FREE! Kids Activity Bag Sewing Tutorial by Nancy Zieman

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FREE! Kids Activity Bag Sewing Tutorial by Nancy Zieman

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Many fabric bags or fabric totes for kids’ toys can be rather wimpy. Have you ever put toys and books in a fabric bag and the parts and pieces went missing in the bottom of the bag? A few years ago, after purchasing adorable finger puppets for her granddaughters, Nancy Zieman knew the finger puppets needed a new “stand up” home in a NEW! Kids Activity Bag – designed by Nancy! Logo by Nancy Zieman Productions LLC Visit for timesaving tools and sewing supplies to complete your sewing projects!

Fabric and Supplies:

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PL70WYD 01 Peltex Ultra Firm Sew in Stabilizer files1

Note From Team Nancy  If you’d like a taller top closure like the activity bag pictured below (front), purchase three fat quarters plus 1/3 yard of a fourth coordinating fabric, in this instance, the yellow striped fabric.

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Prepare Fabrics:

Note From Team Nancy     Pre-shrink project fabrics by steaming and pressing, and steaming and pressing a second time, and then spray starch and press one more time – using June Tailor’s® Starch Savvy.

June Tailor's Quilter's Starch Saavy

Stitch Nancy’s Kids Activity Bag:

All seam allowances are 1/2″, unless otherwise noted.

Approximate Finished Size 6″ x 6″ x 10″.

  • Fold two fat quarters, wrong sides together, meeting short ends – and trim off selvage edges with a 45mm rotary cutter. Unfold fabrics. These fabrics will be used as the outer and inner lower bags.

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CL7500 13 45mm Rotary Cutter

  • Stack fabrics with folds at bottom. Using a 45mm rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat cut four 10″ x 13″ rectangles, trimming away the folds at fabric bottom: Cut two outer lower bag rectangles, and two inner (lining) lower bag rectangles. Cut out 3″ squares at both lower bag corners, as shown in photo below.

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Omnigrid 6.5" x 6.5" Square Ruler

  • Place two outer lower bag rectangles right sides together. Pin at lower edge.
  • Using a Schmetz Universal Size 80 Needle stitch bottom seam with 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seam open.

Schmetz Universal Size 80 Needles available at

Flower Head Pins

  • Zigzag or baste outer edges of bag unit to Pellon Peltex, stitching around all outer edges.
  • Place two inner/lining lower bag rectangles right sides together. Pin at lower edge. Stitch with 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seam open.

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  • Using a 45mm rotary cutter cut a 9″ x 13″ rectangle from the third fat quarter. This will later become the outer pocket.
  • Fold rectangle, right sides together – meeting long edges.
  • Stitch the long edge seam with 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave short ends un-stitched and open!

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  • Turn pocket rectangle right side out. Press seam open over a Seam Stick.
  • Overlay pocket rectangle to right side of lower outer bag. Using Clover’s 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge, place pocket rectangle 5/8″ above lower edge of lower outer bag. Pin.
  • With a Schmetz Universal Size 80 Needle, edgestitch pocket rectangle to outer lower bag – along side edges and bottom seam. Leave top edge of pocket rectangle un-stitched and open!

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Clover's 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge

  • Place outer lower bag unit right sides together. Pin or Wonder Clip at side seams.
  • Stitch side seams with 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seams open over a Seam Stick.

seam stick pressing wood stick available at 

  • Place inner/lining lower bag unit right sides together. Pin or Wonder Clip at side seams.
  • Stitch side seams with 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seams open over a Seam Stick.

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  • With outer lower bag right sides together, stack one seam over center bottom seam. Wonder Clip

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CL3183 08 Rainbow Wonder Clips Assortment

  • Stitch lower corner “gusset” seam with 1/4″ seam allowance.
  • Repeat steps above, and stitch all four lower “gusset” seams on outer lower bag, and inner/lining lower bag.

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  • Turn lower outer bag right side out.
  • Tuck lining inside outer lower bag, with wrong sides together. Wonder Clip.
  • Zigzag or serge along top edge of lower bag.

