Some of the fondest memories from my childhood are from great birthday parties that I was lucky enough to attend. I specifically recall the time at the end of the party, just before all the kids were going to leave to go home, waiting in anticipation to see if the parents were going to hand out party favors or “goodie bags” as we called them. I remember thinking the best goodie bags were LOADED to the BRIM with CANDY!
Most parents now-a-days are more health conscious and instead of loading the goodie bags up with candy, they are filled with small toys or functional items like craft supplies. So why not make the bag itself functional and reusable? I am a sucker for homemade gifts because you get to design them yourself and they are more special and unique than something you can buy off the shelf.
Since this years birthday party was going to be at an apple orchard I decided to go with a red buffalo check fabric for the girls goodie bags and a apple green zig-zag fabric for the boys. To make the bags more personalized, I decided to embroider each child’s first initial on the front of the bag. I purchased the fabric and embroidery supplies at Joanne Fabrics. I found this great video tutorial from Brooklyn Bride which inspired me to create these bags.
-Fabric of you choice (I used 2 yards which made 13 bags)
-Ribbon or string for drawstring tie
-A sewing machine
-Thread (coordinating with your fabric, I used plain white thread)
-Cutting mat and ruler
-Rotary cutters or scissors
-Small embroidery hoop
-Iron and ironing board
Decide on the length and width of your bags, taking into consideration what items you are going to place inside the bags. I made sure my bags were long enough to fit a pencil and wide enough to fit a sheet of stickers. I folded my fabric in half and cut (using my rotary cutter and cutting mat) a length of 11 1/2 inches and a width of 5 1/2 inches. My cuts aren’t exactly perfectly straight but that is okay!
Open up the fabric so that it is one long piece and press using your iron, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles. Then with wrong sides of fabric facing up, fold each end of your fabric (width wise) in 1/2 an inch and press flat with iron.
Then fold each side over again 1 inch (I used my clear sewing ruler to measure 1 inch) and press (you are creating two casings for your ribbon).
Sorry for the blurry photo, it was late at night and I was a little out of it. I cannot emphasize enough how important pressing/ironing seams is when sewing, I have tried skipping this step and it makes for uneven sewing and a sloppy finished product.
Now with wrong side of fabric facing up, sew each casing closed. I used about an 1/8 inch seam allowance, sewing close to the edge of the casing so that there is plenty of room for your ribbon to slide through.
After sewing both casings, you are going to move on to embroidering your letters on the fabric. Please do not be intimidated by embroidery, you only need basic sewing skills to do this. It is easier than it looks, trust me, I have no formal training in this and I can do it! Figure out where you want to place the initial on your favor bag and lightly draw the letter on the right side of your fabric using a pencil.
Then place your fabric into the embroidery hoop with the fabric pulled taught in the hoop. You can adjust the tension of the hoop by twisting that doo-hicky on the top.
Thread your embroidery floss onto your needle and get started with outing the letter by inserting your needle from the back of the fabric/hoop to the front of the piece, bringing your needle up through the fabric at the end point of one of the lines.
Then outline the letter, using long stitches and following the lines you drew with the pencil. To finish off, tie your tales together at the back of the fabric to secure them. For the girls bags, I used a little fancier but simple “backstitch” which you can learn by watching this video.
Once you are done with embroidering, it is time to sew your side seams together to form the sides of your bag. Place your fabric down on a table with right sides facing together and wrong sides facing out. Make sure to line up the top of your fabric so all the seams are matching. You can use pins to make sure that your fabric stays lined up when you go to sew the side seams closed.
Sew side seams using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, making sure NOT to SEW along your casings—-they NEED to REMAIN OPEN for your ribbon to go through. DO NOT SEW CASING CLOSED!! So stop stitching when you get to the casing. After sewing the side seams, I used my pinking shears to trim the raw edges and make it a little neater on the inside of the bags.
Turn your bag right sides facing out and press your seams to give your bag a clean, professional finish.
Measure out how much ribbon you are going to need to fill your casing, adding a few inches to the ends for tying a knot.
Insert your ribbon into the first casing and feed it through until you get to the end, then insert it into the second casing and work it through to the end.
Once the ribbon is threaded through both casings, tie the tails/ends of ribbon together with a knot. When you pull on the knot, it will close the opening of your bag.
These bags are actually a lot simpler to make than I thought and I have brainstormed lots of ideas how they could be reused:
-A bag to hold match box cars or small trains
– A reusable snack bag
-A bag to hold barrettes and other hair accessories
– A travel bag for legos
So here is my reusable party favor bag tutorial, hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you have any questions.
Linking up to:
The Shabby Nest-Frugal Friday