It’s in the bag.

Dear friends,

I spent the first Monday of my vacation sewing up a quartet of travel bags that I recently spied on one of my favorite craft blogs.

The drawstring bags couldn’t be simpler to make. I spent far more time choosing the fabric at my favorite quilt store than actually sewing the bags.

Here’s a close-up view of the set. I love the fabrics — a medley of blues and pinks with a faint Asian flair.


Each bag is gusseted so it stands neatly when filled.


When I travel, I like using bags like these to hold jewelry, accessories, undergarments, shoes or anything else I wish to contain in my suitcase. I have a couple that were giveaways from higher-end retailers (with logos prominently placed, of course), so it will be nice to have a set that I sewed for myself.

Of course, that will have to come on another day, because the set pictured above is slated for a friend. I have far more desire to sew interesting and new things than I have a need for new things — so it’s been fun sending packages in the mail to surprise recipients.

In case you’re interested in trying your hand at this very simple sewing project, you can find the tutorial here. I give it high marks for clarity. Many tutorials frustrate me because I think the instructions don’t make sense or I wish there were more photos to illustrate the process. But the Purl Bee got this one right.

By the way, if you’re the kind of person who likes to store your veggies in cloth bags rather than plastic, it would be fun to sew some of these up in vegetable-themed fabric. I’ve never tried it, but I know people who swear by cloth bags for keeping produce fresh.

The cloth bags could also serve as an easy gift-wrap solution. I’m thinking a set would make a nice present for a busy woman — who may not need travel bags but would really appreciate keeping them on hand for last-minute gifts of all sizes. Come to think of it, I may just have to sew up a few sets for myself for that purpose. It’s a win-win: I don’t have to mess with wrapping paper and I still get to enjoy giving them away!

With gratitude {for cool craft projects and the luxury of time off},

Joan, who also thinks the bags would make a unique baby shower gift for mothers who like to keep endless categories of toys neatly organized

PS: After writing and photographing this post, I had enough time to make three more sets of bags. The last set featured two-toned bags with top-stitching (because I can never leave well enough alone). I think my modified version turned out super cute.




  1. I adore the fabrics you chose for these (especially that gold/pink stylized fan pattern), and agree they could be a great eco-friendly substitute for gift wrapped packages. I hadn’t heard about storing veggies in cloth bags (rather than plastic) but another totally great earth friendly approach. Who knew sewing could be so environmentally groovy!?!?

    Is it just me or are fabric patterns getting cuter all the time?

  2. love! thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Juanita says:

    Joan, go to a Chico’s and ask to see the bags they use when a customer buys jewelery. That light weight see-through fabric helps me search for what I want without having to open lots of bags. I can keep the pieces separate so they don’t “injure” each other. Love the prints you have selected, particularly the blue one. Makes me wish I had not given my machine away.

  4. Juanita says:


  5. Thanks to you I now know what a gusset it. I have a mass-manufactured bag like the ones you are making. It has a little beading along the lip (intermittent placement) and is lined in a contrasting fabric. Something to consider since you are always upping the ante on yourself.

  6. Love the bags that you have made. Stunning fabrics. Thanks for link. I am heading there now. 🙂

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