Looking for an easy way to sew multiple favor bags at a time? I’ll show you how to sew tote bag party favors that are super cute and quick to make.
Now that there is a little less than a month left before my son’s birthday, I have started to give more thought to how his birthday party will be. I wasn’t sure what theme to choose for the party because he loves so many movies that would make great party themes (Cars, Wall-E, Despicable Me…). I must admit that I already have ideas for parties for any of those.
In the end, though, I decided to choose Cars for this year’s theme because I had impulsively bought some cute, inexpensive Cars watches for party favors a month or two ago, and know that if the batteries go out, it will cost more for me to replace them than the watches cost in the first place. The nice thing about Cars 2 having come out only a couple of years ago, is that Cars merchandise is readily available again.
Buying Cars merchandise can add up quickly, though, and isn’t nearly as original nor fun as making your own. So, instead of buying some cheap, plastic Cars favor bags, I decided to make my own out of cloth. They actually ended up being cheaper and I think they look a lot nicer. Plus, they should last longer.
Now all I have to do is decide on how I want to decorate them and make some Cars t-shirt transfer decorations for the bags. I haven’t decided whether or not to use my son’s name and references to the party on them or if I want to keep them more neutral so that the kids can use them for more of a variety of uses.
I wanted a design that would be quick and easy to make because I planned on making at least a dozen of them. I had originally thought of making drawstring pouches out of t-shirt sleeves or kids t-shirts, but decided that, even if they are quick to make, pulling that many drawstrings through could take quite awhile, and they might not be as cute as a mini tote.
The problem with making a tote is that sewing the straps on the side of the bag can also take quite awhile. So I decided to sew the straps into the top seam of the bags instead.
To be honest, when I began I had no idea of how they would turn out, but I had an idea and just went with it. I took a long strip of fabric and used my overlock machine to sew down the top edge, adding loops of ribbon wherever I wanted a strap to be. (You could use a regular sewing machine, of course, I just find the overlock machine to be quicker and neater.) Keep in mind when spacing that you need to leave twice the space that you want between the strap and the edge of each bag because you are making several bags at once. You will later be cutting down the center of the space between loops and that cut will end up being the edge of your bag. I hope that makes sense.
After serging down the entire top edge, you will have to move back to a regular sewing machine to sew down the top hem and sew the strap loops upwards into place. I doubled the top over in such a way as to hide the overlock stitches. Whenever I came to a strap, I would pull them upwards and sew them into place using the same seam.
Doing it that way is what makes these bags quick and easy. You make them like you would in an assembly line.
Once you have your straps in place, you can form your bags. The bags are nothing more than a tube of fabric with a seam at the bottom. Then, to be able to make them stand up, you later cut the corners off and sew across the edges as I will show you.
Start by cutting out your individual pieces for your bags by cutting down the center of the spaces between each strap. Since I made everything by instinct without measuring or pinning, I paired up panels with straps that had similar loop length and width.
After pairing up similar panels, you sew them together down the sides and bottom, making sure that wrong sides are out (right sides facing each other.)
Keeping the wrong sides out, flip the bags in such a way that both side seams come together. In the (prototype) bag in the photo, I had only made one side seam, but in the others I ended up sewing along both sides. I liked the more balanced look that the bags had that way. You will notice that you end up with two points at the bottom. To make the bag stand up, you have to cut those points off and sew across the cut (see the black line that I drew in the photos). I used my overlock machine to do it all in one step. Now, repeat on the other side.
Turn your bag right side out and you are finished!! The bag with now have a flat bottom to stand up on, and will look like a mini tote!
I think they are cute yet amazingly quick and simple.
Now, you just need to decorate them. I ironed on a small picture of Lightning McQueen with t-shirt transfer sheets for my son’s Cars Themed Party.
How will you decorate yours?