Crafting traditions: DIY trick-or-treat bag

I love my Easter basket. Not because, once a year, it always held toys and chocolate and other goodies. Not because I was an Easter baby and the holiday also represents my birthday season. Not because I. HATE. WINTER. and with Easter comes green, and sunshine, and spring, and warmth. But because it has a story.

My mom (or was it my grandma?) found it at an antique store in Savannah, Ga., when I was not yet in kindergarten and we lived in a small town 40 minutes inland. It’s well-crafted and unique — solid woven wicker, custom-appliqued blue gingham liner with a pastel bunny family on the outside, a far cry from your typical dollar-store plastic neon fare.

Yes, it held my loot each year on that holiday; but it was also special, representing longevity and love and tradition. In having Owen, I knew I wanted to craft some of those same long-term memories for him, So, I whipped up this trick-or-treat bag in advance of 2013 festivities. (Technically, last year was Owen’s first Halloween, but it was cold and rainy, we had only been in our new city for three weeks and knew no one, and he wasn’t yet walking or eating candy, so this year feels like the first “real” year we’re celebrating.)

bag 006 eds

I bought all my supplies at Hobby Lobby: a plain black canvas bag (40% coupon in hand!), some large orange rick-rack (waited until the ribbon/trim went on sale), and a fat quarter of orange cotton material (when fabric was on sale). I pulled the black swirl material from my stash, but it was a remnant I had picked up from the Walmart fabric clearance in 2009 for less than $3.

There are probably several ways you could go about attaching everything to the bag, but here’s what I did: I found a free pumpkin template online just using Google image search, printed it on freezer paper (also called quilter’s paper), and ironed it on my orange fabric to make it easy to cut out the shape. Then, I created a large initial in Word in a font I liked (this is Cooper Black in like 555 size font), printed it on freezer paper, and cut it out the same way.

TIP: This is completely optional, but to save on ink and make it a smidge easier to cut along the lines, highlight your letter and then open the font formatting box (in newer versions, it’s the down arrow in the bottom right corner underneath the font color button). Click on Text Effects. Change “Text Fill” to No fill and change “Text Outline” to Solid line, making the Color black or something equally dark. Click Close, then click Okay.

This next step is optional, but made my life MUCH easier, or you could do this and forget sewing. I used Pellon Wonder Under (a fusible interfacing) to attach the initial to the pumpkin and the pumpkin to the bag. Simply follow the instructions on the box. Basically, you want to flip your object over onto the smooth side of the Wonder Under, then use a pen and trace just inside your shape, and cut it out so you’re left with a shape of Wonder Under just smaller than your actual shape. Using a wet press cloth on top, iron the Wonder Under, rough side down, onto the shape, pressing for 10-15 seconds or until the cloth is nearly dry and stops making a steam sound when pressed. Let cool somewhat, then peel off the Wonder Under. Using the damp cloth, press your shape onto the surface you want it to be permanently attached to.

I wanted this bag to stand up to several years of trick-or-treating, so I went ahead and sewed around the outline of the initial to the pumpkin, and then around the pumpkin to the bag, just for extra measure. It also gives it a slightly more finished look (although my sewing skills are NOT perfect). I’ve heard that Wonder Under doesn’t stand up to washing, so keep that in mind. Sewing the pumpkin on makes the bag easier to clean, should I need to.

Last, I cut the rick rack to size and just eyeballed it, hot gluing it down. I didn’t bother sewing it on, as hot glue and fabric is pretty sturdy, but I could down the road. It would have been a bit tricky trying to get my sewing machine needle to reach the bottom of the bag, so I didn’t bother for now.

And that’s it! Next up: a costume…


2 thoughts on “Crafting traditions: DIY trick-or-treat bag

  1. Pingback: Spooky-fast Halloween decor | The Sensible Home

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