This weekend I spent a couple of hours making up a couple of trick-or-treat bags for my two youngest daughters. These festive little bags are sized smaller than the average grocery tote bag and should make it easier for younger kids to carry their Halloween candy home–easier for sure than those bulky plastic pumpkins, or a bigger tote that they may be tempted to drag after awhile. After Halloween is over, they can be used for library books, carrying snacks and a water bottle to the park, or whatever else a young, busy person might need a small tote bag for. Read on for the fast and easy project instructions below!
–one yard of printed linen/cotton canvas for the main body and straps (For the bag shown in front above, I used Heidi Kenney’s Trick or treat on white design. The green version used on the bag in back is here.)
–half-yard of coordinating solid color for the lining (I raided my stash for this bit of Kona cotton, so I don’t know which color I used exactly. Something dark gray!)
From the lining fabric, cut two pieces measuring 13-1/2 inches by 11-1/2 inches.
1. With wrong sides together (WST), press down a scant quarter-inch along one long edge of the first strap. Repeat with the other long side of the same strap.
Fold this strap in half WST with the pressed edges lined up. Pin in place (or use some handy-dandy Clover Wonder Clips as shown below). Repeat with the second strap.
2. Edgestitch along the long edges of the straps, removing the pins or clamps as you come to them. If you’re someone who loves symmetry, you can also edgestitch along the other edges to make them matchy-matchy. That’s not my style, though, and I was trying to get this bag done before starting on dinner, so I didn’t bother. Set those finished straps aside.
Making the bag body:
1. Lay the two main body pieces right sides together (RST), making sure that the print is running right side up on both pieces.
2. Using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch around the sides and bottom of the bag. Press both side seams of the bag to one side. Set aside.
Making the bag lining:
1. Lay the two solid lining pieces RST (if your solids have an obvious right and wrong side). Pin or clamp along both sides, but only partially along the bottom. You’re going to leave an unstitched gap of about four inches along the bottom for turning the bag right side out later.
2. Stitch down one side and partway along the bottom of the lining. Anchor your stitches, leave a four-inch gap and then resume stitching along the other side of the bag bottom.
3. Continue stitching up the second side of the lining bag. Press both side seams of the bag to one side.
Creating a boxy bottom for your bag:
1. Let’s start with the lining of the bag. Pull the front and back fabrics of the lining bag out to the sides so that one of the side seams is now in the middle of the bag in front of you. You should see a pointy triangle bit at the top where the side seam comes up in a peak.
4. Align the side seam in front of you so that for a few inches, it’s lying right on top of the bottom seam underneath the bag. Mark a line across and perpendicular to this side seam, about 1-1/2 inches long.
Pin along this line. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second bottom corner of the bag.
6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 above for the main bag. You should now have a main body and a lining that have a matching boxy bottom shape.
1. Turn the lining bag right side out. With RST, insert the lining bag inside the main body bag, poking the boxy corners of the lining bag into the boxy corners of the main bag. Match up the side seams of both bags and pin or clamp those in place.
2. Grab the first strap and turn the short ends up so that the stitched long side is running along the outside of the strap. Be sure at this point that your strap isn’t twisted.
3. Pin or clamp the strap between the main body and the lining bags with the outside edges of the strap positioned 2-1/2 inches from each side seam of the bag and strap loop hanging down from the top edges. I like to leave the short edges of the strap sticking up just a bit from the raw edges of the bag top so that I can be sure I’m catching them in my seam later. The picture below illustrates where the straps should be placed in relation to the seams…
4. Repeat with the second strap on the other side of the bag. Then pin or clamp the entire top edge of the bag with the raw main bag and lining edges lined up, the strap edges poking out just a bit, and the side seams of the main bag and lining aligned.
5. Using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch along the top edge of the bag, removing the pins or clamps as you go and making sure to catch both straps’ short edges in your stitching.
7. Handstitch the lining opening shut. (Or if you’re feeling lazy like I was, you can machine-stitch very close to the opening edges with thread that matches your lining.) Stuff the lining back inside the main bag.
8. Press the top edge of the bag, then edgestitch around that top edge. This will serve to make the bag look a little more finished and will also strengthen the straps a bit in case the neighbors hand out lots of candy.