Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pants Bag Tutorial :)

Thank you for joining me today. I have been asked by a couple of my followers how I make my Pants Bags so I have written this tutorial today. It's my first time ... so please be gentle with the comments!
Firstly - why do I call them 'Pants Bags'? They are drawstring bags for holding pants, socks, etc when you go on holiday - I  don't know about you but I like to keep my pants packed - I don't like to 'put my drawers in other people's drawers!' When I first started sewing, I didn't know what else to call them and 'Pants Bags' stuck - now all my friends and family only call them Pants Bags. The youngest recipient was aged 1 and the oldest is 89 :)
They can vary in size - mine are usually 14" x 14" but, for the purposes of today's tutorial, I have made a mini Pants Bag (starting with 9" pieces, finishing size - about 8"), ideal for gifting with Christmas goodies in. Here we go.
Pants Bag Tutorial
1) For your outer bag: 2 x 9" x 9" pieces - these can be co-ordinating, the same, patched - whatever you choose! 
2) For your lining: 2 x 9" x 9" matching pieces
3) For your cord / ribbon casing: 2 x 3 1/2" x 9" pieces - again, co-ordinated or matching
4) Ribbon or craft cord - if using cord, you can make the casing narrower than 3 1/2" - length of ribbon / cord to suit your taste
I use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout.
Step 1
Make your outer bag. Take your two 9" pieces and sew them together on 3 sides, remembering to back stitch at the start and finish:

Step 2
Make your lining bag. Take your two 9" pieces and sew together on 3 sides, remembering to back stitch at the start and finish BUT this time you need to leave a 4" gap open along the bottom edge:
Press to set seams, turn right side around and press that gap in the seam so you have a nice straight line:
Step 3
Take your casing pieces to the iron, you need to fold over the shorter edges twice then fold in half and press. Put it on the top of the outer bag to measure - you want to have about a half inch gap on either side, if it's too big, you can always  fold over a bit more or trim:

Pin in place on both sides of the outer bag, making sure they match up and check that you haven't pinned the front to the back:

Take to sewing machine, remove any machine part you have around the needle(bobbin case?) so that you can fit the opening of the bag around the machine:

Stitch a 1/4" seam all the way around the casing remembering to back stitch at start and finish:

Step 4
Turn the outer bag inside out. Tuck the casing into the bag. (Sometimes I do 'double casing' but for these gift bags, this is a simpler method.) Take the lining bag and place it inside the outer bag. Right sides should now be facing each other:

Pin at the sides to match up the side seams and pin elsewhere, if you want:

So, with your outer bag and lining bag pinned together, and the casing tucked between the two, take to the sewing machine and sew all around the opening, just a bit to the left of your last 1/4" seam:

Step 5
Pull your lining bag out of the outer bag:

Then, put your hand through the gap in the lining bag and gently pull through the outer bag:

Step 6:

Once you have pulled it through so that both right sides are out, take it back to the sewing machine and sew that lining gap closed. You can slip stitch this but to my thinking, this is the bottom of the bag, it will have 'stuff' on top of it and if you match the colour of the thread and sew a nice straight line close to the edge of the bag, it really does look fine: 

Step 7:
Pop the lining bag inside the outer bag and you are nearly done! For the ribbon or cord, you decide how short / long you want it to be. I measure afterwards like this. You will need to cut two lengths the same size:

Attach a safety pin to one end and thread it through both sides of the casing. Then starting from the opposite side, take your second piece of ribbon and thread again through both sides of the casing:
You will have damaged / frayed ends so I burn all 4 ends slightly with a lighter to seal (young sewing munchkins, please ask Mum or Dad to help you here!):
Tie the ends in a knot and that's it!

Step 8:

VOILA! You have made a Pants Bag! Stand back and admire your work. Fill with goodies (or pants!) and hand it over.

This one took me an hour to make yesterday but then I have made lots in the last few years and let me assure you it gets quicker, the more you do!
It's a great way of using up scraps, practising designs, I have paper-pieced and even quilted some of mine and no two Pants Bags are the same ... ever! 
I know there are lots of tutorials out there (I've looked at a few myself!) and there are many different ways of making drawstring bags ... you might find theirs are much better than mine. Feel free to share this tutorial and if you do make one or want to add photos of a Pants Bag I have given you, I'd love to see them, so have set up a flickr page for you to visit.


  1. Thanks for the great tutorial! There are a few pants bags on my list for some family members this year. I think you're a trend setter! :-)

  2. Great tutorial - thanks so much! I am hoping to get some of these made for Christmas gifts. I have made something similar, but would like to give yours a try. :)

  3. Great tutorial - thank you :-) I will definitely have to make one of these

  4. Thanks Glinda!
    Your bag is so cute!
    I have saved your tutorial.
    I´ll try to find some time to sew some!

  5. On my to do list. Your tutorial is great.

  6. You are just too lovely writing a tutorial! These will be popping up everywhere. Nice to feel you will be responsible for the welfare of the nation's pants :-)

  7. Perfect - thanks for sharing your tutorial. I'm going to give this a whirl tonight so we'll see. :)

  8. Just made my first pants bag. Great tutorial and your instructions are very easy to follow. Thanks, Jen. I will post about it this week. Maybe two....

  9. Hi, Jennifer, it was so much fun to see Carla's Support Hop Creations with your "pants bag" pattern. A perfect idea. Thanks for sharing ... :) Pat

  10. These look really nice. I make a lot of jewelry gifts and I hate having to buy the little bags for them these would be perfect. You wouldn't by any chance have a PDF of the tutorial?


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