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Stitch upper bag unit:

  • Cut two 10″ x 13″ rectangles from fourth fat quarter (Or cut two 12″ x 13″ rectangles, from 1/3 yd. fabric, for longer upper bag option).
  • Fold rectangles in half, wrong sides together, meeting long 13″ edges.
  • Press at folds, pressing in a memory line for later!Screenshot 118
  • Unfold the rectangles and align rectangles, right sides together.
  • Stitch the 10″ side seams with 1/2″ seam allowances. Press seams open over a Seam Stick.
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  • Turn right sides out. Re-fold along the pressed memory lines.
  • Zigzag or serge along lower edge of upper bag.
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  • Edgestitch around bag top edge, along folded edge. Topstitch a second time around bag top edge at 1″ from folded edge – this creates a casing for the ribbon! (Be sure the distance between the stitching lines is at least 3/4″ and slightly wider than ribbon).
  • Back stitch at both seam intersections – along both bag side seams/edges (This is really important – you’ll see why later :-)).
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  • Here’s a close-up of back stitching at all four seam intersections.

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Assemble bag unit:

  • Place upper bag over lower bag, right sides together. Wonder Clip around entire top edge.
  • Stitch upper bag to lower bag, with 1/2″ seam allowance.
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  • Turn upper bag fabric right side out and up.
  • Use the I Sew For Fun Seam Ripper to remove a few stitches at both outer side seams – between ribbon casing stitching lines.
CL9603 4 rectractable seam ripper
  • Be careful to remove stitches on the outside/right side of the bag, between ribbon casing stitching lines only. This creates the ribbon casing openings.
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  • Using a scissors cut two 36″ ribbon lengths.
  • Using an Easy Loop Turner or Clip ‘n Glide Bodkin, insert one ribbon length into casing opening, around the entire bag top, and back out the same casing opening. Knot ribbon ends together.
  • Using an Easy Loop Turner or Clip ‘n Glide Bodkin, insert second ribbon length into the opposite casing opening, around the entire bag top, and back out the same casing opening. Knot ribbon ends together.

CL9609 1 Clip n Glide Bodkin

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CL472 04 Easy Loop Turner
  • Presto, you’re done! The inside is bright, and the bag is sturdy – thanks to the Pellon Peltex underlining. There will not be any lost toys in this activity bag!
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 Kids Activity Bag Fabric and Supplies: Logo by Nancy Zieman Productions LLC

Shop Timesaving Tools & Sewing Supplies at!

Shop Notions and Tools at Logo by Nancy Zieman Productions LLC

Shop Pellon PelexInterfacings at!

Shop Pellon Peltex, Interfacing, and Batting at Logo by Nancy Zieman Productions LLC

Shop Rotary Cutting Tools & Sewing Shears at!

Shop Rotary Cutters, Rotary Cutting Rulers and Rotary Cutting Mats Available at

NEW! Watch Stitch it! Sisters Program 110: Fun Fabric Caddy and learn how easy it is to sew our All-New Fun Fabric Caddy!

NEW! Stitch it! SIsters Program 110 Fun Fabric Caddy available at



CL9609 1 Clip n Glide Bodkin

For a chance to be the random winner a Clip ‘n Glide Bodkin from Clover, please leave a comment sharing how you’d use Nancy’s Kids Activity Bag. Get Creative – This bag has many other uses!

Clover will give away one Clip ‘n Glide Bodkin to one US resident in the 48 contiguous states. Winner must reply within 30 days to the official giveaway announcement email message – sent from Nancy Zieman Productions. Email Team NZP at [email protected].


2020 NZP Pillow Sewing Challenge

Be sure to join in and follow the 2020 Nancy Zieman Productions Pillow Sewing Challenge at the NZP Blog. Find Pillow Sewing Challenge details on our Official Nancy Zieman Productions 2020 Pillow Sewing Challenge Launch Posting. Deadline to enter is Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Happy Sewing,

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions. LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

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  • Charlotte Dunn
    March 10, 2020

    I would love to try this Bodkin !! I use the old method of safety pin and it does have issues. This tool is a beautiful color and really looks so much better than my safety pins !!

  • Louise Wagner
    March 10, 2020

    That is one handy tool! Sure would make lacing ribbons through a channel so much easier than what I’ve been using- a safety pin. I’d love to make one of these handy bags for taking projects along in the car, everything handy right at your feet!

