Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag

If I were to ever change career, I would love to be a textile designer. Yes, I still want to be a bread baker, pastry chef, yarn shop owner, and food writer (I’m a dreamer), but sewing up something using my own, originally designed fabric sounds pretty darn fantastic.

Just like fashion, my taste in fabric designs changes pretty frequently. I started out with Amy Butler, then moved on to Heather Bailey, Joel Dewberry, and to Liberty (all of which I still love) … and now, I’m really into Eshino, particularly the polka dot design!

Here’s the lunch bag I made over the weekend, using Pink Penguin’s tutorial. I LOVE Ayumi and her well written, fool-proof instructions. She certainly knows how to write up a tutorial that is incredibly easy to follow, even for beginners. In fact, her Reversible Drawstring Bag was the first project I made after I purchased a sewing machine back in 2008.

The bag has a drawstring bag inside so you can carry small things without worrying about spilling over. I used a heavy duty interfacing for it so it came out very sturdy. I am so in love with this bag, I may make many, many more. I’m even thinking it’s great to organize all my extension cords and wires that have become out of control in my storage.

I purchased these fabrics from PurlSoho when I was in New York last summer (not the recent trip … but I did bring home a whole lotta fabrics from that trip too).

On the food front, Kevin and I went out for lunch at Ahoha Food Factory on Saturday, as I was craving macadamia nut pancake like a mad woman!

I finally remembered to save some room for shave ice! My favorite — strawberry with sweet milk. It was crazy hot over the weekend, and this definitely hit the spot for us!

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

Kevin, Raf, Shannon and I got together for a shabu shabu dinner at home, to celebrate Shannon’s birthday. We ate, laughed, and talked the night away, over good food and Shannon’s favorite wine, Beaujolais! It was a blast!

I love that the at-home shabu shabu dinner is quickly becoming one of the rituals for us. It’s so much more economical than eating this Japanese hot pot dish out at a restaurant, which can easily go up to $25 a plate. I also love that we can collapse onto a couch after eating just a little too much!

I sewed up a handmade bag using the lovely Etsuko Furuya’s Eshino collections for the b-day gift. It has an adjustable strap (so it can be used as a messenger bag or a tote), with easy-to-open magnetic snaps inside. I wanted to make something in her favorite color but this was the closest to red I can find in my fabric inventory.

You know you had fun when you see an aftermath like this! Happy birthday, Shannon!

“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 5: Putting it all Together!

You have reached the fifth and the final installment of the “Tween-y Bag” tutorial series.  All the hard work is over … all you have left are a few more minor details until you cross the finish line! Just take a look at the photo above; you’ve made all that already! YAY!  🙂

Here are the previous tutorials for a quick recap:

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 3: Making the Lining
Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings

Okay, time to get to work!  Now that you’ve done all the prep work, you’re ready to sew together two panels – the Front Panel and the Lining – to put the bag together.  Isn’t it great that everything is coming together?  surprised

First, turn the Front Panel you made on Part 2 tutorial over to the wrong side so that the batting side is showing. The Lining that you made on Part 3 Tutorial should be showing the right side, with the pocket side facing out.

Shove the Lining in to the Front Panel. Align the top edges so that two panels fit perfectly together. You might have to put your hand in the bag to straighten the lining inside, to make sure that you have the Lining in perfectly, wrinkle free.

Pin around the top edges to secure the Front Panel and the Lining. As mentioned before, use as many pins as possible. The more you secure the fabrics, easier it will be to sew around them.

Here’s the fun part. After you finish sewing around and removed all the pins, yank out the Lining from inside the Front Panel. Next, from the opening on the bottom of the Lining (remember you kept a small section opened when you made the Lining?), bring the Front Panel and the Adjustable Strap through.

Sew together the opening of the bottom of the Lining, either by hand or by machine. (Hand-stitching will look better, but I usually just machine-sew the straight line at the bottom. I figured no can really see the inside of the Lining. However, if you are making it reversible, make sure to take the time to hand-sew them together as it shows on the outside.)

Take the Lining and put it back into the inside of the Front Panel.

Iron the Front Panel and Lining.

Insert the Drawstrings

This is the final step! You’re almost there!  Now, you’re ready to cast the Drawstrings through the Slots!

