Rachel Measham-Pywell from Four Wise Monkeys designed these Book Buddies; the project incorporates easy appliqué on large drawstring bags. We think the bags would be perfect for any number of occasions, from trips to the library to containing sleepover essentials… They could lend a little organization during long car rides or hold party favors– What will you do with these fun designs?! You might remember Rachel’s Let’s Go! Backpack Pattern & Tutorial from last year’s Back to School series (it’s the perfect accompaniment to a Book Buddy bag!). Learn more about Rachel in her introduction, and check out Four Wise Monkeys for Rachel’s sewing and knitting adventures.

Book Buddies and quick and simple drawstring bags for kids on the go. Choose a panda or a rocket applique motif or feature your favorite fabric.

*A quarter inch seam allowance has been used unless otherwise stated. Iron all your fabric before starting.

What you need:

  • 14 inches of fabric for Bag Front (You will need more if you choose a directional print.)
  • 14 inches of fabric for Bag Lining
  • 36 inches of ribbon or binding to make a drawstring
  • Small amount of Visofix or Heat and Bond, and scraps of fabric/wool felt and thread for the appliqué
  • PDF appliqué template
  • Buttons for eyes and decoration

Getting started:
From the bag front and bag lining fabrics cut:

  • 1 x 13½”x 29” rectangle – bag front
  • 1 x 13½”x 29” rectangle – bag lining

Print out your PDF appliqué template.

Onto Visofix (or Heat and Bond), trace the appliqué pieces leaving a gap between each shape for cutting out. Following the manufacturer’s directions, fuse the Visofix (or Heat and Bond) to the wrong side of the fabric scraps. Cut around the shapes.

Step 1: Adding the Appliqué Shapes
Fold the bag front in half length ways. Using the photo as a guide, arrange the appliqué pieces on the background fabric making sure to overlap the pieces. Iron the appliqués into place using a warm dry iron.

Applique the shapes using your favorite method. I used two strands of matching DMC thread and the button-hole stitch technique on the rocket and a machine appliqué for the panda.

For the Panda: Sew two black buttons for eyes. Use the picture as a guide and trace or draw the panda’s mouth using a fine pencil or fade-away pen. Using three strands of black DMC thread, embroider the mouth using back stitch or stem stitch.

For the Rocket: Sew small buttons across the center band for decoration.

Step 2: Bag Construction
With right sides together, fold the bag front in half length ways. Along one side edge mark a point 1” down, and again at 1½ down leaving a half inch gap between your pins. This is the opening of the casing for your drawstring.

Sew along the two sides and bottom of the bag leaving a gap between the pins and the top open.

Clip corners and turn. Use a pointy ended chop stick or paintbrush to gently ease the corners out. Press.

Step 3: Lining
Construct the bag lining by sewing along both sides and the bottom of the bag, leaving a 3” gap in one side for turning. Press.

Place the bag inside the bag lining with the right sides facing and the top edges and seams aligned. Stitch around the top of the bag. Turn the bag right way out though the gap in the lining. Push the lining into the bag and press.

Step 4: Casing

With the front of your bag facing, mark a horizontal line ¾” down from the bag top. Mark another horizontal line 1¼ down from the bag top. The unsewn gap left in the side of the bag should be in the center of your lines, leaving a small opening. Sew all the way around the bag on both of the marked lines. This will form the casing.

Using a safety pin, thread your drawstring through the casing. Tie the ends together in a firm knot.

Give your bag a good press and slip stitch the opening in the lining closed. You’re ready for your next trip to the library– Just grab your Book Buddy and go!