In a follow up to Tuesday’s post about the paper bag trick, I’m going to teach you how to make a re-useable un-paper bag. This is a great tutorial for beginners! It may look complicated, but the shape of the bag comes from folding the fabric, not from complicated sewing.
The paper bag trick helps to streamline your sewing process. It’s a tip that I’ve struggled to use in the past. The reason? I didn’t buy paper bags. In fact, I don’t like to buy disposable things like zip lock baggies or plastic wrap either. If you DO like your disposable goods, there is no judgement here! I just feel like I’m throwing money away when I use them, so I tend to use their re-useable counterparts, or do without. (Also, environmentally friendly…but apparently I sound like a hippy when I mention that sooo…)
Enter the Un-Paper Bag
Even though you could probably reuse a paper bag indefinitely for the paper bag trick, it’s not really worth it (for me anyway) to buy a whole pack of paper bags.
You could also use this un-paper bag for whatever you would normally use a paper bag for. It would make a great (but small) lunch sack. If you’re making it for a purpose other than the paper bag trick, you should use fusible interfacing and make your bag taller.
Quilting cotton or other stiff fabric *Note: If you use very thick fabric here, the difficulty level goes up just a tad. Check out my tips for sewing denim to help with that.
Iron and ironing board (very important)
Fusible interfacing (necessary if you’re using your paper bag for something other than the paper bag trick)
Fabric starch (optional)
Step one: Cut out a rectangle of your fabric 11″ by 19″. To do this precisely you can make a pattern and use it to cut out your rectangle, or you can tear your fabric on the grain line. I like to tear it (it’s fast and easy). Cut a slightly smaller rectangle from the interfacing (you won’t be able to tear this one).
- To tear on the grain line: Cut a small notch in your fabric, and then rip the rest of the way.
Step two: Cut a slightly smaller rectangle from the interfacing (you won’t be able to tear this one).
Step three: Iron on the fusible interfacing. Make sure that you press the sticky or bumpy side onto the fabric when you iron it. If in doubt, place a thin cotton cloth on top when you are ironing.
Step four: Sew the short ends together and finish them (you can use a serger, French seam, zig-zag stitch, or pinking shears). Use a stitch length of 2.5.
Step five: Hem both ends. You could serge them, but I know many beginners don’t own a serger. I hemmed the bottom with a teeny little hem and the top with about a half inch hem.
Step six: Following the picture steps, fold the bottom of the fabric into the bottom of the bag. Press the creases as you sew. If you make a mistake, spray with water and iron out the folds you made.
Step seven: With the bottom pinned together topstitch along all the edges as shown. Use a stitch length of 4.
Step eight: Fold the bag like a paper bag as shown. Press well and use fabric starch if desired.
You’ve finished your un-paper bag!
Now you have a re-useable bag for all your sewing/carrying/lunch preparing needs. And you made it yourself! Look at you!
Be sure to check out the rest of the crafty posts on Made by You Monday!