trick or treat bag tutorial

homemade trick or treating bag

Would you like to make a nifty little trick-or-treating tote like this one for your little hobgoblin this Halloween? It's easy! First, you'll need one of these:
And you'll need this here. You can blow up or reduce the image to print it to whatever size meets your project's requirements. For the mirror/inverted image to use with the transfer sheets, please go here.

I did it the hard way since I didn't have either of those on hand and just ironed some lightweight fusible interfacing onto some Kona cotton, then cut it to size (8 1/2 x 11 inches in this case), and ran it through the printer. It kinda smudged a little, so I don't know if I would recommend anyone else do that, but I guess in a pinch, it'll do. In order to make a simple teeny tote like the one I made up there, just follow these instructions here:

1. Once you have transferred the image to your fabric using your preferred method and cut the fabric to size, cut another piece of fabric to the same size so that you now have two pieces. Again, in this instance, both pieces measure 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Also, cut another piece of fabric for the handle. I cut a piece with interfacing on it that is 5 1/2 x 12 inches.

2. Take the piece of fabric with the image on it and place the matching piece of fabric over it, right sides together. Pin to hold in place. Starting at the upper right hand corner, sew around three sides (with a 1/4 inch allowance), leaving the top open. Once you are done sewing, trim your corners on an angle, like so:


3. Once the perimeter of the bag is sewn, now you're going to shape the bag. Stand it up and push the sides at the corner in, like so:

Flatten and mark it with a disappearing ink fabric pen or water soluble pen, like so:

Now sew along those lines, keeping the bag flat as you had it when marking it. (Pin the bag in place to be precise.) The result will be two "flaps" that you push down to the bottom of the bag once you turn it inside out. If you want to be particular about it, you can sew the tips of these two flaps together. Either give it a couple of stitches by hand or a quick two stitches on the machine. I am not being as particular with this model bag.

4. Fold in the top of the bag (about 1/2 - 3/4 inch) and press flat all around, like so:

You can fold it in twice and hide that cut edge if you want to make sure the hem doesn't fray. Now iron it to get a nice crisp top edge:

Once the bag is the height you want and ironed to a crisp perfect edge, pin the edge so that you are ready to sew. I stick the pins in vertically, points towards the edge, so that I can pull them out easily as I am sewing, like so:


5. Sew the handle now. Fold the piece of fabric for the handle in once from one side and then in from the other side, press with the iron for crisp smooth edges, and run it through the machine a couple of times, making sure you stitch both edges and sewing another couple of rows of stitches in the middle to give it some substance:


Once it's sewn, you will trim the edges:

Only you won't leave your rotary cutter lying around open, and you will have the presence of mind to use your ruler with the numbers going the right way, which I clearly didn't. (Because I sew like a maverick! Getting all maverick-y with my tools!) Now place the handle where you want it to go on your bag and pin it in place:


6. Now you're ready to sew the top edge of your bag and attach the handles. Pull off your machine's extension table/accessory box so that the free-arm is open and place your bag on the machine like so:

Leaving about 1/4 inch allowance, sew all around the top of the bag, including the handle ends where they have been pinned. Pull out the pins as you sew so the needle doesn't hit any of them.

And you're done!

bag - done!

If you want to make sure that your bag looks great and that the handle is sturdier and neater than this:

then perhaps you want to sew another row of stitches either around the whole bag or just to reinforce the handles.

Anyway, have fun with this image. Reduce it to make little paper treat bags or enlarge it and put it on a t-shirt or make a sign for your window or door. If you guys have any suggestions or additions to these basic instructions, please let me know. This is my first time writing a how-to like this really (besides a very quick and non-detailed sew-as-you-go softie thing a while back), so there's definitely room for growth, but I hope this works as a basic tutorial. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!