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Get ready for some spooky sewing fun with this DIY Boo Bag tutorial
Besides pumpkin carving and costume planning, Halloween traditions like “boo bags” and “You’ve Been Booed” have gained popularity in recent years, adding an extra layer of excitement to this spooky season. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the origins of these traditions and how you can embrace them to make your Halloween unforgettable.
The Origins of Boo Bags and “You’ve Been Booed”
Boo bags and “You’ve Been Booed” are relatively new Halloween traditions that have evolved over the past few decades. They offer a unique way to spread the Halloween spirit in your neighborhood or workplace while engaging in a bit of playful mischief.
Boo bags are small, usually Halloween-themed gift bags filled with treats and surprises. The idea is to secretly leave a boo bag on a neighbor’s doorstep, ring the doorbell, and then disappear before they can catch you. The recipient is encouraged to pay it forward by creating their own boo bags and anonymously delivering them to other neighbors. It’s a delightful way to foster a sense of community and surprise your neighbors with Halloween goodies.
👻 Get the free tag printable and get in on the fun
“You’ve Been Booed” / “You’ve Been Boo’d” is a related tradition that often accompanies boo bags. When you leave a boo bag, you also include a “You’ve Been Booed” letter or poem explaining the game’s rules. The letter typically instructs the recipient to display a provided sign in their window or on their door to let others know they’ve already been “booed.” This helps ensure that no one gets multiple boo bags and keeps the fun circulating.
In this step-by-step sewing tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a fantastic DIY drawstring bag from just one piece of fabric.
If you prefer to have a printable PDF pattern, you can find it in my Etsy Shop >
🎯 SHORTCUTS TO SPECIFIC TOPICS:
00:05 what is a boo bag
00:12 how to decorate a boo bag
00:36 free printable tags
01:24 Fat Quarter fabric project
02:04 using directional fabric
03:00 sew drawstring channel
03:28 embroider a design
03:38 decorate bag with Cricut
03:48 how to place your design on the bag
04:02 layering HTV
04:58 Using Cricut HeatPress Mini
05:25 Sew bag together
05:44 Use Pinking Shears to prevent fraying
06:29 Add drawstring
HOW TO MAKE DRAWSTRING BAGS FROM FAT QUARTERS
A fat quarter is 18″ x 22″ and you can make 3 or 4 bags that are a great size for Halloween “You’ve Been Booed” Bags”. (Personally I prefer to spell it “Boo’d” so that’s what you will find in my free you’ve been booed printable. 🤣)
Start with your fat quarter on your workspace horizontally. Cut it in half on the 11″ mark so you have two pieces that are 18″ x 11″.
How to cut your fat quarter to make 3 bags in 2 sizes. (fig. 1)
- You will use one of the 18″ x 11″ pieces to make a larger bag that will measure 8″ x 9″ – the orientation will depend on whether you use directional fabric or not.
- Cut the second 18″ x 11″ piece in half so you have (2) 9″ x 11″ pieces that will make 5″ x 7″ bags.
How to cut your fat quarter to make 4 bags. (fig. 2)
- Cut both 18″ x 11″ pieces in half so you have (4) 9″ x 11″ pieces that will make 5″ x 7″ bags.
THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR DIRECTIONAL FABRIC
If you are using solid or non-directional fabric you can fold your bag any way you want, make vertical or horizontal bags, it won’t matter. If you are using directional fabric you need to make sure you pay attention, the top will be determined by the print.
For example, the large bag made out of my October Ghosts fabric from Riley Blake Designs had to be horizontal, 9″ wide x 8″ high, so the ghosts weren’t all sideways on the bag. The black bag could go either way. (fig. 3)
HEM THE SIDES
In order to have nice ends on the drawstring channel you need to press the sides of the bag 1/4″ towards the wrong side of the fabric and stitch 1/8″ from the fold. (fig. 4)
MAKE THE DRAWSTRING CHANNEL
Next fold the top edge down 1/4″ and press. Fold down another 1″, press & stitch close to the folded edge, forming the channel for the drawstring. (fig. 5)
DECORATE YOUR BAG IF DESIRED
If you want to add a ghost, text or other design to your bag, it’s time to do that now.
Fold your bag in half with the right side of the fabric out. you want to position your decoration on one half of the bag, remembering to allow for seam allowances (1/4″ on the sides and 1/2″ on the bottom).
Keep your design 1 1/2″ – 2″ down from the drawstring channel so it doesn’t get lost in the folds when the bag is closed. (fig. 6)
There are lots of ways to decorate your Boo Bag – here are a few I used: (fig. 7)
Use Halloween Fabric
- I let my October Ghost fabric do the heavy lifting and didn’t have any decorating to do at all!
Use Solid Fabric
- If you want to be able to use your bag for Halloween and other occasions, just use a solid color and let the printable tags explain what’s going on.
- I made one large black bag and didn’t add anything to it – now I or the recipient can use it for other things too.
Sew a Ghost and other Embellishments
- Cut out a ghost shape, either free form or you can use the template in the free printable, from white fabric, a scrap of quilt batting or fusible fleece.
- Sew to your bag with appliqué stitches or hand embroidery.
- Add any other elements like words, beads, etc.
Use Heat Transfer Vinyl with your Cricut or other Cutting Machine
- Use the SVG file provided to easily add text and a ghost to your bag – size according to your needs. The text and ghost are in separate layers so you can use different HTV or just use the ghost.
- I used white for the letters and silver glitter for the ghost and love how it turned out! (fig. 8)
- See how I ironed it on in the video starting at the 3 min 38 second mark. (https://youtu.be/VDlP1Qxiy6I)
SEW THE BAG TOGETHER
Fold the bag in half, right sides together, and clip or pin the hemmed sides and the raw edged bottom.
Starting below the drawstring channel (that’s important! Don’t sew the channel closed!) (fig. 9) sew down the side with 1/4″ seam, making sure the hem stitch line is in the seam allowance so it won’t show on the bag.
Turn and sew across the bottom with 1/2″ seam allowance.
Trim the bottom raw edge with pinking shears to cut down on fraying. If you think this will be a one-time use bag, you can skip this step. (fig. 10)
Turn right side out.
ADD THE DRAWSTRING
Because Boo Bags are often hung on door knobs, you want to make sure your drawstring is long enough. For the smaller bags, I usually cut a 20″ piece of ribbon or twine (4 x the width of the bag) but for the wider bags I cut 24″ or 27″ (3 x the width of the bag).
Put a safety pin on one end of your drawstring ribbon or twine and thread it through the channel.
Remove the pin, tie the ends of your drawstring together and you’re done!
Love this idea?
👻 Tara Reed
P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!