Happymaking: this handmade drawstring bag

July 16, 2021 @ 2:25 pm | Filed under: , ,

This photo (Rilla, circa 2008) has summed up my mood all week. I’m just…beat. Among other things, I’ve been wrestling with this blog-post-by-email transition and—long story short—you may or may not get this post in your in-box. Who can say, really?

I had a ton of things saved up to talk about here, but instead I think I’ll just post pics of the July accomplishment I’m most excited about: I made this reversible drawstring bag! The pattern (“Modern Japanese Rice Pouch” by the wonderful KZ Stevens) says “Difficulty level: beginner” and yes! This is accurate! If I can pull it off, anyone can.
Photo of a handmade drawstring bag

Photo of a handmade drawstring bag
Photo of a handmade drawstring rice pouch

It only took me 16 months—or 10 hours, depending how you count. I assembled the patchwork pieces of the outer panel in early March, 2020, and then FOR SOME MYSTERIOUS REASON I got distracted and set the project aside. I picked it up again about a year later and embroidered a few embellishments, and then once again I got sidetracked. But about a week ago I felt a powerful need to finish something—preferably something I could hold in my hands. I remembered the drawstring bag and dug it out of my project pile.

To my surprise and delight, I was able to assemble the bag in a few hours’ time—and that included all the time I spent watching Youtube videos to troubleshoot Beanie’s sewing machine. (My own machine, a perfectly wonderful cheap little Brother that I bought in 1995 with my first-ever publishing check, decided a 25-year romance was long enough. Farewell, old friend. It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.)

So anyway, now I’m obsessed and want to sew ALL THE BAGS. I’m thinking this square-bottomed drawstring pouch would be a perfect way to use some of the eleventy-million pieces of embroidery I’ve amassed these past few years. I might even see if I can add a pocket or two.

But first I think I’ll work through this Seam Finishing 101 class at Creativebug. (That’s an affiliate link because I remain as wildly enthusiastic about Creativebug as ever. I’ve taken soooo many drawing, painting, and stitching classes there. The kids have done a bunch, too. In my opinion it remains the best bang-for-your-buck subscription for a crafting family. They have a deal right now where you can buy an annual pass for $50 and get $50 to spend at Joann’s. Or you can do a free trial and sample a bunch of different classes.) Whenever I sew something that more or less works out, I feel sort of dazed and lucky, as if success were entirely a matter of chance instead of, you know, skill. I could stand to make a little headway in the skill department.

Another sewing class that caught my eye is this one on the Physics of Sewing. Color me intrigued!

Meanwhile, I’m rummaging through the archeological dig I call a garage, unearthing fabric purchased by earlier iterations of myself. Thanks for the stash, Lissa of the 1900s.

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6 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Tabatha says:

    Well done!!! That looks like something I would buy. 🙂

  2. Mallory says:

    I’m not seeing the annual pass special- is there a code for it? I’ll use an affiliate link alllll day long for that $50 pass we were going to buy one for the upcoming school year anyway so this is perfect!

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    How strange! No idea how I managed to drop that link. I’ve added it back in, but just in case: this should work. Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Jacqueline Crawford says:

    Oh, it’s fabulous!!!! I definitely want to try to make one. Eli asked me to teach him sewing, so maybe this will be my project as we sew together. About your Brother sewing machine–I bought one in 1994 with the first money I earned after college. While in college, I couldn’t afford a computer, but with camp counselor money, I bought a Brother WP. Oh, how I loved it. I’ll always have a soft spot for Brother. My sewing machine is still working, but I admit to not having used it very much in the past ten plus years. It’s been easier to grab a needle and thread for quick projects.

  5. Sarah R Hutchins says:

    “It only took me 16 months—or 10 hours, depending how you count.”—-Ha Ha Ha–I have so many projects that would fit this description. Isn’t it so incredibly satisfying when you get one done? I always wonder why I wait so long. This is ADORABLE, and I’m already imagining how I could make some Christmas gifts out of this idea. What a great way to use scraps! Hugs to you across the US!

  6. Melanie B. says:

    oh that’s super cute! Takes me back to the Crooked Seams Quilting Bee days. One of these days I’ll have time and space to actually piece that quilt together….