up. I am making pillow cases for some on my list – you know that super quick & easy “burrito” pillow case.  Some call it a roll up or sausage roll pillow case. This video covers it nicely although there are many tutorials & video’s on this topic + we have featured this on a previous blog post.

burrito pillow case

But what to do with the kiddies?  A pillow case is not terribly exciting and, of course, they could not get a bottle of wine! But, I figured they love to draw and colour-in so what about a cute little bag to carry their colouring book, blank paper and crayons when they go in the car or to Nanna’s house? Now I know there are only 7 sewing days left before Christmas but this little project would also make a great kiddie birthday gift (box of 8 crayons costs a mere $1.99 + Colouring book $1.00 + fabric supplies for the bag = a very inexpensive birthday gift for a kiddie but it is special as it can be personalized)….for any time of the year! And, of course, you can always add more to the bag like pencil crayons, chalk, a little activity or blank paper pad for scribbling etc.

A slightly simpler version of this would be to make a little crayon roll-up much like a roll-up for make-up brushes or similar. And there are lots of tutorials on how to make this little project… a search on google & You Tube.

crayon roll up

Here are some step-by-step pics for making a cute little crayon & colouring-in book tote bag:


  • Cut the following fabric supplies approx. 22-24 x 12 inches for the bag (or alter the dimensions to suit what you will be putting into the bag). You will need a piece for the outside of the bag, the lining + a piece of batting.  Either use fusible batting or spray glue to sandwich the fabrics together with batting in the middle.DSCN0082
Showing the 3 layers of the baggie sandwich

Showing the 3 layers of the baggie sandwich




  •                                                                         Cut a contrast piece of fabric for the crayon pocket approx. 9/10 x 7 inches.      IMG_4716
  •                       Fold the crayon pocket fabric right sides together in 1/2 lengthwise and sew a 1/4 inch seam to form a tube of fabric. Turn out to the right side and press. The seam can be anywhere on the one side. It does not need to be along the edge.
  • Fold the raw edges in about 1/2 inch and press towards  the side where the seam is. This is the inside of the pocket.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   IMG_4717
  • Fold the bag sandwich in half with the raw edges to the top. Position the crayon pocket on one side of the bag and pin in place. As you sew around 3 sides of the pocket and each of the little sections for the crayons, this becomes the start of the quilting of the little bag.  The sewing of the sections for each crayon are about 1 inch apart = space for 8 crayons. The height of the pockets was approx. 3.25 inches as you want the crayon to stick out a bit making it easy for little fingers to get the crayons in & out.     IMG_4718
  • IMG_4720IMG_4721If desired, add an applique and/or embroidery such as the child’s name or little message like “I love to colour in” or “colouring in is fun” on the other side of the bag.


  • Quilt the rest of the bag as desired – using free motion quilting or a walking foot. In this sample, we used the Acufeed Flex foot VD on the Janome Horizon MC8200 to quickly do a bunch of straight lines in a matching orange thread.
  • Next is the trimming of the sandwich to square it up and neaten the raw edges.
  • Fold in half right sides together and sew the side seams. We chose one of the Utility stitches that sews and overcasts/neatens the raw edge at the same time.  The stitch we used was Mode 2 #18 on the Janome Horizon MC8200 but this stitch may be found on many of our other Janome sewing machines. See pics below.  We adjusted the stitch width of the stitch to 6.5mm.  IMG_4728IMG_4727


  • Turn the bag out to the right side and bind the top raw edge. We chose to cut a binding strip 2.5 inches wide & pressed this in half wrong sides together to form a double binding. Sew to the INSIDE of the bag using the free arm of the machine to make the task easier.


  • For the join, we folded over the end 1/4 of an inch and pressed. The other end/the start was slipped into the fold of the end part and then we sewed through all the layers. It was plenty neat enough for a little kiddie bag even though we would want to do the proper 45 degree join if this was a quilt!
  • Press binding away from the stitching and flip over to the right side. Pin or use Clover clips to hold in place. Stitch down from the right side, again using the free arm on the machine to simplify the task. Straight stitching with a ditch quilting foot and the needle position moved over a little to the right would work. We chose to use a decorative stitch – in this instance it was the serpentine stitch which did a great job of holding the binding down in a pretty way. (see pic above)
  • Lastly, the bag handles need to be added.  Cut strips of fabric about 3-4 inches wide x 24 -26 inches long (cut in half after assembling the handle to make the 2 needed for the bag). Cut a scrap of batting about 2 inches wide by the same length. Fold one long raw edge over to the wrong side and press a small 1/4 inch turn under (pic 1). Lay the batting on the wrong side of the fabric (pic2) , fold the other long edge (raw edge) over on top of the batting, and then the edge with the fold over on top of that. (pic 3). Don’t worry if the batting folds a little, it just adds more body to the handle. Press with the iron. Pin if you wish but we did not find this necessary.
  • IMG_4722




  • Select the same Serpentine stitch we used for the binding and sew down the middle of the handle with matching thread. (Pic4 ). Cut the strap/handle in half and pin to the bag folding under the raw edges as you pin. Repeat for the other handle on the other side of the bag. Stitch the 4 ends of the handles to the bag with triple straight stitching or zig-zag.




Your little bag is complete…..just pop in the crayons, colouring book and whatever else you can find at the craft or $ store to bring a smile to the little one’s face!


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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