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Clear Toy Storage Bags (with drawstring closure)


Why do kids like toys with so many itty bitty little pieces?  I guess it increases the fun factor.  Tiny brushes.  Tiny shoes.  Tiny tea pot sets.  Tiny cars.  Well, my little girl really wants some new Polly Pockets for Christmas….and when she told me that, I almost tried talking her out of it.  But then I suddenly thought, “well, hey, if I can just make her a little bag to carry it all in…..then it won’t  be so bad.”


So that’s what I did.


I made a clear vinyl cinched-up pouch……that she can easily tote around with her little rubber-clothed dolls inside.  And then made another one that was larger, to carry a bigger collection of blocks……for my little guy.  Because we all know those blocks will end up scattered.  And homeless.  (And somehow under my bare feet.  Ouch.)




No more anxiety, wondering where all the little pieces of your children’s toys will go. 

Just bag it up and make it fun for them to put all their pieces back into their special bag.




See?  Now Polly Pocket and her friends have a place to stay.  No more random rubber skirts laying around the house.




Now, just imagine a whole collection of these……filled with all sorts of things.  Bathroom supplies, makeup, markers, craft supplies, etc.  Whatever you need.  And the vinyl makes it easy to see what’s inside.



A perfect way to keep things organized.  And pretty.  And easy to see.




Would you like to customize your own clear toy storage bags?




  • Main Fabric (The amount you need will depend on the size bag you make…….make your calculations below to decide how much you’ll need)
  • Thicker Clear Vinyl (At Joann’s, I bought 17 gauge vinyl I think.  The amount you need will depend on the size bag you make…….make your calculations below to decide.)
  • Fusible Interfacing (only enough for the two circle pieces for the bottom)
  • A Cord Pull  (I bought mine at Joann’s)



First, choose what size bag you want.  Then find a circle of some sort to trace (a bowl, a cup, a canister) that is about the size you want the bottom of your bag to be.  You will use the measurements of this circle to cut out the other pieces of your bag.  Use the following equations to determine the size of your pieces.


(Just as a mini math refresher course, the circumference of a circle is the measurement all the way around a circle.  The diameter of a circle is the distance across the circle.  Remember?  Ok, good.  Let’s move on.)


Bottom Circle Piece: whatever size you want your circle to be

Vinyl Piece:  height = circle diameter x 0.75,  length = circle circumference + 1/2 inch

Upper Fabric Piece:  height = circle diameter x 0.75 x 2  length = circle circumference + 1/2 inch

Pull String Piece:  height = 1.5 inches  length = circle circumference + 4 inches


Now, that you have your measurements……….cut 2 circles out in your fabric, 2 circles of interfacing, 1 vinyl piece, 1 upper fabric piece, and 1 pull string piece.


**Now, just so you can see that math in action…… are the measurements I used for the little orange polka dot bag.  (And if you found a circle that was exactly the same size as mine, you could use my measurements.)


My Circle: diameter = 5 inches  circumference = 15.7 inches  (remember, the circumference = diameter x 3.14… you don’t actually have to measure around the circle.)

Vinyl Piece:  hieght = 3.75 inches  length = 16.2 inches

Upper Fabric Piece:  height = 7.5 inches length = 16.2 inches

Pull String Piece:  height = 1.5 inches  length = 19.7 inches


First, iron your interfacing pieces to the wrong side of both fabric circle pieces.



***Before you start sewing…….review these tips for sewing with vinyl (that tends to stick).


Then fold your vinyl piece into a tube and sew the two ends together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Sew another seam next to the first, just for added strength.



Next, pin your two circles together, with wrong sides facing each other… that the interfacing sides are sandwiched together.  Then start pinning the sandwiched circles to the right side of the vinyl tube.  Pin all the way around, using plenty of pins as you go.  ***Remember, pinning something straight to something that is curved can be tricky.  Just manipulate the fabric as best you can to fit inside that circle.