Put a safety pin on the end of one of the drawstrings.

Cast the drawstring through both both Drawstring Slots, all the way around the entire bag.

Take two loose ends of the Drawstring and sew them together.  Shuffle the Drawstrings around so that the sewn part will be hidden in the Drawstring Slot.

Repeat for the second Drawstring. For the second one, make sure that you start the insert of the Drawstring from the other opening.

That’s it!  biggrin biggrin biggrin You’ve just sewn your Tween-y Bag!  Congratulations!  I hope you had as much fun making this bag, as I had with creating the tutorial.  One of my favorite parts of this bag is that you can carry it as a drawstring bag, or carry it as a small, shoulder bag.  Because the strap is adjustable, you can change the style up, based on your mood or wardrobe.  The possibility is endless.

If you make this Tween-y Bag using the tutorial, I would love to hear your feedback! Please leave me a comment with your thoughts. If you have a blog and if you happen to feature the bag on it, I would love it if you can send me the link so that I can re-feature it on this blog.

Thank you so much for reading this tutorial, and please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information! 🙂

“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings

Welcome to “Tween-y Bag” Tutorial Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings! Now that you’ve completed the Front Panel and the Lining of the bag, you’re ready to move on to making two different kinds of straps, also known as bias tapes.  As always, please read the introductory post, “Getting Started,” to find out important information before proceeding.

What’s good about making a bias tape is once you learn how to make one, you can make it in any size imaginable. So, let’s make the Bag Strap first.

Making the Bag Strap

For the Bag Strap, cut a fabric that measure 5 inches by 50 inches. I used the dark green fabric again for this.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a fabric long enough to add up to 50 inches. All you have to do is connect smaller pieces together to achieve the desired length.

This is how:

Align and sew two short edges of the same-size fabrics together. When done, flip the fabric with wrong side facing up and iron the seams to open them up. Turn the fabric over and iron the other side. Look, now you have a perfectly connected fabric! Repeat until you achieve 50 inches in length.

To make the Bag Strap (Bias Tape), first fold the fabric in half and iron, to create a visible crease. Next, bring each long end of the fabric to the center (you can use the iron crease to guide you) and iron.

Bring two sides together, meeting in the middle.  Iron the Strap down.  The more you iron, easier it’ll be when you sew both sides together.

Sew down both sides of the Strap. This makes the Strap a lot more durable than if you only had one side sewn together. YAY — you just created the Strap for the bag!

Making the Drawstrings

Now, you’re going to cut two pieces of fabric that measure 2 inches x 29 inches each, to make the Drawstrings.

Repeat the same process of creating Bag Straps to make a Drawstring.  Repeat the entire process again for the second Drawstring.

The Drawstring Slots

Okay, I need to admit that I don’t know the proper name for these pieces, but these are the fabric “tunnels” that you cast the drawstrings through.

Cut two pieces of fabric that measure 3 inches by 10 inches each. First, fold a tiny piece from the edge (about ¼ in) and fold again, tucking in the first folded piece. Sew both sides. This is very similar to the way you make the pocket in Part 3 when you made the pocket in the Lining.

Next, fold the wrong sides together in half, and iron.

Sew the top part (the closed edge) of the Drawstring Slot together. You can keep the bottom unsewn. Repeat the same process for the second piece.

Now, pin the Drawstring Slots on to each top edge of the bag, with right sides facing each other.

Make sure to sew as close to the top edge as possible. It’s pretty much like basting where the purpose is to temporarily sew two fabrics together to keep them in place. This will make it easier when it’s time to sew the Front Panel and Lining together.

The bag should look like this now.

Making the Adjustable Strap

You are now ready to put the Bag Strap into the Slider and Rectangle Ring set to make it adjustable.

First, cut 9 inches from the Bag Strap you made. This will be used to hold the rectangle ring on one side of the bag.

Trying to explain how to loop the strap to the ring is a little difficult; therefore, I’m going to rely on some helpful online tutorial for it. I recommend this online tutorial “Adjustable Strap Tutorial” by homespunthreds.  She keeps it simple and it’s really easy to follow.  If you enter in the keyword, “Adjustable Strap tutorial,”on YouTube, you will find many, other helpful videos.

