The idea for this project came to me while going through baby stuff in preparation for Baby Number 3’s arrival. I found the great big diaper bag I hauled around with my first two babies, and I realized something. Most of the time, a great big diaper bag is not really all that necessary – and it’s not all that convenient to carry around either.
With my first baby, I packed the diaper bag with everything anyone might possibly need for a baby. Diapers and wipes, of course, and about 50 changes of clothes, ointments, oils, lotions, nail clippers, separate special wipes for the nose (because apparently regular wipes are not sufficient for that purpose), saline drops, a few blankets, and lots of toys. With my second baby, I lightened up a bit, but still carried the big bag around most of the time.
Of course, it takes me until Baby Number 3 to realize this. Sure, if you’ll be away from the house for half the day, you’ll need lots of provisions and a big bag is a must. But for most outings with baby in tow, you’re gone for an hour or two. All you really need is a couple diapers, a wet bag (if you cloth diaper), some wipes, a change of clothes or two, and a small blanket. Which means you can leave the gigantic bag at home and opt for something a bit easier to carry around.
So I was looking around for something that would fit that need well, and I found a small drawstring backpack that my husband got from his work. I thought that would be perfect! But it’s a pretty tiny bag. It actually fits my 2 year old. But the concept is perfect for what I need, so I decided to make myself a bigger version.
Related: Super Simple Envelope Pillow Cover
Super Simple Drawstring Bag
I happened to have a half yard of fabric that I ordered on a whim and never used. The fabric is Amy Butler Love Bliss Bouquet in Teal. It was a 44″ wide piece and happened to be the perfect size. The only other thing you’ll need is some cord. I just picked up some white paracord. I got a 16 foot length and used about 2/3 of it.
After washing, drying, and ironing the fabric, I trimmed the edges just to clean them up. You don’t have to do this with pinking shears. I just did because I couldn’t find my regular scissors!
Now for the instructions. First, cut about a 1″ piece off one of the short ends and fold the two long sides into the middle, and then fold in half.
(Sidenote, if you’re wondering why all these detail photos are watermarked littlebitsofgranola.com, it’s because that was my old website before I rebranded and started Pockets Full of Wonder and I was too lazy to re-edit and re-watermark this many photos. 😉 )
Pin the piece and stitch along the open side.
Set that piece aside for now. You’ll use it later.
Fold the long sides of the large piece of fabric about a half inch, then again another half inch. Pin in place (DON’T STITCH THIS PART YET). Be sure you do this on both of the long sides.
Fold one of the short sides in about an inch.
Clip the corner at an angle, then fold over again. Doing this will keep the corner clean. Now pin and stitch the short edge close to the inside fold. This will become the sleeve where the cord will go through, so be sure the opening is large enough for two pieces of cord to fit through loosely. Repeat this on the other short side.
Now fold the whole thing in half with the two short sides together.
I use a Singer Fashion Mate sewing machine, which happens to be on sale 50% off right now!*
Ok, now you are going to use that little strip you made at the beginning. Cut about 2″ off. Fold that 2″ piece in half to make a small loop and tuck it into the folded edge of the bag. Be sure the loop is on the inside and the loose ends are sticking out and that it is nice and snug right in the fold. Pin it in place. Repeat on the other side with another loop.
Stitch the long sides closed, stopping right at the seam at the short sides.
Now turn the bag right-side out. You will have a rectangle. Mine looks like it tapers because it isn’t ironed flat yet, but it is a rectangle.
To determine the right length of cord you need, just lay the cord out in an L-shape along two sides of the bag. Double that up for your first length of cord. Cut two that same length.
Pull the cord through the sleeves at the top of the bag in opposite directions. I used a large safety pin on the end of the cord to push it through the sleeve. When you are done, you’ll have two ends of cord coming out each side of the top of the bag.
On one side, thread a loose end of cord through the loop at the bottom of the bag. Tie the two loose ends together. Below is the knot I used. I don’t know what this type of knot is called, but it is strong and holds together really well. If the paracord is fraying, just use a lighter to gently and carefully melt the ends. Repeat on the other side.
And there you go! It took me about an hour to make this one, and that was including taking pictures. It’s so easy, I am overflowing with ideas for other uses for bags like this! I’m thinking I’ll probably make one for each of the girls, maybe to put in their Easter baskets. Also, I think I’m going to make several to use as gift bags for Christmas gifts for the kids! Any other ideas for uses of a bag like this?
Any questions? Just comment below! 🙂
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*Accurate at time of publish. We are not responsible for changes in prices.