Now, sew the circle the and vinyl together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  And don’t worry……just sew a few stitches at a time, adjust, then sew a few more.  This will take some patience as you go around the circle.  Then trim off the edges a bit and then zig-zag all the way around, with a narrow zig-zag stitch.


Turn the tube right side out.  You will really have to pinch the edges and bit and flatten the vinyl out with your fingers to get it to lay the way you want it.


Then zig-zag or serge the two short ends of your upper fabric piece.  Then fold your fabric piece in half and with right sides together, sew the two ends together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Iron the 2 ends open from the inside of the tube.


Now, fold the top of the tube fabric down, revealing the right side of the fabric.  Fold it exactly in half, matching up the raw ends along the bottom.  So now there’s a fold along the top of the tube and 2 raw edges along the bottom.  Iron the fold flat.


Now, make a seam that is a 1/2 inch from the top of the folded edge.  Then up-pick the stitches along the side seam of the tube that are above the seam you just made parallel to the top fold.  Unpick the stitches on both sides.  (You’ll only be unpicking a 1/2 inch of stitches on the front and a 1/2 inch of stitches on the back.)


Now, slide the tube down upside down over the vinyl.  Match up the top of the vinyl with the two bottom raw edges of the fabric.  Sew them together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, then trim and zig-zag the edges.  Set aside.


Now, fold your pull string piece in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together.  Iron flat. Then open it up and fold each edge into the center along that ironed fold.  Iron again.  Then sew closed.


Now, using a safety pin at one end of the pull string, thread it through the top casing of the bag.  Place the two ends through a cord pull then tie each end into a knot.




Now you’re all set. 


And ready to stuff your bag with toys.  Or supplies.  Or whatever.





. . . . . . . . . . . .
This post is sponsored by:


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. SpankyRae says:

    I TOTALLY just made one of these for a 4 y/o’s Christmas gift; I’m in love with it and will be making many more! Thanks for the great tutorial and the math review!

  2. annie! says:

    Thank you SO much. I love this idea…and your tutorial is perfect.

  3. maryam says:

    oh!I love them so much thank u for the
    excellent tutorial I have made the smaller one and wanna make the bigger one too! so!!!!!!!!!!!! can u pls give the measurements for the bigger one?

  4. Maryam says:

    thank u so much pleeeeeeease can u tell measurement for the bigger one?

    1. Maryam says:

      thank u so much pleeeeeeease can u tell measurement for the bigger one?

  5. Renee says:

    I love your site, keep coming back to it! Thanks

  6. Tiffany Stica says:

    I loved the idea of ​​bags for storing and further tutorial. ‘ll do and recommend it to all my friends with young children and their collections.
    A hug, Tiffany @blogdati

  7. Patricia says:

    I love this bag! I’ve made four already and will make more. After the first “test” bag the other three took no time at all to make. Thank you for sharing!!!

  8. sarah says:

    Double sided tape (there are special narrow types sold at Joann’s) works great for pinning the circular bottom to the vinyl instead of pinning. I found this the hardest part, but it is easier with tape.
    Also, I found the bags stay closed just fine without the cord stops. (They cost more than the rest of the bag altogether.)
    Thanks for a great project.

  9. Kathy says:

    I LOVE these. Thank you so much for posting the photos and instructions! I made my first two today and can’t wait to make more.

  10. haley says:

    I have a stupid question.. I don’t know how to read the .2 & .7 in the measurements I think .75 is 3/8 but not really sure on that either. Please help :)

  11. Erin says:

    I’ve been searching for the right storage boxes for months! This solves my problem! Thank you so much!!

  12. Dana says:

    This is just what I need! Great idea and done so well…good job! I’m going to try this out!

  13. Vicki says:

    Where have you been my whole “crafting” life?? LOL
    I have been looking for something like this. Just found your site and have been going through all of the wonderful tutorials. I love your site!!! Thank you so much.

