A beautiful drawstring totebag made of soft cotton with a cascade of ruffles.
You will need:
- Fashion fabric, 45″ wide equal to 3.5 times your bag circumference measurement (W).
- Coordinating thread
This draft is an exercise in proportion. It is based on two measurements:
X = ruffle depth + 1″
W = circumference around the bag + 1″ (or 2 X finished width + ½”)
Ruffle strips – cut 6X self
Bag – cut 1X self
Drawstring casing – cut 1 ½”strip equal to W, cut 1X self
Draw cord – cut 1 ¼” strip equal to 2 x W, cut 1X self
- Take 2 of the ruffle strips and with right sides together (RST), fold each strip in half lengthwise. Pin/baste and sew using ½” seam allowance.
- Turn each piece right side out and press flat. Edge stitch perimeter of each strap.
- On remaining 4 ruffles strips, match up short ends together and join with a narrow French seam to create a “tube” on each strip. Hem top and bottom edges of each tube with a narrow double rolled hem. Then, sew a gathering stitch ½” below the top edge to gather the ruffle.
- On bag piece, hand-baste 4 rows of running stitches according to dimensions shown in illustration. Once completed, fold the bag piece in half lengthwise with RST and match up side seam. Pin/baste and sew seam using ½” seam allowance. Press seam open. Turn bag right side out.
- Beginning at the lowest running stitch, pin gathered ruffle to bag aligning the gathers on top of the running stitch line. Match ruffle seam with bag’s side seam. Distribute gathers evenly around the body of the bag. Turn bag wrong side out and machine stitch through the gathers on the ruffle. Remove running stitches.
- Repeat this step with each tier of ruffles on each subsequent row of running stitches. Each ruffle will overlap the last one.
- On wrong side of bag opening, centre each handle strap on half of the bag width without twisting the strap. Pin and baste upside down to top edge of bag.
- Take the drawcord casing strip and turn under the short ends ½” and press. Edgestitch along the short ends. Then, turn under ½” along one long edge. Press.
- Start at the midpoint between one of the handle loops, pin/baste raw edges together with right side of casing facing wrong side of bag opening. Butt the two short ends together. Sew around top of bag and encase strap ends using a ½” seam allowance. Grade seam.
- Turn bag right side out and fold over casing strip to the outside of the bag along the seam. Press casing flat. Baste casing strip along the face of the bag. Keeping bag straps free, topstitch along bottom and top edges of casing.
- Take drawcord strip and with wrong side together, fold in half lengthwise and press.
- Open fold and fold raw edges to center. Press again.
- Turning in short ends to the inside, refold strip and edgestitch around the perimeter to create a drawcord tie. Thread tie through casing.
- To complete the bag, turn bag wrong side out and flatten from side seam. Match up bottom raw edges and pin/baste. (Do not catch ruffles in seam.) Stitch across bottom. Press seam open.
- At bottom corner, line up side seam on top of bottom seam to create a right angle with the fabric. Stitch across the point as shown. This seam will equal X (or 1/2X on either side of center seam). Repeat on opposite corner. Turn bag right side out.