Pin each end of the Strap to both sides of the bag. Put right sides together on both edges. Just like what you did basted the Drawstring Slots, this step allows you to detect any potential pitfalls, such as twisting the strap or sewing it on the right direction, before you sew the Front Panel and Lining together.

Baste the Strap, sewing as close to the edge as possible.

Look, the bag is coming along beautifully together!

We’re on a home stretch now!  You are now ready to put it all together in the fifth and final installment of the tutorial, “Tween-y Bag” Tutorial Part 5:  Putting it all Together See you there! 🙂

If you want to jump to other tutorial posts, here are the links:

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 3: Making the Lining
Part 5: Putting it all Together

“Tween-y Bag” Tutorial: Part 1: Getting Started

I think I was most awkward during my “tween” years. Tween is an age between 9-12 when you’re not quite a teenager yet but you’re not a little kid anymore. I was too old for The Smurfs and Care Bears but a little too young for boys and those stone-washed Guess jeans that my older sister and her friends were fashionably sporting. I really hated that there was really nothing cute in the mall for girls in this in-between stage when I was growing up in the mid-80s.

When I was thinking about my next sewing project, I thought about those tween girls out there and started thinking about the kind of bag that they would enjoying carry around (or what I would have loved to have at that age) that allows them to celebrate their youth in style. Then, I came up with this pattern … and the “Tween-y Bag” was born.

I first posted about these versatile bags last week, and I loved the pattern that I came up with that I wanted to share it with you.  So, who wants to make a simple, drawstring bag that your tween daughter (or a granddaughter, or a cousin, or a friend’s daughter, etc.) would love to carry around as she plays outside in the summertime? Or wants to sew a simple project that you can finish in one weekend afternoon?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, this tutorial for the Tween-y Bag is for you!  And the great thing about this bag is that, depending on the fabric designs you select, you can make it appropriate for any age (in fact, I use one myself and I’m thirty-@#%%^$@#)!

How This Tutorial Works:


I’ve decided to divide the tutorial into five parts: 1. Getting Started (this post); 2. Making the Front Panel; 3, Making the Lining; 4. Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings; and 5. Putting Everything Together.

Difficulty Level:

I would classify this project as “Intermediate Beginner” (which is how I would characterize my own sewing skills). If you have basic skills, like cutting fabric, operate a sewing machine, and understand the basic sewing terminologies, you’ll have no problem with it.

A Thing to Note:

Please note that I’m completely self-taught and am still pretty novice at sewing. You might see some instruction that may be incorrect. This is how I made the bag so please use other (and perhaps better) techniques to make your version of the bag work better (and please share the knowledge with me)! 🙂

Okay, let’s get started.

Materials: These are the materials that you will need for the bag.

Basic Tools:
• Two fabrics (more information to follow)
• Sewing machine (I only use one stitch so the cheaper machine works perfectly … my machine was about $50 at Target)
• Threads
• Iron and ironing board
• Rotary cutter and rotary mat
• Erasable fabric pen / marker
• Fabric scissors
• Pins and pin cushion
• Large ruler (mine is called Omnigrip)
I selected the Liberty of London fabric called Plum Mirabelle 6011C from the Tana Lawn Classics; and Kona Cotton Spruce. Both fabrics are wonderful and very easy to work with. And the Plum Mirabelle feels like pure silk!

For the Front Panel:
• Two 12 inches x 10 inches pieces (the Liberty of London fabric)
• One 12 inches x 9 inches piece (the Kona fabric)
• One 12 inches x 27 inches piece cotton batting

Lining:
• Two 14 inches x 12 pieces
• One 6 inches x 5 inches piece (for pocket)
• One label, optional (I had mine made at Name Maker … they are great)

Adjustable Strap:
• One 50 inches x 5 inches piece
• One Slider and Rectangle Ring set (I purchased mine from Jennalou06 on Etsy.)

Drawstrings:
• Two 29 inches x 2 inches pieces
• Two 10 inches x 3 inches pieces (for Drawstring Slots)

Next up is Part 2 of the “Tweeny-y Bag” Tutorial: Making the Front Panel!

If you want to jump to other tutorial posts, here are the links:

Part 2: Making the Front Panel
Part 3: Making the Lining
Part 4: Making the Bag Strap and Drawstrings
Part 5: Putting it all Together