  14. brenda says:

    halla’. My kids LOVE mega blocks and the bag they came in just broke so I have been thinking along these same lines for making a new one! You just made it that much easier for me to get the bag made!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I love these bags! Has anyone tried making them with a mesh bottom for storing bath toys? I’ve never seen with mesh so I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not.

  16. Chris says:

    Hi Ashley,

    love the toy bag…..grt idea!…..I have a 5 month old whose toys I want to store properly.

  17. Leah says:

    Oh, my gosh! We just got a TON of squinkies for birthday that this will be awesome for!! Thank you SO much!!

  18. Sandra says:

    What a good mom. You’re awesome and so are your projects. I’m going to click on your ads while I’m at it.

  19. Rhendi says:

    Awesome idea. My daughter has collections of things that I just didn’t know what to do with. And these will be so cute and really handy for her to tote around.

  20. Miho says:

    Another brilliant idea! So simple, neat and looks great. Love it!

  21. Fernanda says:

    I love these and am making a whole bunch!! Thank you.

  22. Brooke says:

    I love your bags! Do you sell these? I’m not a very good seamstress :-)

  23. Jill says:

    Wonderful! Thank you.

  24. Lisa says:

    Awesome idea! I’ve always used those bags for toy storage, but the sizes never seem to work out perfectly and the zippers break… LOVE your idea! I think we’re all in need of new bedding now! ;op Thanks so much for your most amazing blog and ideas!

  25. Hana says:

    Very useful idea. I guess I won’t throw those clear plastic bags away now.

  26. Crafty Gyrl says:

    This is a really cute idea, I will have to try this-Thanks for sharing!

  27. Brooke says:

    featuring these bags on my blog tomorrow! (monday, February 6th) I love them and excited for my readers to fall in love with them as well :)

  28. Jessy says:

    Hi, I want to tell you that I really love this idea! I just bought a sewing machine and this is my first real thing to make! Soooooo cute and quit simple too, thanks! Love your website!
    All the way from the Netherlands!

  29. Dana says:

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial. It was super easy to follow and I really enjoyed making these– posted about it and linked back to you on my blog here– Thanks!

  30. noemy says:

    Finally I got to work on this bags, I want to make a set of 3, one big , one medium and one small, so far I finished 2, this bags are easy and fast to make;
    Thank you so much for this tutorial.

  31. charlie says:

    Perfection! I’ll be linking to this on my Kid’s Organization post next week. :)


  32. Lindsey says:

    YEA! Just made it and I do LOVE it! I made one with a 13.5″ diameter, and it was perfect for a big bag of MegaBlocks! THANKS for the great tutorials!

    1. Lindsey says:

      Side Note: I didn’t have interfacing so I used fusible fleece (1 layer) as a substitute and it worked great.

  33. Jocelyn Lim says:

    I notice your post too late cos I just threw away some vinyl bags I got from bed sheets packaging. And due to the humid weather in the country I’m in, the vinyl bags will have a layer of mould/dust, I cannot tell that makes it not clear after some time. But will turn clear after washing. That doesn’t stop me from agreeing that your idea is simply awesome! Now I just gona hunt for vinyl bags I might have missed to throw! Haha…

  34. Daisy says:

    Just made it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  35. Michelle says:

    I bought some vinyl today to make some of these (LOVE the pattern!), but didn’t find a cord pull quite like the ones you used (which are REALLY cute). I know you mentioned you got yours at JoAnns, but my local JoAnns didn’t seem to have them, and I can’t find them on their website either (maybe I’m using the wrong terms). At any rate, anyone have suggestions as to where to find them?


  36. Momma Mindy says:

    Came over from Skip to My Lou. I’ve been sewing drawstring bags for all 25 years of my parenting journey and NEVER thought of this. These are beautiful!

    I would get frustrated because young kids can’t read, so didn’t always know what toys went in which bags. I appliqued things, tried buying fabric that matched what was inside, but never came up with the perfect solution.

    You did.

    Thank you! This is wonderful!

  37. Aimee Belden says:

    wow! these are so amazingly adorable. i’d like to think i could do them, but it would probably take me days and days. any chance you’d want to make some custom for sale? let me know and if so, how much. thanks!

