Ditty Bags

Oh my goodness have I been busy!  I don't know how I was bitten by the sewing bug, but I've been stitching up a bunch of goodies.  This little Ditty Bag is the one that has me the most excited... and it's sooooooooo simple!

I think my excitement comes from learning how to print my creations on fabric.  I am no good at stenciling, stamping OR painting on fabric so I searched the web for instructions on how to print my creations with my ink jet printer.  I was elated to find information from hp (Hewlett Packard) as I have a hp Photosmart ink jet printer.  The following is how I did it, which isn't exactly what I learned here.

You start by cutting freezer paper into 8.5 x 11 sheets, obviously the same size as a standard sheet of paper that will fit in the printer.

Then you take a piece of COTTON material that you've ironed nice and smooth  - on the cotton setting, and don't use steam when you iron it.  Lay the freezer paper on the material and cut the material a little larger than 8.5 x 11.  You definitely do not want your piece of fabric smaller than your sheet of freezer paper.

Lay the freezer paper on the ironing board plastic side up.
Lay your piece of fabric on top of the freezer paper, right side of material face up.
Iron to fuse the fabric to the paper.
Flip over and iron the paper side to give it good adhesion.

Now it's time to trim the extra fabric from all the sides.  You might be tempted to pull the loose strings on the edges....DON'T DO IT!  Just snip them off.  If you pull them, you'll end up with raveled loose edges on your paper that could damage your printer.

The next step calls for an ink fixative.  You can purchase such products, but since I live in the middle of nowhere I have to improvise if I want to get anything accomplished.

I don't think you'll be surprised to learn I used Mod Podge spray sealer (matte finish) instead of traveling 90 miles to find an ink fixative.  Oh how I love Mod Podge!  Just a light spray twice over works just fine and only takes a few short minutes to dry.  The corners curled a bit, but I had an easy solution for that too...

When dry, load it in your printer according to printer specific directions to make sure your print comes out on the fabric, not the paper.  For mine, I laid it fabric side down.  It's also a good idea not to have any other paper in the printer paper tray.

Here's a screen shot of how I laid out my creation in Print Shop.  The design is centered horizontally with vertical margins about 4.5 inches from the top and 1.5 inches from the bottom.

I set the print quality on "Best" and tweaked the ink volume (in advanced settings) from the default setting to reduce the amount of ink saturation.  I don't know if messing with the ink volume is necessary.  I did it because I didn't want it a deep black.  I wanted the finished project NOT to look brand new.

(The default setting is halfway between "Light" and "Heavy".  I slid it to the left so it was half way between "Light" and the default setting.

And here's how it comes out - Beautiful!

Peel the paper from the fabric and you're done!  Well, you're done printing any way.  The rest of this story is about how I sewed it together.  CAUTION:  I AM NOT A SEAMSTRESS and probably did things the hard way, but hey, it worked!

After cutting another 8.5 x 11 piece of fabric for the back, I pressed all of the edges about 1/8" from the outside.  Then I zig-zagged all the way around all the edges.

Then I folded and pressed about 1.5" from the top of the pieces...laying the fabric right side down on the ironing board.  

I pinned the pieces together (rights sides together) and marked - with disappearing ink : ) - the spots where I needed to stop in order to leave an opening for the drawstring.  I sewed as close as possible (for this crooked sewer) to the zig-zagged seams.  Once the sides were all sewed up, I opened up the top and sewed two seams all the way around the top for the drawstring.

Then it was a simple matter of turning it right-side-out and stringing the drawstring ribbon through the openings.

I was real, REAL pleased with the finished product : )
It measures approximately 8.5" tall by 7" wide.

I might add that I have more designs lying in wait to be created.  You see, the one pictured above is all about being a perfect little gift for my granddaughter.  I found an old picture that somewhat resembles Marlee in an antique sort of way and made up a business name (had to include something about a crow, of course : ) and I placed that fictitious business in "Marlee, Iowa".  Here's a peek at the graphic for her brother... it's from "Nolan", Iowa.

And there's more - when I get them finished - for Ethan, Iowa, Chandler, Iowa and Lauren, Iowa : )
But right now, Grandma needs a nap.

Linking up with all the other cool crafters at:


(Thanks for much for the feature Stephanie!)



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Oh, such a timely and easy-to-understand tutorial for this process. Thank you very much! :)

  3. Wow, that came out great Coleen! Love the way you incorporated the kid's names in the graphics. ;) Good tutorial.. I'll have to bookmark this one.

  4. Cool beans! I love your creativeness, with the ink fixative and really love the names (iowa) Fantastic!

  5. Your bags are so cute and your tutorial was so well written. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  6. How cute! and what endless possibilities...when I worked the the little kids we made t shirts with their pictures, but that is about all I've done, but this has me really interested. Anything personalized is always great! And yeah, I took a shower, calmed down and decided to go with white!

  7. that was a awesome tutorial. thank you - cant wait to try it :)

  8. Coleen... it turned out great! Love the little bag!! I have been playing with the printer but not like you!! I've also been hand sewing all weekend... my first time sewing... had to youtube it a couple of times...LOL!

  9. thank you for an easy to read tutorial! I must give this a try. your bag turned out great. How lucky are your grandchildren to have such a thoughtful and creative grandma!

  10. This is awesome! I am going to feature your tutorial on my blog
    Creative ways to use your printer!

  11. May I use some of you images in your featured post on my blog?
    Contact me at

  12. This is fantastic! I'm so excited! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Coleen - Thanks so much for the tips! I have never tried printing directly on fabric but really want to try! Love these little ditty bags - how perfect for the upcoming holidays! I featured this on the Sunday Showcase post. Stop by and grab a button if you like. Thanks so much for linking up. Hope you are enjoying your week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  14. Wow I am so excited about this post!!!! I have been wanting to do this for so long. These instructions are exactly what I was looking for! Right on. Now to go find freezer paper. Thanks for the pictures too! I will post on here to let you know how I did!

  15. Coleen thanks so much for posting this... I love this idea... I am going to buy an ink jet printer at lunch time so I can make me some of these. Awesome job on the tutorial.

    Hugs, Deb


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