IMG_6593Now that fall is upon us, it’s time to talk about HALLOWEEN! I know it’s more than a month away, but when you’re a crafter, and an enthusiastic costumer, you have to start early!!!

Each year the children, my husband and I select a family theme for our costumes, and it takes me a whole month to get things together. Last year we did Mario Brothers characters, the year before it was Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and before that we were farm animals. Before Emilia, when there were only three of us, we dressed up as a family of gnomes… and my personal favorite, a lion, a tiger and a bear — OH MY!

This year however, the children haven’t been able to decide what they want to do. Emilia is debating a pink kitty, a ballerina, about a dozen different princesses and Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6.

Everett has thrown out mime, astronaut and magician. We may not be able to pull off a theme this year… and I’ve accepted it.

Additionally, we’ll be out-of-state for the holiday this year, which means we won’t be home to decorate. SAD FACE.

Since everything is so “up in the air” I’ve decided to start with something practical, simple and not dependent on anyone’s costumes… Trick-or-treat sacks. Normally, the kids use plastic pumpkin buckets, but I can tell you I’m not stuffing those in a suitcase and I also have plenty of cool Halloween fabric in the stash (which I keep telling myself I’m going to use).

Recently, and by that I mean a few months ago, I found this awesome drawstring bag tutorial online. If you’ve searched Pinterest, you know these tutorials are a dime a dozen, but this one IS FAR superior! The reason? It’s made by a quilter who comes at this design from a time-saving and fabric-saving angle. The lining and the exterior are sewn together at the start and everything is nice, neat and enclosed. IT’S AWESOME! This pattern/tutorial makes a small-ish box-bottom bag, which I followed exactly to use up my Lorax fabric. I love how they came out.

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But I’ve also modified it to make this toddler backpack. All I did was add an inch of width to all the pieces and three inches of height to the main exterior and lining pieces. Then I skipped the box bottom and added two fabric loops to the exterior bottom to anchor the straps. So versatile!!!

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Here’s the link for this detailed tutorial (Read it and give it some love. You can also find it on my Pinterest “sewing” board):

http://www.incolororder.com/2011/10/lined-drawstring-bag-tutorial.html

So, for the treat bags, I want to make large-ish sacks without boxing. I figure this will give it a pillowcase feel but with the added awesomeness of pretty lining and a closeable top! Making your own bag out of quality fabrics, even if you can get something for $1 at Target, means you can personalize it and get use out of it for years. So much more fun! Plus, because I added these fabrics to my stash when they were on clearance, these bags only cost me about $2 each to make! Keep in mind you can use fabrics that coordinate with your child’s costume to make things extra-special!

We’re going to work through this pattern in the following steps:

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So first, measurements. (Keep in mind I’m making these for a 3 and 5-year-old) I think this size is plenty big for any child, but, to each their own. 🙂

Main exterior fabric (Cut 2): 14″ x 14.5″ (For directional fabric, it’s helpful to cut a piece 14.5″ x 28″, then cut that in half)

Exterior accent fabric (Cut 2): 14.5″ x 4″ ( You can also do 14.5″ x 8″, then halve)

Lining fabric (Cut 2): 17.5″ x 14.5″ (14.5″ x 35″, then halve)

Once you cut the fabrics, you want to align them, and sew each panel, right sides together, in the below order.

Check out my amateur illustration!

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Just like the original tutorial, we’re going to fold this long runner-like strip of fabric in half and sew all the way around the bottom (main outside fabric side) and up the sides to our drawstring opening. Then we’ll sew from the end of the string opening (a 1″ opening in our accent fabric) up to the top (lining) side, where we leave a 3″ to 4″ opening for turning our bag.

Another amateur illustration:

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Once you turn your bag right side out, you’ll need to sew the hole in your lining’s bottom closed. Then press your bag so that the lining and the outside have a nice crisp meeting point. Pin the top so that your lining and outside are nicely aligned. Now we’ll make the drawstring channel.

With a water soluble pen, mark two lines across your bag’s front and back that indicate where the drawstrings will rest. This should be a 1″ opening if you’re following the original tutorial and these illustrations. Sew along the lines, and be sure to check that the opening’s edges are tucked nicely inside so we don’t see any unfinished edges.

The last step: Add the drawstrings!

You’ll notice I chose parachute cord for the drawstrings on my Lorax bags and the mustache backpack. But, as the original tutorial suggests, you can also use ribbon, twill tape, or make your own fabric straps! For Everett’s bag I used a Halloween theme satin ribbon, and for Emilia, a satin purple cord. I like to pull the strings through with a giant 11.5mm crochet hook, but you can also use the old-fashioned safety pin trick to get them through the channel.

I hope this gave you some ideas! See you next time with Halloween costume fun!