Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, “D”}

Welcome back to class and to our A-Z series! I don’t know about you, but I am learning new things about our alphabet everyday and man…are they cute and super creative! I am so excited to have Amy from Ameroonie Designs sharing a little more about the letter “D” today with an awesome and versatile “D”rawstring Gym Tote perfect for taking your gear to the gym, books to piano or jammies and toothbrush for your next sleepover at Grammie’s. However you use this fun little tote, it is ready to go and so easy to fill up with treasures! Enjoy!

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

This fall will mark a significant milestone for my family.  My oldest child will be heading off to Middle School!  It’s a major change and I’m just the teeniest bit nervous for her.  I know she will do great, but I want to make sure she’s as prepared as she can possibly be- especially for the dreaded GYM CLASS!  So, I chose this amazingly stylish fabric (Penelope by Henry Glass) and decided to create a simple drawstring backpack that she can use to carry home her sweaty gym clothes.  And because it’s going to house some really ripe stuff- we’re going to use french seams to make the whole thing washable without the fear of fraying.

Drawstring Gym Tote Bag
*Please read all the instructions before beginning.  Make sure you fully understand the directions and have all supplies on hand.

Fabric Button

You will need about 1 yard total of fabric.  One piece should be a 1/2 yard cut and the rest can either be a second 1/2 yard cut or two fat quarters.  In my sample, I used a fourth fabric for additional interest.
sewing machine and implements


Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
1- 16″ X 27″ from main body fabric
2- 16″ X 11″ pieces from bag accent fabric
2- 2″ X 34″ pieces for drawstrings (I used the second accent fabric- because I was cutting these from fat quarters, I cut 4- 2″ X 17 1/4″ pieces and sewed them in pairs using a 1/4″ seam allowance)
2- 3″ X 18″ pieces for straps (I used the third accent fabric)

There seems to always be some pressing that needs to be done before sewing can begin.  In this case we have some straps and drawstrings to prepare.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
The straps have one beginning step- take one short end and fold it over 1/2″, press.  Repeat for second strap.
Now, we’re going to finish the pressing steps:

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Fold the strap in half along the long edge.
Open up the strap.
Bring the outer edges into the center fold and press.
Fold along original press line and press the entire strap.
Repeat for the second strap piece as well as the 2 drawstring pieces. 
(the drawstring pieces will NOT have one end folded over)


Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
 Take one of the top accent pieces (16″ X 11″).  Mark both of the short sides at 5 3/4″ and 6 1/2″.  This will be the opening for our drawstring.

*Pay particular attention to the seam allowances as we proceed.  Because of the french seams each step will have a different seam allowance.
Take the two strap pieces and the two drawstring pieces.  Sew along both long sides of each piece at a scant 1/8″ to create a top stitch.  Set aside all the straps.
Take the two top accent 16″ X 11″ pieces and place them right sides together.  Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew along one short side, stopping the stitching at the first mark, making sure to back stitch. Resume stitching at the second mark, again back stitching.  Repeat for the second side, again leaving the seam between the two marks unsewn.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Press the side seams open.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Fold the accent  piece in half, wrong sides together, lining up the raw edges on the bottom.  Press the top folded seam.  Set aside.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

 Fold the main body piece in half, right sides together.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Take the end of one of the straps that is not folded over.  Measure up 1/2″ and mark with a pin.  Insert this end between the two halves of the body piece, lining up the 1/2″ mark with the outer edge and making sure the strap is perpendicular and flush against the fold.  Pin in place.  Repeat for the other side and then sew down both side seams using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Turn the body piece so the wrong sides are facing out.  Press the seams flat.  Trim the strap piece so it is flush with the side.  Make sure the straps are still lined up with the bottom of the bag.  Sew along both sides again, this time using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  This will capture the raw edges of the first seam within the second seam.  Turn right side out one last time.  Press the seams to the side.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Take the top accent piece and turn it so the openings and the side seams are on the inside of the accent piece.  Insert the accent piece into the main body of the bag.  Match up the side seams and line up the raw edges.  Pin around the opening.  Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  

Bring up the top accent piece and press the seam, then fold down the accent piece along the stitch line and press again.  Sew around the opening again this time with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Press the seam down toward the body of the bag.
We are nearly done.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
We need to add top stitching to create the channel for the drawstring as well as top stitch the seam between the body and accent pieces.  Sew around the top of the bag at 1/4″, 1″ and then 1/4″ from the edge of the main body of the bag toward bottom of the bag. *one tip for the 1″ seam, use masking or washi tape to mark a guide that is 1″ from the needle and use it to create the second side of the channel.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
The final step is to thread the drawstrings through the channels.  I like to use a safety pin to help with this process.  The strap should go in one side, go all the way around the tote and come back out the same opening.  Once you have both ends through the opening, you will need to slide the ends into the opening of the strap.  Mark on the drawstrings 1/4″ up with a pin to make sure the straps are sufficiently connected to the strap.  Push the ends of the drawstring into the strap until the 1/4″ mark is lined up with the end of the strap.  Sew down the top of the strap, back stitch well.  Repeat for the second drawstring, going in and coming out the opposite side of the bag.

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Now your darling girl will have a super cute bag to take all those smelly clothes around in. 🙂

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  You can find more of my work on my blog  I hope you’ll stop over and say hello.

Drawstring totes are the bomb! Seriously! My boys have a handful of them each, and they are the best for quick little trips and also awesome for wearing while traveling around on their bikes. These tote bags are easy to make and the drawstring makes for easy synching. Thank you Amy for showing us how much fun the letter “D” can be and for sharing your awesome talent with us today! For more incredible projects by this fun, fun lady, make sure to check out her blog at Ameroonie Designs.

With four letters down and 22 left to go…I am already getting a little more excited for school to start with these innovative letter inspired projects! These projects are creative, fast and super easy to create, and I can’t wait to get making them!

And…since today we are celebrating the letter “D”, here are a few more “D”ang cool projects, just for you…

Dinosaur Softie - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Dancing Ribbon Rings - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Double Layer 6 Petal Flower - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

If you made this adorable Drawstring Tote, where is the first place you would take it?

Drawstring Gym Tote {A-Z Series, Letter "D"} - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Happy Creating & Happy Drawstring Totes!
Signature - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
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