guest post | heidi rogers - toy bag tutorial

I'm so excited for the blog's very first guest post! Please welcome my friend Heidi to the blog! I've known Heidi for years and I've always been so impressed by her crafting creativity. I don't even have kids, but when I saw the toy bag she made for her two adorable sons, I knew this had to be shared. Enjoy!

My name is Heidi and I am a graphic designer by day, avid crafter/sewer/crocheter/illustrator/reader/writer by night. I have two young boys that have, in their short little lives, accumulated a lot of toys that drift from room to room in our house. I don’t mind having having brightly colored objects scattered all over, but I fear for the necks of company that comes over, so I have to actually pick it all up and put it somewhere sometimes. 

Being a working mom, I have to think of everything in terms of time. How much easier it will make my life? Because I want to spend as much quality time as I can with my kids and as little time as possible cleaning, cooking, or even getting myself ready for the day. So upon pondering a quick pick-up solution to the toy tornado, I remembered back to my childhood and these giant bags we had for duplo legos. All I could remember was that they lay flat, you dump legos on top, and pull the drawstring shut. Sounded like a perfect solution to me! So I’m here to show you how to make a giant drawstring toy bag.

First, let me make a few disclaimers. 1) I had already started these bags when Alyssa asked me to guest post, so I don’t have pictures from the first steps, but the instructions are simple enough without a photo. 2) My sewing set-up is in the basement, where I have the most space, which means low light and less than professional photography.

  • Heavy-duty fabric, such as canvas or denim
  • Thread
  • Rope with a soft feel to it - you don’t want it scratching little hands

Step 1: Decide how many bags you want to make and go shopping for fabric. To get the most bang for your buck and make it as simple as possible, you’ll figure out the size when you pick out your fabric. So pick the perfect textile and look at the width of the fabric. That is going to be your diameter, so multiply that by how many bags you want and then divide by 36 so you know how many yards you need [i.e.: 45” (width) x 3 (# of toy bags you want to make) = 135”; 135”/36” = 3.75 yards (how much fabric you need)]. 

Step 2: Cut your fabric into equal squares. Fold square in half twice (like a napkin) and on the TWO UNFOLDED sides, trim off a rounded corner. When you unfold it you should have some semblance of a circle. Mine wasn’t perfect and honestly, it’ll never be laid out flat for anyone to scrutinize anyway.

Once your circle is cut, you need to finish the edge. I used a serger, but you can easily hem this using a regular sewing machine. 

Step 3: Next, you will make tabs to house the rope drawstring. The loop needs to be large enough to house the rope you purchased, so a safe bet would be to quintuple the diameter of the rope as a guide for the length of each tab [i.e.: ½” (rope diameter) x 5 = 2.5” (length of each loop, unfinished)]. You should have plenty of leftover fabric from the cut-off corners to do this. Begin by cutting equal-width strips of fabric and fold them in half vertically (hot dog way) so you have a long strip. Sew the open edge (either with a serger or sew right sides together and then flip right side out). Then measure off and cut every 2.5” (or whatever your measurement is based on the equation above). I used 16 loops for each bag. Fold each tab in half (hamburger way) and baste or serge the loose end together.

Step 4: Re-fold your circle in half three times and pin at each fold to mark where each tab/loop will go. Sew a tab at each pin with a sturdy stitch, like the “x box” stitch I did, shown in the picture above (made by sewing a square, then going from one corner to the corner diagonally across from it, then over along one of the edges, and from that corner to the remaining corner diagonally across from it).

Once you have all of the tabs sewn on, lay out the toy bag flat and measure out some rope, with enough extra to tie a knot.

Step 5: String through the loops and tie a knot.

Step 6: Put toys inside.

Step 7: Pull the drawstring rope and haul toys from room to room with ease!

I hope this tutorial was easy enough to follow and thank you, Alyssa, for allowing me to guest post!

Isn't everyone just dying to get a bag like this for their house? This toy bag is great because it can be used for pet supplies, shoes, and other miscellaneous household items. I love that she turned potential clutter and stress into something beautiful. Awesome job, Heidi!

For more from Heidi -- visit her Etsy shop where she shows off her cool designs and her blog, Digknity, where she seeks to empower women.