  38. Jen says:

    I found these just before Christmas, and KNEW that they’d be on my list of “after-Christmas-things-to-do!” So when Santa brought me a new sewing machine, along with the thousands of little pieces that go along with my son’s toys, I got right to work. Today I made large and medium sized ones for his super heroes and all their “stuff.” I know there are more coming for cars, markers, and eventually several for my daughter in girlie colors for her Little People and other baby things that I keep stepping on. I was thinking tonight, as well, that I may start giving gifts in them, too. I LOVE Make-it-and-Love-it! You have definitely brought out the confident sewing girl I never knew I was. Last night I tried the sweater dress and ruffle bum leggings, and created Peter Pan and Tinkerbell for Halloween, too! I live on this blog! :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Awww, what a sweet comment. You are so welcome! And I’m so glad this site has been useful. And that these bags have kept the clutter off the floor! I sure have fun with this……so it’s good to hear that you’re enjoying it!

      Thanks Jen!

  39. jaci vawter says:

    I just made a small one for my boys! It was a real pain sewing the tube of vinyl to the bottom circles….but it sure is cute!

  40. Maria says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial, Ashley! I just made one for an upcoming baby shower. I love how it turned out. I had the same problem as Natalie C. (above). When I attached the vinyl to the bottom circle, I had too much vinyl although I did my calculations as you described. I worked it out, but I’ll have to adjust some measurements next time. Any suggestions?

    1. Ashley says:

      Hmmm, I’m not sure. Bummer that the same thing is happening for both of you. I’ll have to try it again and see if I can figure out the problem. But in the meantime, take a look at my response above. It should help you too.

      Best of luck!

    2. Maria says:

      Thanks for the response. I was thinking about it some more and I was wondering if I was having that problem because when you subtract the seam allowance (1/4″ around the circle) it actually make the circumference of the circle smaller and maybe that’s why I was having too much vinyl when I made the cylinder shape. Nevertheless, I will definitely make another one and play around a bit more. I love and appreciate all of your tutorials and your creativity!

    3. Ashley says:

      Maria, you’re totally right. You’re sewing around a smaller circle because of the 1/4 inch allowance. Thanks and yep, the vinyl will have to be smaller. Now, to get my brain working to figure out the equation for that! :)

    4. alyerin says:

      ooops, just saw this was already discussed. Ashley, just subtract 1/2″ from your original diameter size THEN do your vinyl calculations – everything else you have is correct! I am fixing mine now =)

    5. alyerin says:

      goodness, i even typed my email address wrong. it’s right in this post – sorry!

  41. Natalie C. says:

    I have a question… I LOVE this design and I am on my third one, butI don’t know what I did wrong. The measurement of the vinyl is not coming out equal to the circle. I am over by about an inch. My circle’s diameter is 8″ and my vinyl is the circumferance (25.1/8″ + 1/2″ for seam allowance like you say). Anyone else run into this problem with excess fabric when connecting the bottom circle to the vinyl?

    1. Ashley says:


      Hmmmm…..either the vinyl is stretching or maybe as you go around the circle, it isn’t stretching out exactly the same as the circumference of the fabric circle. Hmmmm, I’m not sure. So, my advice would be to sew the vinyl around most of the circle, except for the area where the side seam of the vinyl meets the circle. Then, you can see how much larger the vinyl is than the circle and then take it in a bit, trim off the excess………then sew the rest of the way around the circle. Sorry about it not working out perfectly……but I bet you can still make it work right without much extra work if you do as I described above. Best of luck!!


