When I used to crochet, I laid my yarn skeins on all sorts of surfaces -- including on the ground -- while I crocheted. The skeins picked up all sorts of shmutz from the ground, including copious amounts of cat and dog hair from my helpers. If I was crocheting from a ball of yarn, the ball rolled all over the place as I worked. I apologize to anyone who found any foreign objects in any afghans I made for him or her. Anyway, I fell in love with sewing almost two years ago and haven’t looked back since.
My sister, Erin, however, has been crocheting like a fiend lately and is petrified of the sewing machine I handed down to her. I saw the idea for a yarn bag on Sew.Cook.Laugh.Live (just a photo -- no tutorial unfortunately!), and decided I needed to make Erin one so her poor yarn wouldn’t pick up any hair from her cats or miscellaneous shmutz from the ground while she crocheted. I also made one for her crocheting buddy, Joann. I want to add a grommet feature to the bag, though, so I think it’s time to make Yarn Bag version 2.0 for the other hookers (the hip term for people who crochet) and knitters in my life. First, I had better make another one for Erin so she can have one of the latest and greatest (or something like that).
The bag fits two 7 oz. skeins of yarn (and maybe bigger ones – I just didn’t have any other size on hand to try) or a couple of pretty sizable balls of yarn. With a skein, you need to be pulling from the end that feed from the center, because it won’t work in the bag if you’re trying to pull from the outside of the skein. A ball rolls around very well, though.
Double Skein Yarn Bag
- Main fabric, cut to 17” x 16” (if using directional fabric, 17” side is the height)
- Coordinating fabric, cut to 17” x 16”
- 45” of cording (parachute cord, twill tape, etc.)
- One drawstring stopper
- Two 1/4” grommets (aka "eyelets") and proper installation tools
- Two scraps of fusible interfacing, such as Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight, cut into about 1” or 1.5” squares (not pictured -- oops!)
- Coordinating thread
Optional Materials Needed – for adding an appliqué:
- Lightweight fusible web, such as Pellon 805 Wonder-Under or Therm-o-web HeatNBond Lite
- Small scrap of coordinating fabric
Finished size: approximately 14” x 14”. Seam allowances indicated in instructions.
STEP ONE: Adding the appliqué (skip this step if you want to)
There are bunches of different ways to add an appliqué shape to a project, but here is one method that might possibly horrify a better-trained seamstress. First, print out the shape you want, making sure it is small enough that it will fit on one half of the finished bag. I’m making this bag for my sister, Erin, so I printed out an “e” that was about 3 1/2” tall and 3 1/2” wide.
Lay the fusible web ROUGH SIDE UP over the shape and trace it with permanent marker. Why permanent marker? Because it doesn’t smear! Don’t use pencil or a light-colored marker because you won’t be able to see the outline from the smooth side of the fusible web once you have ironed it to the coordinating fabric scrap.
Cut out a circle around the shape, just slightly larger than the outline.
Iron the fusible web on to the wrong side of the coordinating material scrap.
Cut along the outline of the shape with some sharp little scissors.
Iron it on to either the lower right or lower left corner of the main fabric of the bag, approximately 3” from the bottom and 3” from the edge. (I didn't take a picture of this step.)
**Do not do a lock stitch at the beginning or end of the appliqué stitching.** Using a tight zigzag, sew around the edge of the appliqué. Make the outer edge of the zigzag fall just off the edge of the shape.
When you reach the beginning of the stitching, cut the threads from the machine. Then use a needle to poke the top threads through to the back, and then I tie them all together in a double-knot before clipping them close to the knot.
Voila! It looks better if you don't look at it quite so closely.
STEP TWO: Inserting the grommets
Align your fabric so the height is 17" the width is 16". On the right side of the fabric, draw a dot 4 1/2" from the top and 3 1/2" from the right edge. Make another dot 4 1/2" from the top and 3 1/2" from the left edge. Transfer both marks through to the wrong side as well. Can you see the tiny blue spot I made?
Take the two squares of fusible interfacing and center one over each dot with the gluey side down. Press the interfacing into place.
Install your grommets according to the package directions. Sew4Home has a great tutorial for installing grommets if you want a little more direction in that respect.
Now the front panel of the bag is ready!
Make a small mark three inches down on the right edge of the front panel of the bag.
Pin the main fabric and the coordinating fabric together with wrong sides facing.
Starting at the 3" mark on the right edge sew with a 1/4” seam allowance down one side, across the bottom, and all the way up the other side. (Do not sew the top closed!).
Then – and this is the weird part that will make you question my sanity if you have never made an unlined drawstring bag with this technique – press the 3” unsewn parts over 1/8" with wrong sides facing. Yes, this leaves an unsavory twist in the fabric that just seems plain wrong. Trust me – it’s all going to work out in the end.
Sew down each of these pressed bits from the top down to the funky twisted part (or as close as you can get).
This is how it looks from the front -- horrifying, right?
Now cut off all these straggly strings, or else they will poke through in a few steps.
Trim off the bottom corners and turn the bag wrong side out. Poke the corners out and press everything nice and flat.
Starting on the side with the normal seam, sew with a 1/2" seam allowance down that side, across the bottom, and up the funky side until you get to just above the twisted part. I marked a line here before I sewed it to show you the spot I'm talking about.
When you get to that spot, leave your needle down in the fabric, pivot 90˚ and sew outward until you reach the edge of the bag. Do your lock stitch and finish off.
Here's what it should look like at this point:
STEP FOUR: Making the casing for the drawstring and adding the finishing touchesPress the top edge down (wrong sides together) 1/4" all the way around the bag.
Then press the top edge down again, this time until the edge is just above the horizontal stitching at the end of your last seam (about 1 1/4"). With the bag still turned inside out, stitch close to the edge to form the bottom seam of the casing. If your topstitching looks better when you sew from the front, by all means sew from the front (with the bag turned right side out) so long as you make sure to catch the edge of the bottom of the casing.
Turn the bag right side out and poke the corners out as well as you can. (They won’t be as sharp as they might otherwise be because of the French seams, but no one will notice because they will be too busy admiring your appliqué and the grommets, right?)
Fold the sides of the bag together and mark the middle with a pencil (or chalk, or disappearing ink pen if you’re really fancy) from the very bottom up to the stitching line at the bottom of the drawstring casing.
Sew on this line to create the division between the skeins in the bag.
Make sure you sew UP TO the casing -- not through it!
Using a safety pin, thread the drawstring through the casing.
Put the ends through the drawstring stopper, and then tie them in a knot. I had to swap out the stopper that I had photographed above (the clear one on the right) because it turned out my parachute cord wouldn't fit through it. Luckily, I had the one on the left. For a thinner cord, either kind would work.
And you're done!
Now stuff a couple of skeins in the bag, thread the yarn through the grommets, close the drawstring, and start crocheting! Or knitting! Or whatever you do with yarn! I put a skein in the left side and a ball of yarn on the right side. They both feed out nicely through the grommets.
The only yarn I have on hand is textured yarn that Erin didn't want when I dumped my stash on her a few months ago. She thinks that stuff is a pain in the butt, but I love the afghans I used to make with it.
Here is your new and improved Double Skein Yarn Bag, Erin! (Yarn not included.)
Tutorial for personal use only, please.
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