Updated: Mar 30
Simple patterns to teach children how to sew.
Here's the mini tote bag with bunny-sized pocket. The instructions are aimed at being child-friendly.
The bunny in my previous blog is hand-stitched, but this bag uses the sewing machine. The pattern starts to get more complicated so the mini stitcher has to cut two of some parts and one of others, and there are guide lines marked on the pattern pieces. There are also options to embellish the bag, because part of the joy of sewing is making something utterly unique.
If you're after more of a maths challenge, there's also a pdf with the drafting instructions written out. Lots of rectangles to draw.
If embellishing with buttons, an adult should check they are securely attached to avoid any choking hazard.
Pattern to be printed at 100% (no scaling)
Mini tote bag
Click here for pdf pattern and instructions
What you will need
· Felt for the main bag, 20cm x 40cm, and matching thread
· Felt for the bag cuffs, 20cm x 6cm
· Felt for the pocket, 12cm x 8cm
· Ribbon for the handles, 50cm
And of course the pattern!
Cutting out the pattern
Print the pattern and cut round the outside of all three pattern pieces.
There are some guidelines drawn onto the pattern. These are to help you work out where to sew the bag handles and where to sew the pocket.
Pin the pattern pieces to your felt and cut round them.
The pattern pieces tell you how many you need to cut. You should have
2 large pieces of felt for the body of the bag, and 2 narrow pieces for the bag cuff. That’s the piece which will go along the top of the bag to make your handles look neat.
Then there will be 1 small piece for the pocket.
You also need to cut your ribbon in half so you have 2 handles, each 25cm long.
Transferring the pattern markings
Next you need to mark the felt with the guide lines on the pattern. This is called “transferring” the markings.
First put a tiny felt tip dot where the bag handles are to go.
Then pin the pocket into place. The easiest way to do this is to cut the pocket out of the paper pattern, line the pattern up with one bag piece and put the felt pocket piece over the gap. Once you’re happy, you can pin it in place and take the paper pattern away.
Sewing on the pocket
Put the bag and pocket under the presser foot of the sewing machine.
Put the presser foot down, and the needle down into the fabric.
Start off by dancing on the spot. So, take 2 or 3 stitches forward, then 2 or 3 back again.
Stitch down the side of the pocket, along the bottom and up the other side.
Finish off by dancing on the spot again.
Tip: dancing on the spot means your line of stitching won't come undone.
By the way...
You can change this bag by adding decorations to the pocket. The best time to do that is before you pin the pocket onto the bag.
Remember not to add anything too close to the edges of the pocket or it will get in the way of the presser foot
Sewing on the handles
Remember the felt tip dots marking the position for the handles? Line your ribbon up with those. The edge of the ribbon should just cover the dot.
Pin the ribbons in place and sew them down
Tip: This doesn't look very neat, but that doesn't matter because the ends of the handles will be hidden under the bag cuff
Sewing on the cuffs
Line the cuffs up with the top of the bag and pin them in place. Then sew them down with one or two lines of stitching.
By the way...
You can change this bag by changing the cuff. It could be wider, or in a different colour, or cut with a zigzag edge along the bottom.
Sewing the bag together
Line up the two parts of the bag on top of each other and pin them at each corner to keep everything in place.
Stitch down the side of the bag, along the bottom and up the other side.
Tip: remember to start and finish your stitching by dancing on the spot!
And you're finished!