    2. alyerin says:

      I had the same problem – and figured out the issue. Of course, while i was sewing these at 2 AM it was just frustrating, but when i woke in the morning i knew what had happened. When you measure your circle (using Ashely’s example, say it’s a 5″ diameter), make sure to SUBTRACT 1/2″ for seam allowance before doing your calculations. So you would do 4.5″ x 3.14 to get the proper circumference then add the 1/2″ seam allowance for the cylinder seam. This makes sense because if you took a 1/4″ seam allowance all around the bottom circle, you are reducing its footprint by a 1/2″ amount (relative to the diameter). However, when you take a 1/4″ seam allowance all around the cyclinder, it stays the same diameter but just shrinks by 1/4″ of height. So, as you try to pin around your circle, you are going to have extra vinyl by a ratio of pi. This will reduce your frustration of trying to sew and stretch the fabric to match the vinyl. Hope that helps! I guess the geometry is not as simple as originally thought ;)

    3. lynn says:

      This calculation is absolutely correct. Make sure you take off the total seam allowance (1/2″) off the diameter before calculating the circumference.

      The original author should update her instructions so that people aren’t confused and frustrated.

  42. Rhianne says:

    I just made up 3 of these wonderful bags to hold new Christmas toys. Such an awesome and simple tutorial, thanks for another great idea.

  43. Ellie says:

    You are brilliant! I am going to whip up a few of these today as las-minute extra Christmas gifts! I think I’m also going to do a few using mesh (think lingerie bag) instead of vinyl to be used as travel laundry bags etc….
    I absolutely love your site. Thanks for all the fabulously cute and useful ideas!

  44. Sue says:

    What a great idea! thanks for sharing! As I read through the instructions I looked for information about the type of sewing machine needle to use. Does a regular needle work or do you need to purchase something special for sewing the vinyl? Thanks for the info!

  45. Nichole says:

    Genius!! Thank you. Perfect timing, too; this will definitely be needed after Christmas!

  46. Kim Stafford says:

    We are currently stationed in Korea for the military, which means no Joann’s around. Can I use a new shower curtain instead? What are your thoughts? thanks!

  47. Adriann says:

    Where was this post a year and half ago when I spent two frustrating days trying to come up with this exact thing only to fail miserably?! Oh well, now I can do it cutely, quickly, and efficiently. Thank you!

  48. Casey says:

    I love it!

  49. Malesa says:

    I need these. Is there a place where I can just go and buy them?

  50. alicia says:

    These are a great idea!

  51. Jodi says:

    How awesome is this! So cute and portable. They’d also make great knitting project bags………

    1. Anne says:

      I was going to say they would make a great crochet project bag. I know some little girls who carry their “pretties” as we call them. These would make great purses for them. :]

  52. Katarinka says:

    Спасибо ! Очень здорово !!!!!

  53. liz says:

    wonderful idea, the sturdy round bottom. will have to find some vinyl to make this. thanks for the tutorial!

  54. Yamin says:

    Thanks for this! will defo be trying this tutorial out!

  55. Shola says:

    Oh wow, gotta make me some of these! Especially after Xmas there will be MORE toys needing MORE places!! Thx!

  56. Kristina says:

    Clear vinyl rocks. I’m loving my hanging organizer that I made from your tutorial, and I’ve started to never throw away any clear vinyl pouch or package that anything comes in if it has a zipper or snap closure. The other day I bought a 3-pack of underwear for my toddler, and bought crayons at the same time. The crayons fit almost perfectly in the vinyl pouch with blue plastic snap that the underwear came in, and it will hold up way better than the cardboard box. Never throw away a good vinyl container, my friends! And of course these bags are now on my “to do eventually” list. Thanks, Ashley! Hope you and your family have a great Christmas!

    1. Sally says:

      I save all my vinyl from packaging too! I keep picnic supplies in one that a set of bed sheets came in and others have been cut up for I-Spy bags and now this! I havent yet had to buy vinyl–it helps that I havent needed big pieces yet!

      Love these bags Ashley–thanks! And I just finished a casserole carrier in the orange polka dot fabric! Cute!

    2. Penelope says:

      Brilliant! I have kept many vinyl packages knowing I needed them for something. Now I know what I need them for!

      Very excited to make these bags for our Pocket dolls and other items. I’ve been using those extra containers that come in cases of baby wipes for toys, but you can’t see through those.

