The Anything Bag

It’s FINALLY time for a sewing post!

This blog is titled SEW You Think You Can Cook after all.

My latest Thursday Thoughts post was about carving out some “me time” after the kids go to bed. One of the hobbies I wanted to get back to was sewing.

So how many times have I pulled out my sewing machine since September?

2. 2 times.

Sure, I’ve got excuses: husband’s travel, too many dishes, toys to be fixed, online shopping, birthdays and holidays, etc.

But! Bedtime (KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD) has been going really well this month so it’s all good. In fact, my husband asked me if we could “cancel Christmas” to not mess with the magic that’s been happening.

With the holiday season right around the corner I knew I couldn’t procrastinate sharing this sewing tutorial any longer. You can give your gift in one of these bags and it’s a two-for-one!

The Anything Bag (1) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

This “anything bag” was given to Firecracker on his 2nd birthday from a friend who does manage to break out her sewing machine. The bag has been filled with wooden toy trains for the past year and a half.

As the Hotwheels car collection grew and grew I knew I needed more of these bags. My friend gave me the tutorial, I bought some fabric (actually, another friend found some Cars scrap fabric for me), and it sat there. For months.

I’d finally admitted confusion and defeat and sent the supplies to my mother-in-law. She returned the supplies in the format of a cars bag the following week! She assured me, as did my friend, that the bag is quite easy and quick to sew together – once you figure out how.

With the promise of teaching me in person on her next visit, we went to “the mother ship” as she calls it (Joann’s) to gather more fabric for some more bags. I now needed a large one for PAW Patrol toys (truth be told, I need a second large bag for PAW Patrol toys after Treat’s second birthday!).

The Anything Bag (2) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

I took step by step notes to develop a tutorial in my own words. We didn’t take pictures, though. We established, that for the purpose of a blog post, we needed to work with something smaller. Photos of large pieces of fabric simply don’t help the reader visualize each step. Additionally, I used two different fabric colors for the casing to make the steps easier to see. Using two different fabrics is not necessary as one side will not be visible in the completed bag.

My mother-in-law left. But only one or two weeks went by before I got my sewing machine back out and made the bag you’ll see here! It took just under an hour, but I’d uncovered some verbiage that confused me and I learned how better to describe this tutorial. The following week I made a second smaller bag (I do have two children after all!) and it only took me 30 minutes!

The Anything Bag (3) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here’s how to make The Anything Bag

Before you get started, you need to decide how big of a bag you want to make. You can do any size you want! The only things you need to do to ensure it’ll all work out are:

  • both bag fabrics are the same size
  • the casing is cut to a minimum 3″ width and a maximum length 1″ shorter than the width of your bag fabric
  • the drawstring is longer than the circumference of the bag


  • The trains bag
    • bag fabric 22.5″ x 13″ (2)
    • casing 21.5″ x 4″ (2)
    • drawstring 45″ x 3″ (1-pieced)
  • The PAW Patrol bag
    • bag fabric 33″ x 13″ (2)
    • casing 32″ x 4″ (2)
    • drawstring 65″ x 3″ (1-pieced) *I actually find this drawstring to be way too long
  • The tutorial bag *I’m guestimating here as I used scrap fabric to piece everything together
    • bag fabric 9.5″ x 9.5″ (2)
    • casing 8.5″ x 3.5″ (2)
    • drawstring 18″ x 3″ (1-pieced)

Use a 1/4″ seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Sew your two casing pieces together, right sides together, on the short end.

Casing step 1

Fold, right sides in, and sew the second short end. You now have a ring. Iron the seams and then flip it right side out.


Fold the casing hotdog style and iron it flat.


Lay out one piece of your bag fabric, right side up on the table. Place your folded casing, opening up, at the top of the bag fabric in the center, ensuring that there is a 1/2″ from each end. Place the second piece of bag fabric, right side down, on top, making a sandwich.

bag assembly

Pin, and sew along that top edge. Iron.

Open up the bag, and fold hotdog style, right sides in. The casing will be in the center of the bag.

bag assembly 2

Sew along the 3 open edges, leaving a 3″ gap on one side to pull the bag right side out. Option to trim the corners of excess seam fabric; doing so will reduce the bulk in the corners of the bag. Pull the bag right side out through your 3″ gap.


Fold the opening edges of that 3″ gap in, iron, and top stitch closed. Press one side of the bag into the bag to create the reversible bag.


Now, make the drawstring. (Option – to use a piece of nice ribbon, rope, or shoelace instead!)

Fold the ends 1/4″ in. Iron. Fold the entire fabric hotdog style. Iron. Tuck the length in on itself again. Iron.

Starting with the short ends first, top stitch with an 1/8″ seam allowance around the edges.

Thread the drawstring through the casing. Center it. Option to sew a straight line through the casing, holding the drawstring in place. Tie the ends for a finished look.

The Anything Bag Tutorial | Sew You Think You Can Cook |



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