How to Make a Hand Printed Boxy Bag

Sew your way to personalised designs for every aspect of your life. Choose your favourite fabrics and transform them into unique accessories, such as cute box bags like these by sewing expert Debbie von Grabler-Crozier. Follow the tutorial below to find out how to make your very own.

You Will Need

Natural Fat Quarters » or linen/cotton blend fabric » for the outer (For the printing to work with this method, the fabric must be a natural or natural blend – no polyester)

Fat Quarters » in a pattern of choice for the lining

Fusible Wadding »

Foam Interfacing »

41cm coordinating zip » (or 30cm coordinating zip » for smaller bag)

Stamp » of your choice (This is simple a ‘normal’ paper craft stamp. But do make sure that there is minimal fussy detail because fabric does behave differently to paper. Experiment on a spare piece of fabric to see what happens.)

Black Ink »

Twine » 

Download Bag Templates

Craft Essentials How to Make

NB: seam allowances are all ½ cm (1/4”) unless otherwise stated. Please read all instructions through and assemble the equipment before beginning.

Top tip! There are two sizes and shapes of bag but they are both made exactly the same way. Any differences will be in brackets.

1. Press the natural fabric to remove any bumps and creases which may get in the way and put it onto a flat surface.

2. Ink the stamp that you have chosen and stamp onto the fabric. Re-ink and repeat until you have covered the fabric completely.

Top tip! Fabric does behave in a different way to paper- it is more absorbent to begin with so you need to make sure that the stamp is well inked. Have a practice on a spare piece of fabric or in a remote corner to see how it feels.

There are a few things to remember when printing-

  • Re-ink after each stamping
  • Be prepared to accept some ‘variations’ in the printing
  • Try not to drop the stamp on the fabric!
  • Embrace some mistakes and either ignore them or cover them – this is an organic process
  • Go slow and concentrate

3. Press again to set the ink and fuse the fusible wadding to the back of the outer fabric.

Top tip! It is better to do this before cutting it out.

4. Use the template to cut two pieces each of interfaced outer and two pieces of lining.

5. Lay the outer pieces onto a slightly larger piece of interfacing and attach all around with a very narrow basting seam. Trim so that all layers match the outer.

6. Take your zipper and make a ‘sandwich’ with one piece of lining and one interfaced linen panel. The right sides should be together with the zip in the middle.

7. With the three layers together, sew along the zip starting and stopping 2cm from each end.

Top tip! This is a vitally important step which will become apparent when you do the lining in the final steps. The pins show the 2cm mark.

8. Flip the layers open and topstitch along the zip, again stopping and starting 2cm in from either end.

9. Repeat for the other side. The zip is a bit long but don’t worry about it, it will be trimmed in the next steps.

10. Find the base seams of the outer and sew both right sides together with no gaps. Now do the same on the lining but this time, leave a turning gap.

11. Working from the wrong side, align the zip so that it is perfectly matched with the outer base seam, pull the lining up out of the way (this is why you did not stitch or topstitch right to the end) and sew across.

Top tip! Your zip will be a bit long so (after making sure that the zipper pull is somewhere in the middle of the bag) trim the excess off both ends.

12. Repeat for the other end and then turn over and do the same for the lining, clipping the outer out of the way.

13. Pinch the square corners across now and box the corners.

Top tip! Have the zip open at this point! If you don’t, you will not be able to turn the bag out the right way.

14. Turn the bag out through the gap in the lining and close the gap. Gently poke the corners out so that they are nice and sharp.

15. Thread the baker’s twine through the zipper pull and tie it off securely.

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