  • Twyla
    March 10, 2020

    The kids activity bag would be used for Barbie clothes and dolls that my granddaughter loves to take along. Also the Bodkin Clip and Glide would be nice to win and use threading ribbons or cording through casings.

  • DebbiwW
    March 10, 2020

    Fantastic bag, the fabrics look ‘delicious’. Personally, I would use Nancy’s Kids Activity Bag to carry small knitting or piecing projects w/ notions in the outer pocket. Great tutorial and explanation for using all the products when making this bag, thanks.

  • Linda Machado
    March 10, 2020

    This would be a great project to teach my granddaughter but I don’t see a PDF file to download and print off. Very disappointing unfortunately.

  • Cynthia Taylor
    March 10, 2020

    Cute bags! I think I will make a few for my neighbor girls. Thanks!

  • Linda Machado
    March 10, 2020

    Forget previous post about not seeing PDF…. I must be having a “senior” moment! Lol….

  • Terri Washer
    March 10, 2020

    Cute, cute bag to make with a granddaughter! Would love to own Clover’s Clip and Glide Bodkin that would make it so much easier when inserting elastic in clothes or sashes and ties through channels, as well as turning fabric “tubes” for Celtic designs and simple straps, and the list could go on and on.

  • Clovis
    March 10, 2020

    You can use the bag as a project bag.

  • Dixie
    March 10, 2020

    I would make one of these for my granddaughter for her to use to carry things she brings when she comes to visit.

  • Sybil Derderian
    March 10, 2020

    This bag would be a great way for my granddaughter to keep together her things when camping with the Girl Scouts!

  • Barb K
    March 10, 2020

    This would be a handy bag for a “Take Along” sewing project to work on while traveling or waiting for an appointment.

  • Bev Bolduc Aldridge
    March 10, 2020

    Yet another project to make a lot of for Operation Shoebox Ministry. It is more complex than standard drawstring bag. I am making these this year, the children who receive these will have colorful bags filled with all kinds of needed things.

  • Janet
    March 10, 2020

    Bag would be great for knitting or crocheting projects. Perhaps a small pocket on inside for needles and hooks. While you are knitting, yarn could be inside bags with ribbons pulled tight to keep yarn inside bag.

  • Sandra Chapman
    March 10, 2020

    I have an old bodkin made of steele and doesn’t always do a good job. This new one sure looks like it would be a very nice smooth item to use for sure.
    I would make Grandaughter’s bags for coming to my house to play with their many little toys and dolls and things little girls love to play with. Nothing lost is a plus for this bag.
    Sandra C.

  • Karen Tucker
    March 10, 2020

    I would send this adorable bag to my great granddaughter for her to use in going to day care! Her “stuff” wouldn’t get lost too easily with this bag!

  • Gail Beam
    March 10, 2020

    This bodkin would be great to use on sweatshirts where the hood cords always seem to come out and I have to use a safety pin to rethread the cord. I think this bag would be adorable for bathroom supplies, on a table for mustard, ketchup, or other condiments, to use for silverware, sewing supplies, craft supplies, etc.

  • Marilyn Schroeder
    March 10, 2020

    I would use it for storing my Nancy’s Notions when I go on a quilting retreat !

  • Hannah W
    March 11, 2020

    My three kiddos always need another tote for taking their toys along with them. I like that this one is sturdy…

  • Susan
    March 11, 2020

    Would make these activity bags for my grandchildren’s Easter baskets. Imagine the fun in selecting the fabrics and ribbons for a fine Easter display of goodies for them!

  • Nancy
    March 11, 2020

    Would make for granddaughter’s shopkins.. thanks

  • L Watson
    March 11, 2020

    This would be a great bag to include in Christmas Shoe Care Boxes. I also think they would be good for traveling for a craft bag that you keep with you, or when you are walking about for shopping.

  • Carla Ruhl
    May 29, 2023

    I love the sturdiness of this bag, but would like to make bigger (such as 10x10x14).. Any guidance on how to do so?

    • Carla Ruhl
      May 29, 2023

      Sorry, just wider – 10x6x10

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