Thursday 25 August 2016

Selvedge Fabric Drawstring Bag ~ Tutorial

Today I thought I'd show you how I made some selvedge (selvage) fabric and turned it into a little drawstring bag. The selvedges are usually thrown away, so the cost of making this cute little bag is next to nothing, and it's super quick to make.

Turn selvedges (selvages) into a piece of fabric. How to make a selvedge fabric drawstring bag. Tutorial by Threading My Way

I've had a bit of a break from sewing this month. With all of my hobbies, I find that I need to step back every now and then. The other day, I was ready to get back into it, with renewed enthusiasm, but instead of tackling one of the jobs on my To Do list, I thought I'd make something for fun... just because...

I've been saving selvedges for a while now. They're stored in one of the beach huts zippered bags I made last year. It's pretty full as you can see.

Instead of using random colours, I pulled out the red, white and black selvedges. If the project allows, I always try to leave a little of the fabric with the selvedge, at least ¼" - more if possible.

To make your own selvedge fabric (suitable for a drawstring bag) it's easy. Here's how I made mine...
  • Choose selvedges that have at least ¼" of fabric past the selvedge.
  • Cut selvedges to roughly 8" in length.
  • Neaten the raw edge of each selvedge, with a narrow zig zag stitch.
  • Lay the second selvedge on top of the first, overlapping by about ¼".
  • Sew very close to the edge.
  • Sew a second row of stitching about ⅛" from the first.
  • Add the next selvedge and continue as above, until your fabric is the desired size. I made mine roughly 7"
The more fabric you have left attached to the selvedge, the more will show when you join them together. All depends on the look you are after.

You can see there's a curve to the selvedges. It doesn't matter! If making for a more structured bag, I'd use a totally different method, attaching the selvedges to batting or fabric as I was sewing, and this would eliminate the curves. 

Taking your time and making sure the edges are even will also help lessen the curved effect. I didn't use any pins, but you could pin the selvedges together, then baste if you want. This will hold them firmly while you sew...
  • pin
  • baste (hand sew with a long stitch)
  • remove pins
  • stitch seam with machine
  • remove basting

If you ever pin without basting, make sure to remove the pins before the sewing machine needle is anywhere near them, to ensure you DON'T sew over them.

This is what the back of the selvedge fabric will look like. You can see I didn't worry too much about cutting each selvedge to the same length.

  • Trim to desired size - 6¼" x 7" if you use my small lined drawstring bag tutorial.
  • Stitch ⅛" from the trimmed edges, with a small stitch, to prevent the stitches from coming undone.

I made a mistake with the trimming and ended up with a square of 6¼" x 6¼".

To compensate for my trimming mistake, I made the drawstring casing ½" closer to the top, resulting in a slightly smaller ruffle....
Sewing the exterior:
On both long sides measure and mark 1" and 1½" from the top edge. This is the part that's different to the original tutorial.

Turn selvedges (selvages) into a piece of fabric. How to make a selvedge fabric drawstring bag. Tutorial by Threading My Way

Even with the making of the selvedge fabric, this is a quick and easy sew. My little drawstring bag ended up at 5" x 5".

Apart from the fact that I like the look of the bag, it reminds me of past projects...

I'm going to use my latest project as a gift bag this Christmas. My intention at the beginning of the year, was to sew one gift or Christmas item each month of this year. Hmmm... not doing as well as last year..
... and now this little bag.

Fiona, from Celtic Thistle Stitches is helping us to get organised for Christmas, with the Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew link parties. Each month there will be...
  • a link party where everyone can add their Christmas makes
  • guest hosts with a tutorial for a Christmas / holiday-themed gift or home decoration item
  • a giveaway

This month, Ho Ho Ho is over at Wonky Patchwork. Sally has a tutorial for a beautiful Faux Cathedral Windows Christmas Table Runner made from white denim jeans.

One lucky person will win a Hana Bag Kit, courtesy of Katie, from Japan Crafts. If you want to be in the running, all you need to do is link up your Christmas / holiday makes over at Wonky Patchwork. I'll be adding my little selvedge drawstring bag.

My selvedge bag will also be added to the Drawstring Bags link party, here at Threading My Way.

I have heaps and heaps of selvedges left and lots of ideas swimming around in my head as to how I'll use them.

Do you keep your selvedges? Here's a few selvedge fabric projects you may like to check out...

... Pam


  1. What a fun way to use selvage!! Talk about using every last scrap :) :) :)

  2. That is the sweetest little bag!!! I've featured your selvage bag on Craft Gossip here:

  3. Yep, I am a selvage keeper too! I even have a pinterest board for keeping track of ideas to use them. (I added this one!) I need a new earbud bag to travel with, so this one is on my list! Thanks!

  4. Love using selvage this way! I have a growing collection of selvages, and I've been looking for ideas on how to use them :) Great idea!


  5. Such a cute little bag Pam - I love that you save a little of the fabric with the selvedges too!

  6. I never thought of keeping the selvages! That is so cute looking. I love those beach hut bags; I remember when you first blogged them. You are the queen of craft when it comes to bags my friend.

  7. That looks like something fun to do! :)

  8. What a great use for the selvedges that are lurking in my scraps bag Pam, thanks for the inspiration!

    Thanks for linking up to the link parties too :)

  9. I have a lovely (and always slowly growing :D) collection of selvages - this bag would be perfect to make to give to sewy friends ... with notiony and chocolatey goodness inside ;)

  10. I really like the look of this. I also like that you leave a little of the fabric attached to the selvage. I'm now going to start a selvage pile to add to everything else in my sewing room!!

    1. Thanks, Libby. You can fit a lot of selvedges in a small zippered bag, so it won't take up much space in your sewing room.

  11. I love the different fabrics, it creates a whole new look to your bag and a rather designer feel to it, you would never guess it was actually salvaged scraps. A great little upcycle idea.

    Thank you for sharing with me at #Trash2Treasure

  12. That looks so effective! I love that you really have turned Trash into Treasure with this project. I love sewing projects so this is a winner for me.

  13. Geeze, I never did keep the selvedge edge, now can hardly wait to do so!

    1. I used to throw selvedges out, too, Jan. Not any more!

  14. This is so cool! Thank you so much for sharing with us at our To Grandma's house we go link party! Pinned!

  15. That's such a great idea, Pam! I love how selveges look together, and this project is a great way to use them! :) Lisa

  16. This is so cool! I can't keep track of my normal scraps let alone my selvage edges so good stuff! Thanks for joining in with the first Sew-spiration link party! Hope to see you next week.


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