Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nap Time Library Bag Tutorial- Guest post

The following post was submitted by Shannon with Sweet Panda Boutique.

Hello readers! My name is Shannon, WAHM behind Sweet Panda Boutique (Sweet Panda Boutique ). I'm delighted to be guest blogging for my new friends, Miranda and Kelsey.

My daughter and I went to story time at the local library last week, and saw some kiddos with super cute library totes! What a great idea. Totes give preschoolers ownership over their responsibility to take care of and return their borrowed books. When the books live in the tote, it's easy to keep them separate from a home library as well. Of course, it's also an excuse to use some cute fabric, or up-cycle an item that isn't getting much love. This tote came from curtains that no longer match my daughters décor.

I named this tote “Nap Time Library Bag”, because it can be reasonably sewn in under an hour (unless you rip a lot of seams like I do during experiments). A beginning sewer can make this bag, so give it a shot! Bear with me, it's my first tutorial and original design.

The Nap Time Library Bag

  • 1/3 yard of an inner fabric (woven cottons work nicely)
  • 1/3 yard of an outer fabric
  • Coordinating thread
  • Double Fold Bias tape for outer pocket (optional) Length = 1 width of your chosen bag size.
  • Fusible interfacing (1/3 yard, optional) (I used interfacing to make the bag a bit more stiff, but your bag will work fine without it. My bag has a front pocket, and you can choose to omit or include that as well.)
Step 1: Wash, dry, and iron your fabric. This is always good to do, as finished items wont shrink when washed, and you'll get rid of the nasty chemicals from fabric production.

Step 2: Cut your fabric. You may choose sizing based upon your needs. I wanted my toddler to be able to handle the bag, so it is small. You can modify and make the straps longer if you choose as well.

Cut 2 for outer, 10 x 12

2 for inner, 10 x 12

2 strips for straps, 3 x 12
Cut 2 pieces of interfacing, 9.5 x 11.5
If including the pocket:
1 length Bias tape, 10 inches
1 pocket outer piece, 10 x 7
1 pocket inner piece, 10 x 7
Fuse the interfacing to the outer fabric pieces per manufacturers instructions. Leaving 1/4” of fabric on each edge

Step 3: Sew the straps. Fold the strips lengthwise and iron. Using a 1/4” seam allowance, sew up the raw edge, end to end. Don't forget to backstitch when you start and stop. Turn inside out, and iron again. Now topstitch 1/4” from both sides, creating a finished strap. Repeat for 2nd strap and set aside.

Step 4: Prepare the pocket (if you aren't using a pocket, go to step 5). Place your inner and outer pocket pieces together, right sides out. Choose a 10” edge and slide bias tape over it. If you look at the tap, on side will be slightly shorter than the other. Put the shorter side in front, where you'll be stitching. Pin in place. Straight stitch near the fold on the bias tape, catching the other side as you stitch. This finishes the top seam of your pocket.

Step 5: Sew your outer shell. If using a pocket, pin the pocket piece to the bottom of your front fabric piece. Make sure the pocket raw edges line up with the outer raw edges. Your finished edge will cross the center of the piece. Pin the back outer piece to the front piece, right sides together. Start sewing from the top left corner to the bottom left corner, using a 1/4” seam allowance. Put your needle down 1/4” from the end, lift the presser foot and turn fabric 90 degrees. Continue sewing across the bottom, turn at corner, and finish at the top right corner. Be sure to leave the top open. Clip the bottom corners. Finish with zig zag stitch or serger.

Step 6: Repeat step 5 for the inner lining pieces.

Step 7: Using 1/8” seam allowance, stitch the straps to the inner lining. Take one strap piece, pin one edge 1.5” from the seam, and the the other edge of the same strap 1.5” from the opposite seam. Be sure the strap is not twisted, and the raw edges from the strap and inner piece match up. Do the same for the 2nd strap on the 2nd lining piece.

Step 8: Sew the inner and outer bags together! Turn the lining bag right side out and the outer bag wrong side out. Place the inner bag inside of the out bag. Right sides will match up. Pin at the side seams to ensure they match. You will need to leave a 2-3” hole to turn the bag when finished. Start sewing with a 1/4” seam allowance at the inside edge of 1 back strap. Continue all the way around the top of the bag until the inside edge of the other back strap. Back stitch. This will leave and open seam at the center back.

Step 9: Turn bag and iron. Using the open edge, pull the bag through until your fabric is right side out. Your project now resembles a bag! Line up the top seams and iron around the opening for easy top stitching. At the opening, turn the raw edges in and iron so they mimic the sewn seams.

Step 10: Top stitch. I like to start at the beginning of the open seam to get that out of the way. Sew across that seam with a 1/8” seam allowance and continue all the way around the top of the bag. Back stitch at beginning and end.

You now have an adorable tote for your kiddo to carry his/her library books in!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. Easy to follow, except I did mess up with the straps - didn't put them on the proper side of the lining!

  2. We are so glad you found this guest post helpful! We would love to see a picture of your finished product. Thanks for stopping by!