- Four squares of fabric, each measuring 10.5” - I have used a different fabric for the lining for ease of explanation, you can cut all four the same if you wish.
- Clips or pins
- Ribbon or string
- A safety pin
- Complimentary thread
- A sewing machine (it is possible, but not encouraged, to do this by hand)
- A chop stick (or other pointy thing)
- Biro, pencil, fabric pen
- Ruler function on your sewing machine – this will be a button with a U turn or a lever – this knots and stops your stitches from coming unsewn later.
Place two main squares right side up next to one another, if they are directional, make sure they are upright. Place the two lining squares on top RIGHT SIDE FACING DOWN. You should have the ‘pretty sides’ of the fabrics touching each other in the middle.
Clip or pin the top edge. Sew this clipped edge. I line the edge of the fabric up to the edge of the presser foot but you can use whatever seam allowance you like.
Repeat for other pair. Open out (optional: and press/iron).
NOTE – If you wish to do this with a different fabric on the inside to the outside, in this step you should be sewing one main to one lining piece (twice)
Place one piece on top of the other, again, right sides facing. Using a fabric pen, pencil, biro or chalk, draw the following lines (blue). If you are using a separate inner and outer the long line is to be on the ‘inner’ and the two small lines are to be on the outer.
The long line needs to measure 4” and be central (this will be your turning hole). The short lines need to measure 1” and be 0.5” below the join (these will be your ribbon casing). All lines should be 0.5” in from the edge of the fabric.
Sew the whole way around the perimeter EXCEPT where you have drawn. At each start and stop you need to secure your stitches by using the reverse function on your sewing machine – this will be a button with a U turn or a lever – this knots and stops your stitches from coming unsewn later.
When turning a corner sew along the edge until 1cm before the corner, ensure your needle is down, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric 90°, lower the presser foot and continue sewing.
Snip loose threads and clip corners taking extra care not to cut through the lines of stitching. Using the large turning hole, put your hand inside and turn the bag right sides out. Use a chopstick (or other blunt instrument) to poke out all of the corners neatly.
Tuck in the raw edges and pin or clip the turning hole. Using a smaller seam allowance than previously, sew the hole closed. Advanced option: use a ladder stitch and hand sew this to give an invisible seam.
Snip threads. Tuck the inner bag (with the visible seam) inside the outer bag and push out corners. Using your pencil, mark on one side (or both for beginners) the top and bottom of the opening for the ribbon (your chopstick may come in useful once again).
Optional: The next step may be easier if you remove the accessory box on the front of your machine. If you gently pull to the left, it should pop off easily if this is an option with your machine. This will allow you to the free arm option and encase the bottom of the machine in the bag.
Place your bag over the free arm of the machine and line your needle up to one of the lines that you drew (either the top or bottom of the ribbon casing). Sew the perimeter of the bag, as straight as possible. When you get back to the beginning, go over the first few stitches, and then use the reverse function to lock your stitches and secure your seam.
Repeat for the other line drawn. Snip threads.
Take your safety pin, tie ribbon on or pierce a hole in the ribbon to attach (if you do this, take care not to do so too close to the end or it may fray off) and gently pull it through the casing created. If you wish to do so, you can go all the way around, or come out at the opposite side and tie off, and do the second side with a separate piece of ribbon.
Voila! Enjoy your new gift bag!!