I’m an Aunt and my boyfriend is an Uncle, so technically I’m an aunt twice over. I kept seeing this draw string play blanket bag on pinterest and word press. Naturally I wanted to make my own. First I did google images research to get a feel for the idea of the blanket, then I bought some NY Giants fabric because the parents are HUGE sports fans and then I set to work.
ALWAYS save your jeans. You can repurpose the zippers and fabric into durable strengtheners either hidden or exposed. I decided to make the base of the blanket from jeans so that it can be laid anywhere to play. I cut apart two pairs of jeans, in hind sight I only needed one for the base. But, I used alternating light and dark colors to add some more style.
Aside: When choosing your wine or mixed drink along with your project make sure to choose colors that won’t be a big deal if you spill. Tuesday’s choice was merlot!
Second aside: I am an engineer by trade, I will try not to use too many geometry/engineering terms just in case anyone actually reads my blog.
- 2 pairs of old jeans
- 1-1/2yards of fabric (or just sew a bunch of old fabric together)
- normal sewing supplies like thread and scissors and a sewing machine.
Step 1. Cut the seams out of your jeans.
Step 2. Cut jeans into straight columns.
Step 3. Sew jeans together. Note: I used a denim needle for this project.
Step 4. Make your pattern. Draw a circle, with a makeshift compass. Lay your jeans out on the table. Get a piece of yarn that is half the length of the circle you want, i.e. the radius. Pin the end of the string/yarn to the center of the fabric. Tie a marker to the other end. Then slowly draw a circle making sure to keep the yarn consistently taught. Obviously, draw on the BACKSIDE of the jean fabric square.
Step 5. Cut the jean circle. After I cut I noticed that my circle had a chunk missing (you can sort of see it up top in the second image) because I had sewn the jeans a bit funky. To fix it I attached another jean section and completed the circle, you can see my mistake in the first picture of the next step.
Step 6. Cut your top fabric to match the circle. I cut with a 1 inch over lap to allow for mistakes. You can either just lay the jean circle on top as a template, or fold the jean circle in half and use a fold in the fabric to match up.
Step 7. The loops. Cut rectangles from jean fabric (for strength) and the top fabric (for color), sew the fabrics right sides together and invert. Then iron flat. Mine were done without measuring, but I would say they’re about 3 inches by 6 inches with 1/4 inch seams.
Step 8. Batting. Layout and cut your batting. I used 2 layers of batting so that it’s has a big more cushion. I also used batting remnants, this is a really good project to use a lot of your sewing stash.
Step 9. Fold and pin. Fold in your top and bottom layers so that they match, then pin together.
Step 10. Lay out your loops evenly around the blanket. I ended up with 12 total loops. This is probably a good number. Fold them in half so that the jean fabric is inside and pin into your circle.
Step 11. Sew! I did two seams around the circle and then 4 wavy lines through the fabric to keep the batting in place. You can see the wavy seams in picture on the next step.
Step 12. The drawstring. So . . . . . .the stores around me do not sell macramé cord that is thick, at all. My original plan was for macramé style rope drawstring with padded shoulder straps. Back to the drawing board!!! I cut thin strips of jean fabric, about 1-inch in width and braided them together, sewing on more strips when length was needed. Since these will be hidden don’t worry about any seams showing or the braid being too perfect. Just make sure none of your jean strips are too thin, that is where tension might break the strap after years of use.
Step 13. Find the length of your braid needed for a strap by laying it around the circle. You want it to be within 3-4 inches larger than the circle circumference.
Step 14. Make your casing. You’re going to have a draw string sausage! I had three lengths of 3-1/2 inch thick top fabric sewn together then sewn down the length and inverted to make the outer portion of the strap. Next, using a safety pin as an anchor pull the jean braid through your casing. This is shown finished in the image below.
Step 15. Make it a no-twist strap. At approx. 6-8 inches apart I put a 1-inch horizontal seam to attach the jean braid to the casing. This way the casing won’t bunch up on the braid or twist around. There is a ‘flat’ side to the braid, and you also have your casing seam. I made sure that my casing seam was along the same flat side of the braid so that there was no internal braid twisting as part of the strap. This is really hard to put into words, I hope this is clear. If not, you can always comment! (Or just go with my original plan to use macramé cord)
Step 16. Sew the ends of your strap together. First, thread the strap through your blanket loops. Then made sure that your strap is not twisted within the loops. Pull back the casing a few inches and sew the braid ends together. Your braid will be 2-3 inches shorter than your casing, do nut cut ahead of time, create the length difference with your seam. You can see my seam location below, I have 3 inches of excess on each side. The seam will be hidden inside the casing, do not worry about ugliness, but do pass 3-4 times for strength of steam. Cut off the excess leaving at least 1/4 inch beyond the seam, again for strength. Finally, fold under your casing ends to hide the edge of the fabric, tuck one side of the casing into the other and then sew a visible seam passing at least twice.
Step 17. Marvel at your creation. Shown below are front and back images.
Step 18. Test the blanket! Shown below are pretend toys on the blanket. The jean-side is meant to be down during play, but you also want the jean-side to be inside when you pack up and go so that everyone can see your beautiful top fabric.
To go, pull the straps from opposite side of the circle until it forms a bag with your toys inside. This is the perfect length to throw over your shoulder so that it sits are your hip or to put over the handle of your baby stroller.