Lately I’ve been spending a good amount of my free (i.e. nap) time making fabric designs to print out on Spoonflower. It’s so much fun! Since the colors don’t always come out exactly the way I want them to, I’ve been ordering 8×8″ swatches before I commit to a whole yard, resulting in a ton of leftover swatches that I don’t know what to do with.

So the other day I put one to use as part of a toy bag for E’s train set (the fabric in the center is the swatch I designed):


Here’s a quick how-to:

Note: I used a 1/4″ seam allowance and serged all of the seams, but this would work fine with a normal sewing machine, just pink your edges so they don’t fray inside the bag.

  1. Sew a strip of fabric 3.5″ wide along the bottom of your swatch. Trim the edges so it’s edges line up with the swatch. Repeat with a 5″ strip along the top of the swatch (this one’s bigger to accommodate the drawstring).
  2. Sew two 3.5″ x 16″ strips along the sides (as you can see, one of mine is made up of two fabrics because my scraps weren’t big enough. I liked the patchy look though). Trim these so they are even with the middle section.
  3. Sew multiple strips (cut them between 3 to 5″ wide and about 15″ long) together to form the back of the bag until you have a rectangle about 16″ tall. (Again, my top two strips weren’t long enough so I placed one sideways to extend them to the edge).
  4. Trim the back so that it’s the same size as the front. My finished pieces were about 14″ wide and 15.5″ tall.
  5. Sew the front and back together around sides and bottom, leaving the top 1.25″ inches of one side unsewn for drawstring hole.
  6. Press seam apart at this hole and sew down edges with zigzag stitch.
  7. Fold and press over 1/4″ at top of bag. Fold another 1″ over and press to form drawstring casing. Sew along edge of casing to close. Thread 1.5 yards of ribbon through casing and tie for drawstring.

:: back view::

Here are some alternate colorways of the little houses design that I’ve tried (the lighting here in the Snowy North is a bit dim, so these look brighter in real life):


This one needs a little adjustment yet; I’d like the pastels to be a litle lighter:


Some more info on Spoonflower:

  • It’s a website where you can upload your images and they print them onto fabric for you
  • The fabric runs about $18/yd, but you can order 8×8 swatches to test out your designs before you commit to an entire yard; you can also order fat quarters and 1/2 yards
  • You no longer need to have an invite to join!
  • I use Inkscape to make my designs (which is free software you can download from the Inkscape website), but I think that you get better results with colors if you use Photoshop or Illustrator.
  • If you want to learn how to do some basic design and color testing, go to Rachel’s site — she has some really great Spoonflower tutorials that I learned a TON from. Thanks Rachel!
Categories: Spoonflower
14 Comments
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14 Responses to Toy Bag from Spoonflower Swatch

  1. Carrie says:

    I love that fabric you made. I wouldn’t be able to design anything but I love to see what others do on spoonflower.

  2. Mirre says:

    Very cute bag and I love your fabric!

  3. Karin says:

    Love your design. So cute, with a windmill, no less! When I first read about Spoonflower, I was put off by the $/yd, but when you factor in that you’re getting your very own design, it’s starting to look pretty inviting after all!

    And the patchwork bag turned out so fun too!

  4. c.Rachel says:

    Your fabrics looks great!

    Thanks for the advice on sewing too. I need all the help I can get. =)

  5. Sel and Poivre says:

    Oh my goodness what a dangerous post! I can easily imagine being swallowed whole by the prospect of designing my own fabrics! ‘Must RUN back to my knitting and try to block Spoonflower from my mind! ;)

    BTW your fabrics are adorable and that bag is brilliant – I vividly remember the days of millions of pieces of wooden track all over the place – boy’s toys are particularly bad for having numerous bits!

  6. Autumn says:

    This bag is adorable!
    Thanks so much for letting me know the dress pattern is back online!!
    You are so sweet to share your secrets!!!!

  7. LiEr says:

    Rae, those are beautiful designs. I don’t know when (if) I’ll ever do a Spoonflower myself – I just can’t design things. The bag is so cute. Our toy train bits are in a boring white tub. I’ve been poor at commenting of late, but I’ve enjoyed reading all your posts – the Christmas presents, the hoodie, they’re all lovely.

  8. liz says:

    very cool!

  9. Celia says:

    Thanks so much for this gorgeous tip to store all those &%/&$·$%$/$&%/$ train pieces! lol…
    My kid loves them as much as I hate them!; lol…
    HUgs and thanks!

  10. Cori says:

    Wow that is really cool. You did a great job.

  11. Felicia says:

    Love these little bags :)

  12. LollyChops says:

    I found you via spoonflower and I adore this little bag of yours! What a fantastic idea!! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kristin says:

    I love your blog! I am from Hudsonville, and came across it totally random floating around blog-world! gotta love Fields, Spoonflower, and free tutorials, thanks for the great site!

    http://www.mytwobabesdesigns.blogspot.com

  14. dana says:

    I had no idea you were a Spoon flower girl. I've been wanting to use them for ever. Maybe you've inspired me. And check out your toy bag that I totally copied. haha. I guess every person has their version of a little drawstring bag :)

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