My sister showed me the cutest bag about a week ago... a little black felt gift bag embroidered with the word "coal." My first thought was "I have to have that bag!" Then I thought, "I can totally make that bag!" I wanted to put my husband's Christmas gift in it, but the bag my sister had was a little too small. So I decided to give it a try... and I'll show you how to do it, too. Bear with me. I'm not all that experienced with tutorials.
You will need 4 - 9x12 inch sheets of felt, or if you buy it off a bolt you can just cut it to size. The sheets were the perfect size for me. When I bought mine, they were 4/$1. (I think my sister paid $3 for her small bag, so I got out cheaper, too!)
You will leave two of the felt sheets whole. Cut one felt sheet in half length-wise so you have 2 - 4.5x12 inch pieces.
The fourth sheet will be the bottom and straps. The bottom should be 9x4.5 inches and the straps were 9x1.5 inches (cut 2)
So, to review...
(2) 9 x 12 inch pieces (I'll call them front and back)
(2) 4.5 x 12 inch pieces (I'll call them sides)
(1) 4.5 x 9 inch piece (the bottom)
(2) 1.5 x 9 inch pieces (straps)
Now, there aren't any construction pictures, because it's black felt and black thread, and you really can't see anything. So hopefully I can describe it adequately. It is really simple.
Match up the front to a side and sew together with a 1/4 in seam allowance. Stop about 1/2 in from the bottom of the bag. This will help you sew the bottom on. Then match up the side to the back, the back to the other side, and finally the side to the front. You will have a square tube.
If you are like me, your felt will creep a little. You can even up the bottom of the bag if it's kind of wonky.
Take your bottom piece and line it up with the front, with the bottom piece inside the tube. Start 1/4 inch from the side and sew until 1/4 inch from the other side. Line the bottom up with one of the sides and sew all the way across minus 1/4 inch from the back, and do the same for the back. Your final side you can sew all the way across. You will have this:
Now, like the original bag, I am leaving it with the seams on the outside. But if you were making this for something else, you could totally clip your corners and turn it inside out for a smoother look. You might have to press it a little for crisp edges.
Next, pin your straps on, about 2 inches in from the sides... or where ever it looks best to you. Sew them in place. You can do this however you like... I just sewed back and forth across the strap.
Voila! You have a bag. It was really quick and simple. You could do this in any color felt and embellish it any way you want. Use contrasting thread, or whipstitch the edges. Sew on appliques. Go nutty. I embroidered the word "COAL" on mine (but it will be stuffed with The Muppet Show Seasons 1-3 on DVD because my husband has been a very good boy this year and he loves The Muppets). I free-handed it, and it's kind of sloppy-looking, but I guess a coal bag would be, huh?
Here is how mine turned out: