The ditty bag


Almost every pair of jeans eventually develops a hole in the knee.  It’s just basic human physiology and the frailty of cotton.

With my children, that usually leaves me only two options. One, mend and patch the hole, which is not easy with small child jeans.  Two, cut off the legs and turn the pants into shorts. If I follow the second option, I have left over pant legs.

I realized these left overs could be easily re-purposed into a small bag for little toys that otherwise get scattered around our home.  In this tutorial, I’ll show you my method for making a small drawstring bag from a left-over pant leg.

Gather your materials.  You’ll need:

  • Pant legs.
  • Bias tape for a drawstring.  I used a remnant from a past project.  You’ll need about a yard, depending on the size pant you are using.
  • A scrap of iron-on interfacing for the button hole.
  • Matching/contrasting thread depending on your taste.
  • A large safety pin.
  • Sewing tools, including your sewing machine, scissors, tape measure, pins, iron/ironing board, disappearing ink pen for sewing, and some patience.
  • Be sure to use a denim specific sewing machine needle.

Step One.  Create your bag bottom.

With wrong sides together, pin the opening closed, and sew a 0.25 inch seam along the cut edge of the pant leg.

It should look like this:

Be sure you are lock-stitching at the beginning and ending of each seam.  This means you go forward a couple stitches, reverse, and then go forward until the end where you will repeat the lock stitch.  This prevents the seam from coming undone.  Turn the pant leg wrong side out, taking care to push out the corners as best you can.  Pin the seam down, again.

Stitch along the edge again, this time with a 0.375 inch seam.  This will create a French seam.  I like these seams because they are strong, and they cover up the raw edge.

Turn the pant leg right side out again.

Step two.  Make a button hole for the drawstring.

To begin making a button hole, you need to first reinforce the fabric where the button hole is to be.  Determine where you’d like your drawstring openings to be.  I chose the middle, between the side seams.   On the wrong side of the fabric, adhere a one inch square of interfacing to where you’d like to make those openings.

Fold down the hem about one inch.  Iron in place.

On the right side of the fabric use the disappearing ink pen to mark where you will sew the button hole openings.

Using the button-hole routine on your sewing machine, sew two buttons holes, about 0.5 inch apart.  Make sure you are only sewing through one layer of fabric.

Carefully cut open the two button holes.

Step three.  Create a casing.  Using the iron mark as a guide, fold the hem down and pin in place, about one inch.

Carefully sew a seam 0.125 inch from the hem edge all around the pant leg.  Due to the thickness of denim, you may need to hand-crank your machine through the side seams. Always lock stitch your seams.

Step four.  Create your drawstring and insert.

To create a drawstring, fold your bias strip in half, and sew the edge closed.  You may fold the edges in for a clean look, or leave them unfinished.  It is purely preference.  Attach a safety pin to one end of your drawstring.

Insert the pin into one of the button holes.  Carefully push the pin through the casing and push it out through the other button hole.  Pull the drawstring until each side is of equal length.

Congratulations!  You’ve created a lovely little bag to keep treasures in.

The possibilities for this project are nearly endless.

This particular bag is now home to our vintage little people toys and furniture.  You could personalize your bag with embroidered labels, or applique.

I hope you find this tutorial useful.  I love it when I can make projects with things I have on-hand.

You’re welcome to visit me at my blog, Pickup Some Creativity.  I share tutorials, recipes, and children’s activities.  I also host an on-going series called Sewing 101.  I have creative guests who share their basic tips for beginning seamstresses.  My hope is that I can help ignite another’s creative spark while sharing my family’s creative adventures.

Guest Blogger: Chris from Pickup Some Creativity

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