Today I want to welcome welcome Wendi Gratz to Whip Up.

Howdy! I’m Wendi and I teach sewing and embroidery to beginners of all ages at Shiny Happy World. I make things that are whimsical, colorful and happy – and you can too!

Cutie Pie Gift Bags
Use these to wrap small gifts, or make up a whole batch of them and use as special party favor bags.

Materials needed for each bag:
– 1 rectangle skin-colored fabric 4 x 7 inches (10 x 18cm)
– 2 rectangles hair-colored fabric 5 1/2 x 7 inches (14 x 18cm) and 9 x 7 inches (23 x 18cm)
– 1 piece of ribbon 24 inches (61cm) long
– embroidery floss for face (I use DMC #3371)
– embroidery floss to match the hair fabric
– Thread

Tools needed:
– sewing machine
– embroidery needle
– pins
– marking tools for transferring embroidery pattern
– pinking shears

Time needed: about 1 hour for each bag
Download embroidery pattern pdf here

1. Transfer the embroidery pattern (how to transfer tute) to the face fabric and stitch. I used 4 strands of floss, backstitch for the face and splitstitch for the hair. You could dramatically reduce the amount of time this project takes by drawing on the face and hair with fabric markers, but I really like to embroider. If you use fabric markers, stabilize the fabric first with some freezer paper – it will make it MUCH easier to draw on.

2. Sew the smaller hair rectangle to the top of the face using 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric. You’ve finished the front of the bag!

3. Fold the ribbon in half and pin it to one of the side seams, three inches down from the top. Pin the larger hair rectangle to the front of the bag, right sides together and with the ribbon sandwiched between the layers. Stitch around the sides and the bottom of the bag using 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave the top open.
4. Box in the corners of the bag. Flatten each side of the bag sideways so that the bottom corner becomes a point with the side seam running up the center. Measure 1 inch from the tip of the side seam and draw a straight line perpendicular to the side seam, making a triangle. Stitch. It should look like this.
6. Turn the bag right side out. Use pinking shears to trim the top edge of the bag. Fill with candy or other small treats and tie closed.

7. Pat yourself on the back and make another – they’re so much fun! Experiment with different faces and hairstyles. It would be fun to make some silly monster faces too. Just remember that part of the face fabric rectangle will wrap under and around the sides of the bag – so use the original pattern as a guide for how big to draw the face and where to position it on the fabric. And please – share your creations at the new Shiny Happy Sewing School group on Flickr. I’d love to see what you make!


Love this bag refashion – a tyvek mail bag turned into a stylish and sturdy tote – how-to at the storque.


I have been making these quick little drawstring bags for years, usually I have a few hanging around ready to pop a book into, a sketch pad and pencils or even some chocolates as special gifts throughout the year. With Christmas coming up I am making a new batch – they are perfect presents on their own – or as I am planning on doing – you could stuff them full of fun goodies.

I have a whole heap of fat quarters left over from previous projects and these bags are the perfect way to use them up. I have used a slightly heavier cotton than normal quilting or sewing cotton (here I have some of the sturdier fabrics from the Rouenneries collection by French General for Moda), I think linen/cotton combo would be perfect, or you could also use nice vintage linen tea-towels with interesting fun patterns for a retro twist, or you could pick up some canvas from a supply store or as in the variation pictured below – you could use the good bits from old jeans legs to whip up a few refashioned drawstring bags.

This simple bag uses cotton tape to thread your drawstring through, a very easy sewing project for beginners too. This bag does use a french seam – its not hard – it just add an extra step (2 mins) to your time and it makes the bag stronger and gives lovely neat fray-free seams inside (see image below).

You will need to make 2 of these bags:
1 fat quarter (18×22 inches / 45x55cm piece)
1 inch wide cotton tape (28 inches / 75cm)
drawstring cord or 1/4 inch cotton tape (80 inches / 2 metres)
Sewing machine and coordinating sewing thread
Skewer or elastic threader

Step 1: Cut your fat quarter down the centre lengthways to give you 2 long halves. Fold this long piece in half to give you the shape of the bag – the folded edge will form the base of the bag. Sew the 2 sides Wrong sides together – using a narrow 1/8inch seam. This is the first step in your french seam. Fold down the corners seams and poke them through and then turn your bag inside out and press the seams.

Step 2. Now sew down the seam line again – this time with a wider stitch – here I have used almost a 1/2 inch seam but a 1/4 inch should be plenty – the fabric will be Right sides together and the raw edges of the seam will be hidden inside.

Step 3. Because its a french seam you don’t want to be clipping your corners – so to make a neat corner – fold the corner seam and poke it into the bag and then turn the bag Right side out. Press your seams again.

Step 4. Hem the top edge by folding it twice to tuck in the raw edge and here I used a zigzag stitch.

Step 5. Cut your cotton tape into 4 even lengths (you will 2 of these per bag) – mine end up being about 7 inches / 18cm – fold over and zigzag the raw edges. Then sew them – with the raw edges underneath, onto your bag. I have positioned mine to be just underneath the zigzag hemmed stitch – but you can put them lower or higher as you like. Then stitch a straight edge along both sides of the tape – leaving the edges open.

Step 6. Cut your drawstring cord into 4 even lengths (you will use 2 per bag) – mine are approx. 20 inches / 50cm each. I don’t have an elastic threader so instead I use a skewer which I tape the end of the drawcord onto and then thread through the sewn on cotton tape. You will need to thread each piece all the way through both sides and then tie a knot. You will need to thread them through opposite ways – so they end at each side of the bag with a tied knot.

Ta da – you have finished – now you can fill with books, art supplies, or craft packs and give to friends and family.


I don’t know about you – but I like to swap my bags around quite often. A bag for evening, a different one for work, one for trecking around town with the kids and another for special occasions. Then there is the summer bag, winter bag, shopping bag and new season bag and of course the extras made to test out some new fabric or new pattern. So if you hadn’t already figured it out – I do like a bag (or two). I have some special favourite patterns and others that i think would be pretty cool – here is my to-do bag making list … enjoy – what about you?

Cosmetics bag
lunch bag
zipper purse
origami drawstring bag
tea-towel drawstring bag
simple drawstring bag
buttercup bag
secret bag
phoebe bag
bend the rules lunch bag
glam bag
patchwork cube bag
spring floral bag
recycled field bag
grab bag
easy drawstring bag
bread bag
Japanese handbag
cargo messenger bag

felted sweater bag
shoulder bag
bamboo handle bag
world domination bag
ruffle bag
toddler satchel
provence summer string bag
strawberry foldaway bag
simple reversible bag
market tote
ruffled messenger bag
lovely linen bag
mason dixon string bag
french seam drawstring bag
everything bag
laptop bag
skirty bag
grocery bag

Parasol ruffle tote
pillowcase shopping tote
quick fix grocery bag
fold up shopping bag
crochet stash bag
crochet yoga bag
beach bag
shoulder bag with piped trim
post office bag
mimy bag
mesh beach bag
slouchy book bag
crochet jute bag
sweatshirt tote
book bag
shirt bag
shopping bag


what a super cute bag – you can make one too – yes indeed – the instructions are right here!

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