I know for sure that a handmade bag made with love for a little girl is one of the most beautiful gifts you could sew! When my sisters need something special for a little girl, they always come to me asking for a little bag. A ready-made bag is never in my stock!
So it was the time to sew a few new little bags and I thought to share with you a little trick that maybe you don’t know??
In order to sew mini bags, you don’t need to buy mini bag patterns! If you already own some bag patterns (for adult bags), you could use those patterns and sew mini versions. You could sew bags in any size you need!
These are my new mini bags!
So here is what you have to do!
If your pattern is digital (pdf pattern)
All you have to do is to print ALL THE TEMPLATES of the bag at a reduced scale. Make sure you print EVERYTHING at the SAME scale.
When you click the “PRINT” button, your printer will give you some printing options. My printer displays what you see below (your printer should display something similar).
For the original size, all the designers warn you to print the actual size.
For our mini bag, we have to use the “CUSTOM SCALE” option.
How much to scale down?
It depends on the original size of the bag and it helps if you already have an idea about the approximate size of the mini bag.
Then you have to do the math! Don’t worry, it’s easy! Here is an example: if the original bag is 15” tall and you want a 10” tall bag, you have to print everything at (10/15)x100=66%.
Usually, you have to tape together a few pages to get a full-size template; below it’s one of my templates printed at 100% and 75%.
After you print at the reduced size, you will assemble the templates as usual.
- I think most patterns/templates include seam allowances; in this case, you print the templates at the reduced size and sew as usual, with the same seam allowance or, if the bag is significantly smaller, you could use a smaller seam allowance. If the bag is really small (a doll bag?), then smaller seam allowance is a must.
- If the pattern requires you to add seam allowances, you print the templates at the reduced size and then add the seam allowances as instructed in the pattern.
- If you don’t have a printable template for a piece of your bag (as an example, the pattern tells you to cut a 5”x7” rectangle), you have to calculate and reduce the size of this piece too.
- Before starting to sew, look at the templates and try figuring out how small the new bag will be (the bag will be smaller than the templates, due to the seam allowances). You don’t want to sew the entire bag and then be unhappy with the size.
If you have a paper pattern (not digital, the templates are printed on large sheets of paper)
To reduce their size, you have to take the sheets to a copy shop and ask for a reduced scale printing.
I know I am extremely happy that I don’t have to tape together several pages for a mini template (I think you like this too!).
Many templates come as “half-template” and you have to print them twice and tape them together, to get the full pattern.
Here is a little trick for a faster assembling of the full template. You print the template only once, slip under that template a blank page and with a paper cutter cut through both pages at once. Two templates without any additional effort!
Then you tape the pieces with scotch tape.
Do you need even smaller bags?
It’s easy, if you use one of my patterns. You will print the already reduced templates at a reduced scale – easy assembling of the templates again! As an example, you could print the mini templates at 80%.
And here are pictures of my latest mini bags, made using my patterns.
Which one is your favorite? The pretty “Danielle” is my favorite.
This tutorial is included in the SEW BETTER BAGS ebook.
If you want to learn more about sewing quality bags, download the free ebook below.
Do you want to sew bags that turn heads?
Stylish, comfortable, and practical?
Bags that will make you proud?
Check out my bag patterns below.
Thank you Geta. I never thought of it this way.
Greetings from Colorado
Gay Ferland says
Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing with us. I don’t know how your patterns are, I have not purchased one. I am sure they too are beautiful too. Hope you continue with your work, you are on the right path.
Blessings from New Hampshire,
Do you have an etsy shop? I would love to buy one of these cute bags. Thanks
Oops my email was wrong. It’s email@example.com
Elke Lassiter says
This is the second time I bought pattern from you, and I love it.
You do so much work to show step by step how to finish your projects.
This time I bought 2 bag patterns and I am just finish to print out the templates.
I watched all the pages and I can’t wait to start my bags tomorrow.
You showed all different sizes from each bag and they are so cute.
Thank you for the great instructions, you are the best.
The first pattern I bought from you the diamond pockets and the jolly bag, I couldn’t made enough, execially the diamond pockets, all of my friend wanted one and I think I made about 12. It is so much fun to use your pattern .
You are the BEST teacher ever!!!!
I’m finally getting to make this bag (for me, in the large size). Cleaned out my sewing room that was badly overdue 🙂 Now I have many things in the works, at least now that I can find things haha
Your wallhanging continues to bring joy to me and everyone else who sees it. Love it soooo much!
Danielle BOUVET says
Congratulations from France.
You are a fantastic teacher. I think that math and physic studies can help you to design quilting patterns and prepare explanations for us. It’s always perfect.
I hope you’ll continue to create awesome things.
Thanks and greetings
Judy White says
The little bags are beautiful. Thank you for the instructions on how to modify other bag patterns. This will be another project I will look forward to doing.
I just wanted to say hi and tell you how glad I am God put you on this earth. You have a gift for teaching and you are brilliant. Now I understand why you do things so well. You have a degree in physics! You sew like a scientist! Thank you for sharing your craft! May Jesus continue to bless you.
I just found your site and have enjoyed the little bags that I looked at. I like your nice fabrics you selected and especially like your style of teaching.
Keep up your wonderful art of creating beautiful works of art. Blessings from the Pacific Northwest!