Handibags for Christmas

Yesterday I looked at Christmas bags and found that there really aren't many handmade Christmas bags (other than gift bags) out there. Since there is a lot of shopping done around Christmas time this seems to be a bit of an oversight so yesterday I spent some time making some small stuffable handibags to use for Christmas shopping!

I decided to try a tutorial that I've had pinned to try for some time now - for a strawberry bag from ikatbag. It's a great little tutorial and makes for a cute stuffable bag. The tutorial is however just for the stuff pocket in the corner. I used those measurements and followed that tutorial which is nice and clear.
 For the tote itself I cut:
2 main pieces 40 x 38 cm (16 x 15")
2 straps  60 x 10 cm (23.5 x 4")

First I made one using some pretty Japanese fabric I had in my stash.

Then I made another one - but this time with a Christmas theme. I used green fabric and put a Rudolf appliqué on the front. You can download the template for that here.  

I used some scraps of Christmas fabric from my stash for the little pocket and the appliqué - and cord and a toggle from my stash too (I save every bit of cord and plastic fastenings and clips from old bags, backpacks and straps that I can!). For the appliqué I always have fusible webbing in my stash but I recently read of someone just using a plain glue stick to hold the fabric pieces in place before stitching - so that might me a budget friendly alternative if you don't have fusible webbing!

I'm really pleased with how this one turned out!

Next I made another of these bags using my eldest daughter's favourite pillowcase. 

Unfortunately has ripped and been mended one too many times and so is no longer usable as a pillowcase.

BUT - it now has a new lease of life as a handibag!

Finally I made another Christmas Handibag using my own tutorial

This bag doesn't need any cord or plastic toggle as it just stuffs into a pocket with a simple fold over flap to secure it closed.  For this one I used Christmas Fabric I was gifted a couple of years ago and still hadn't used up!

I'm pleased with my new Handibags - particularly the Rudolf Christmas one which is my favourite. Let me show you it just one more time!

I can put them all inside my new Snowman Tote Bag 

and I'm all set for Christmas Shopping!

Why not make some for yourself - avoid those plastic bags when the silly season gets here!

I also have plenty more free bag tutorials 
- just go here to take a look!

Christmas Shopping bags - Christmas Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Christmas involves a lot of shopping, so of course I had to look at bags as part of my Christmas Shouldn't Cost the Earth series.

I was surprised at how few Christmas shopping bags there are out there considering quite how much shopping people do around that time of year.  What a great opportunity to make use of strong, reusable bags and reduce or cut completely your use of those plastic bags given in every shop for every small gift you buy!

Four years ago I made myself a Christmas Handibag to carry in my handbag at that time of year to use for Christmas shopping. 

I use it every year and often think I should make myself another couple as I get good use out of it and always get nice comments on it too! And you just never know when you're out and about how many presents you'll end up buying.

I did find another Christmas bag
 (other than gift bags - I mean bags for daily use and carrying things in).
Made with buttons and felt letters stitched onto a plain tote.

The other Christmas bags I found when searching on-line were mostly gift bags and Santa sacks - you can see some of those on my Christmas Bags Pinterest Board

Since there seems to be a lack of Christmas shopping bags out there. I decided to make myself one that I know I will use lots nearer Christmas!

It's just a simple tote made from a pair of jeans, an old dress for the lining and fabric scraps for the appliqué on the front.

Best of all it cost me nothing to make as I made it from old clothes and fabric scraps.

Now I need to make some more Christmas handibags to put inside this bag for when I go Christmas Shopping.
Come back again to see what I come up with!

And if you've made your own Christmas Shopping bag then do let me know in the comments so I can come and see!

This Christmas series has only just begun. This week I'm looking at bags, and last week I looked at stockings. Each week I'll choose a different theme and round up crafts I find, then share my own eco and budget friendly Christmas crafts!

Water Bottle Carrier with adjustable strap - a tutorial

My daughter has been asking me to make her one of these for a while, so I thought I'd figure it out and then I can make some for the school carnival stall from old clothes!

I used old clothes for this one, but you could use any fabric. For the adjustable strap, I used plastic parts from old bag straps that I've saved over the years. I have quite a collection! 

So for this water bottle carrier I used some old jeans for the outer, plus a pretty jeans pocket, an old sports shirt for the padded lining, and some co-ordinating fabric from my stash for the inside and strap.

Here's how to make your own water bottle carrier.

First cut from each of your outer, middle and inner fabrics, 2 rectangles, 22 x 14 cm (8.5 x 5.5") and one circle of each fabric, 9 cm (3.5") in diameter. Then for the strap you will need one strip
 1m 10 x 10 cm (43 x 4") and a shorter strap 16 x 10 cm (6.5 x 4").
I also had a small jeans pocket and some co-ordinating fabric for decorating the front of the water carrier, plus a D ring and an adjustable strap piece (as shown in the above picture). You can add any kind of decoration you like - a pocket, an applique, a fabric flower, buttons or simply leave it plain.

For the decoration I simple used an applique stitch on my machine to stitch around the co-ordinating fabric.

Then I did the same with the jeans pocket in the centre of that.

The strap
First take the longer strap piece. Fold the short end over, and the two long sides in to the centre like this:

Then fold the whole thing in half so all the raw edges are hidden.

Now stitch around all 4 edges of this strap - folding all the way down the strip and the other short end in the same way so there are no raw edges showing.  Stitch two extra rows of stitching down the inside of the straps for extra strength.

Repeat this with the shorter strap piece. So now you should have this:

Take the shorter strap and loop it through the D ring, then match up the two ends of the strap and lay it on the top of the front rectangle of outer fabric about 5 cm (2") down from the top edge.

Pin and stitch into place by stitching a small rectangle at the base of the strap (where the pin is in the picture).

Now for the longer strap. Thread one end through the adjustable strap piece like this:

Fold the short end back and pin to the longer end. Stitch into place with a rectangle of stitching near the end of the strap.

Then loop the other end of the long strap through the D ring, then back up through the adjustable strap piece as shown in the following picture.

Lay the strap flat and ensure there are no twists before pinning the other end to the other outer rectangle piece as you did with the other piece. Stitch into place with a rectangle of stitching.

Main carrier body
Now you are ready to put your bottle carrier together.
Place the two outer fabric pieces together, right sides facing.

Then add the inner 'padding' pieces - one on either side of this and pin down the long sides.

Stitch along the sides where you have pinned. Then take the two circles of outer and padding fabric. You will now attach these to the bottom end of your carrier - that is the opposite end to where the straps are attached.

Pin then stitch these two circles around the bottom opening.

Turn right sides out.

The lining
Take your final 2 fabric rectangles - your inner fabric. Pin these right sides together along the long edges, but leave a gap on one side. You will need this to turn the carrier right sides out at the end.

Stitch the sides, then as with your outer piece, pin then stitch the circular base to one end of your inner tube.

Putting it all together
Push your outer piece inside your inner piece - so that you have the right sides of the fabrics facing each other. Make sure the strap is pushed inside too.

Line up the top raw edges of the openings of both parts. Pin and stitch all the way around.

Turn your carrier out through the gap in the lining fabric.

Pin then stitch the opening closed.

Push the lining inside the outer part, then top-stitch around the top opening.

And you're done! One water bottle carrier finished!

Pop a water bottle in and off you go!

I made another plain one too.

Now to make lots more different colours and with different decorations on the front for the school carnival stall!

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

To see more Water Bottle Carriers I've now made - go here!

To see what else I made for 
the school carnival stall, go here.

And if you enjoyed this tutorial, there are over 100 more sewing tutorials on my free tutorials pages