  57. Kira says:

    Man, you are one of the smartest girls I know. Oh wait maybe that I don’t know. I’m gonna whip a few up to put with Santa’s gifts! Your one smart chick!

  58. Katie says:

    These are great!

  59. Lindsey says:

    As a former math teacher, I have two things to say about this:
    1) Thank you for reviewing surface area of a cylinder–nicely done!
    2) Remember when you were in geometry and you thought “when will I ever need this crap in real life?” Well, my friends, this is it. YOU’RE WELCOME!! ;)

    1. Angie says:

      LOL! Love your comment! I tell my children ALL of the time how important math is throughout daily living! :)

    2. Kathleen says:

      BEST comment EVER [ at least that I read today:) ]

      And Thank You, Former Math Teacher :)

  60. Alicia @ The Creative Vault says:

    And you’ve done it again – just when I think you can’t possibly top what you’ve done before you go and make this. Brilliant.

  61. angela says:

    this will come in very useful for the 125 piece food set that my daughter is getting for Christmas!

  62. Aggie says:

    Such a good idea!! Love them, can’t wait to make lots of these!


  63. Tanya says:

    Fabulous! I can see making these for birthday presents!

  64. nebuchudnessar says:

    Fabulous, what a great idea…. will make these for birthday presents next year :)

  65. Janeen says:

    Way to go, Ashley. Great idea. I love your fabric choices too.

  66. Jen Richards says:

    Genius! Pure genius! These are going to the top of my “after Xmas” sewing list. We have so many little pieces around and it makes me crazy!!! Thanks!!!

  67. Aleta says:

    I just whipped up 3 of these. I found the circle to be way above my skill level so I went with a square bowl that has rounded corners. It was super easy and doesn’t change the shape much at all. Also I did my draw strings the same as your fishy purse so I wouldn’t have to brave the weather to go buy the cord pulls. My girls are all about Barbies these days so hopefully we can contain the clothes, shoes and accessories a little better. Thanks for another great idea Ashley!!!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the square tip – I’m going to give these a go tomorrow!

  68. Jen says:

    Just in time for my Lego Loving kids! Thanks for this!

  69. Judy says:

    Vinyl bag with drawstring closure…what a FANTASTIC combination. Where were you when I was stepping on Legos for years? (Those puppies HURT!) I just love the vinyl…the VISUAL is so important with kids. My hat is off to you! I love your blog.

  70. brittany says:

    this will be perfect for the snowman kits I am making for Christmas presents! Thank you!

  71. tute-bot says:

    This is such a smart idea! I need to make bags like this for my crafting supplies.

  72. Lindsay says:

    Awesome. I KNOW I am going to have need of some of these after this Christmas. Pinning this for future reference!! Thank you!

  73. mrsblocko says:

    I’m totally going to make some of these when my sewing machine gets repaired. (Stupid machine breaking down before Christmas…grrrr.)

  74. Kristin says:

    You continue to amaze me! Thanks for this tutorial! I just pinned it. ;)

  75. Audrey says:

    These are awesome! Thanks for sharing!!!

  76. Marie says:

    I love it!

  77. dannyscotland says:

    You seriously never cease to amaze me. Everything you make is awesome.

  78. Laura says:

    Ashley, this is a very good idea for having in one place all those tiny details. The best part for the kid – it is transparent!
    Thank you for this detailed tutorial – good help! :-)

  79. Annie says:

    You continue to solve problems at my house for me. Thanks!

  80. Rosalee says:

    These are SO cute! I’ll definitely be making some of these in the future!

  81. Beth says:

    This is exactly what we need right now! Thank you so much for posting!!

  82. Melyssa says:

    You are a genius! Thank you, thank you for all your clever, functional, adorable ideas! :)

  83. Aga says:

    It’s just perfect – looks great and is so simple. Thank you Ashley once again.

  84. Lynette says:

    what a cute and functional idea! Love it. Will be pinning this for future use.

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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