Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Make a Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

A couple weeks ago I was invited to share a fun Halloween project in the Spooktacular September series over at the darling eighteen25 blog. It was the perfect motivation to make some trick or treat bags for my girls with some ideas that had been floating around in my head!
The ideas started brewing a few months back when I came across a preview for this darling fabric line by Maude Ashbury called Spooktackular. I fell in love with this awesome print (witches brew) and ordered a bit of it as soon as it came out.
I wanted my bags to be simple, but with a bit of a twist. I made two versions... a big and a small- one  simple and one with a bit more detail to it and I love how they each turned out. 
I will be sharing my simplified version in a step by step tutorial below, but I thought I would share how I did the quilted version in a couple pictures in case you are wanting to make something simiar- if not scroll down to the simple Halloween bag tutorial....

To start, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own foundation paper piecing pattern. (In case you are new to foundation paper piecing- here is a great video that teaches how to do it.) I cut a piece of freezer paper to be the size I wanted for the front of my bag (I made mine 12x15 inches). (I used freezer paper because it was the largest paper I had on hand but you could use any paper you would like.) Then I used a pencil and drew out a spider web-ish design on the paper. As you can see, it was a bit of trial and error with my design... I erased lots of lines that simply weren't working with the design- which is why I recommend using a pencil. It doesn't have to be perfect... the paper is just a guide for where to sew. I looked at my pattern when I was all done and numbered the areas by where I would need to start and end and then I was ready to start sewing...
 When I finished sewing scraps to my template, I ripped away the paper on the back side and was ready to make the rest of the bag... You will just quilt it as desired with a scrap of batting and the coordinating lining piece to make a quilt sandwich and then follow the rest of the steps in the tutorial below... 

Simple Halloween Trick of Treat Bag Tutorial
Ok... Lets start with your supplies.
-1/2 yard fabric for the outside of your bag
-1/2 yard of contrasting fabric for the inside of your bag + handles
(optional: I used a scrap of fabric for the handles, but there is plenty of spare fabric from your contrasting fabric for you to use for this purpose if you would rather.)
-1 package of 1/2 inch double fold bias tape or make a few yards of your own
1/2 yard fusible fleece or scraps of batting if you will be quilting your bag
You can make this trick or treat bag any size you would like... I made a square and rectangle version.
For this tutorial I will be showing pictures of the square version but it would be very easy to change the measurements and make your own size.

To cut your fabric you will need to cut:
12 x 12 inch main panels - 2 from the main fabric and 2 contrasting fabric
4 x 12 inch side and base panels - 3 from the main fabric and 3 from the contrasting fabric
5 x 12 inch handles - cut 2 of whichever fabric you would like
fusible fleece - cut two 12 x 12 inch main panels and 3- 4 x 12 panels
Step 1: Apply the fusible fleece to all of the main fabric panels (you do not need to apply it to the panels to your lining)

Step 2: I made two versions of the bag- one quilted and one not quilted. I like the quilted one better but you can make either option. Take each of your pattern pieces and line up each one with it's coordinating lining piece. They should all be wrong sides together. You will now make each one a unit... So you can either quilt each piece as desired or you can baste each of your pieces together with basting stitch. To baste them you will take your pieces- for example: to create the front of your bag you would take one main panel piece and one of the main lining pieces and put them wrong sides together and sew around each of the 4 sides with a 1/4 seam allowance using your longest stitch length on your machine. This will hold your pieces together so it is easier to get things all lined up.  Repeat for each of your pattern pieces... In the end you should have 5 units: 2 main panels, 2 side panels and 1 bottom panel. 

Step 3: Make your handles. I made handles two ways- one with fusible fleece (pictured) and one without and I prefer the one without, but you can do whichever option you prefer. Take one of your handle panels and fold and press it in half with the wrong sides together. Open up and fold raw edges in to the center fold and press. (At this point you can add a 1 inch strip of fusible fleece if you would like)  Unfold again and tuck the short raw edges on each end in about a half inch and press and then fold back into fourths and press well. Now your strap should be folded into 4 with the raw edges inclosed. Top stitch around all the edges to create one handle. Repeat to create second handle. 
Step 4: Attach your handles to your main panel units. I measured and pinned each of the handles to the main panels and sewed a 1 inch square on each side of the base of the handles to secure it to the bag. Be sure when doing this step that you place your handles at least 1 1/2 inch down so that you still have enough room at the top to sew your 1/2 inch bias tape on. (I placed my handles 3 inches from the side and 1 1/2 inch down from the top of the bag- then that 1 inch square of stitches was in an area free of where I needed to sew my bias tape on.)
Step 5: Assemble your bag. You are going to be putting your bag together opposite of how you normally would... you are going to sew it so that the seams are exposed on the exterior of your bag so that you can apply bias tape to finish off the exposed seams. So start by sewing your two side panels to one of the main panels. You will pin them so the lining is together. Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. After the sides are attached to one main panel, attach to the other main panel. 
Step 6: Apply bias tape to your exposed seams. Here is a great tutorial if you need help doing that. Be sure to do the proper way of sewing on bias tape so that you have a nice finish and accurately enclose those exposed seams .
Step 7: Pin and sew the base of your bag on. This step will be slightly awkward... Hang in there! ;) The bias tape corners are thick and tricky to get through so sew slowly.
Step 8: Apply bias tape to the base of your bag as well as the top of your bag to finish off any exposed seams... It is slightly awkward once more to sew over those corners that already have bias tape applied. Just go slow and be patient... It will be over soon! 
I found it easiest to machine stitch the bias tape to the exterior of the bag and then whip stitch the other side of the bias tape (like you would a quilt binding) to insure that you have  a nice finish and no stray looking stitches... So for the top I machine stitched on the outside of the bag and then folded the bias tape over and whip stitched it to the lining and for the bottom of the bag I machine stitched to the "top" side of the bag and then whip stitched it to the bottom where the bag sits. 

That's it... you have a finished trick or treat bag just in time for Halloween! 

Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley


  1. I love the idea of making a personalized Halloween bag for your kids, rather than buying a cheap plastic pumpkin that all the other kids will have. Thanks!

  2. i just need to tell you that you amaze me!! what an inspiration!! not only a strength and example, but the most talented quilter ive seen! I cant believe you have only been sewing for a year! Seriously people dont gain your skills over a life time of sewing! Your girls are blessed to have such cute trick or treat bags! But more importantly a wonderful mother! (I can just tell)
    Happy quilting! I one day hope to tackle quilted bags!!! Thanks for your great ideas and inspiring me to keep trying my hand at quilting! Ive been sewing for about 30 years :-) Im still working on my skills:-)
    Thanks so much!

  3. Such a cute bag! And that fabric is adorable!

  4. Personalized Halloween bag displayed above is amazing I must say. The overall theme you chosen is very cute. The cloth and the colors you chose for fabricating the handbag are just perfect. Though, I am a huge fan of Kilkenny orla kiely handbags, but sometimes I also try to do experiments with fabrics for making the handbags. Recently, I stitched a brown colored bag having leather stuff and a long funky strap. I stitched this bag for my little angle Emma.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I honestly love reading every single one! If you have a question you would like answered- be sure to include your email so that I can get back to you!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley