January 11, 2012

Pirate Party Part 1: Muslin Drawstring Party Favor Bags

My daughter turned 5 a couple days ago, and we are having a birthday party in just a couple more days!
Many months ago she chose to have a "Pirate Birthday Party" - and a couple weeks ago I started working on the planning.  Let me tell you - it is hard to have a child with a birthday so close to Christmas!!  One is barely over before you have to be prepared for the other!

Well, in usual Lindsay style, I am going completely overboard for this birthday party.  It is the first one I have ever done - so I am a little overzealous :)
As such, I have done so many things myself that I have decided to break this party up into a series of posts - and these Muslin Take Home Party Favor Bags are Part 1. 

Part of my goal when preparing this party was to make it as inexpensive as possible.  I am making as many things as I can so that I don't have to buy as much.  So - most of these posts will feature ideas using things many crafty people probably have around their houses - and even if you don't, the materials are very inexpensive!

Muslin is a cotton fabric that you can find in a specific section of the fabric store.  There are different qualities - but to give you an idea, you can get a yard of fabric for $2 - easily.  And the width is double the size of a regular bolt of cotton fabric.  So, to make 10 goodie bags, I probably used 50 cents worth of muslin. 

Each bag will need 2 squares of fabric - mine are 8" wide by 9" tall. 
I wanted a design on the front of each bag.  So, on 1 of the square of fabric, I ironed Freezer Paper, which I had cut with my Silhouette, to create a stencil.

About Freezer Paper: (Skip if you already know!)
[Freezer paper is found near the tin foil at the grocery store, it is white like parchment paper, but has a slick side that adheres to fabric when ironed.  If you are using a cutting machine, put your freezer paper on your sticky mat, shiny side down.  Make sure it is stuck to the mat VERY well, so that as it is cut it doesnt slide and get stuck on the blade.  Don't cut too much at a time - smaller sections of freezer paper on the cutting mat are easier for you and the machine to handle.
You can also cut freezer paper stencils by hand if you don't have a cutting machine.
To iron, do not use steam, and iron carefully so the little edges are smooth and flat.]

Once the freezer paper is ironed down, paint inside the stencil (I used fabric paint, but acrylic paint works too). 

 When the paint is dry, peel off the freezer paper (it is very easy to peel away - and no residue is left!)

On each square of fabric, do a zig-zag stitch across the top to keep it from fraying.  One thing to remember about zig-zag stitch: keep your presser foot half on and half off the fabric.  I have a handy red arrown in the middle of my presser foot - and I keep the edge of my fabric in line with this arrow.  This way, the zig-zag stitch will not bunch the edge of your fabric.  Only one side of the zig-zag stitch will catch the fabric's edge, but it tightens up perfectly as you continue to sew. 

OR - you could fold that top edge down toward the wrong side of the fabric, and top stitch to make a nice folded edge.  

This picture shows the zig-zag stitch across the top of each piece...

Cut two pieces of fabric for the sheath to hold the ribbon.  They should be 1" wide, and the length should be 1" or 2" shorter than the width of your square of fabric.  My square of fabric was 8" wide, so I made my sheath pieces about 7" long. 

Sew 1 sheath piece to each front side of the bag, 1/2" to 1" from the top edge and centered between the right and left sides.  The right sides of both pieces of fabric should be facing you.
Only sew the two long edges (as shown by the red dotted lines below).  You want to leave the ends open to thread a ribbon through.  Sew with 1/8" seam allowance, or zig zag stitch along the long edge to keep it from fraying. 
Sew this piece on both squares of fabric on the right sides (which make up the front and back of the bag). 

Place the front and back of the bag right sides together.  Sew around the 3 edges, left, right and bottom, with 1/4" seam allowance. 
Both sheath pieces are inside, facing each other.  You want to make sure that you do NOT sew over the openings on the ends of the sheath pieces as you are sewing the bag together.
Turn right side out when finished.

Cut two pieces of ribbon to use as the drawstring.  I used grosgrain ribbon 3/8" wide. You could use twine, or rope. 
The length is determined by [width of bag] x 2 + [a few inches to tie a knot]
For me, my bag width was 8" x 2 = 16" + 4" extra to tie a knot = 20" long (each)

Using a safety pin, thread 1 piece of ribbon through the front sheath, and then the back sheath - ending on the same side, as shown...

Tie a knot to connect the ends of the ribbon. 

Take the 2nd piece of ribbon.  Thread it through the front sheath and the back sheath - begin on the side that does not have the knotted end. 

Tie a knot to connect the ends of the 2nd piece of ribbon, as shown. 

Your drawstring bag is complete!!

I decided after making them (it was really quick!!  From start to finish, all 10 bags took me a couple hours), that it would be fun to personalize them with the names of each child attending the party. 
Luckily, I had received RSVPs from everyone so I knew who would be there. 
I printed the names onto cardstock, and cut each name out. 
I slipped the name in the bag, positioned it where I wanted it, and traced it with a sharpie.  The muslin is thin enough that I could see the printed words on the cardstock through the fabric. 

I love how they turned out!!  Now, each guest will have a personalized bag to collect their treasure in and take home, and I only spent about $1 making all of these!
And remember - these bags are completely customizable
Add any picture, any words - or use any kind of fabric.  Leave them blank even!!  The fabric bag is adorable all by itself! 
And stay tuned for more Pirate Party posts - I warned you this would be a series :)

Have you thrown a party??  Come enter our Party Ideas Linkup!

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  1. How funny you read my mind. I am getting ready to make up about 15 drawstring bags as party bags and I was going to print the first letter of the childs name onto the bags. Yours look FAB!!! Have a great party.

  2. haha the cupcake pirates! Such a fun way to make a pirate theme more girly!!

    Feel free to submit this to my link party, would love to share it with more people!

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  4. Aargh! I'm so enjoying all your fun pirate party projects Lindsay!! so creative!