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DIY Leprechaun Loot Bags …for St Patrick’s Day (or any other occasion)

I shared months ago that I wanted to open up the free days on my blog (that I wasn’t blogging) to others who would love to fill those gaps and showcase their own work.  Your talent out there is INCREDIBLE…..and I love sharing this little outlet with others who get a kick out creating, like I do. :)  So, today is another day you get to see the craftiness of someone else.  Pull up a chair (or a sofa) and enjoy with me……you won’t be disappointed. 


-Ashley :)

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Hi, I’m Kristin! I blog over at Grandma’s Chalkboard and am excited to share a fun project with you here at Make It and Love It.


When I was in elementary school, St. Patrick’s Day was always such a fun holiday to celebrate. Seems like we made a jointed leprechaun every single year and there was no shortage of silly tricks the ‘leprechauns’ played on the students. Thinking back on it now, and as a former elementary school teacher, I’m sure the teachers, ahem, I mean ‘leprechauns’, loved turning desks upside down, changing the time on the clocks, and in general, having a good excuse to be a little mischievous themselves.


So today, I’m sharing a little project you can do to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. And in the end, it might involve chocolate, so hop on board as we make some Leprechaun Loot Bags.




Fill your Leprechaun Loot bags with some gold coins and strategically hide the bags around your house for lucky little kiddos to find.  Or, you could brighten your day at work by leaving some leprechaun gold for your co-workers, or send some off to work with your husband, hidden in his bag. It’s sure to be a fun surprise for everyone, except for the unlucky Leprechaun who lost all his gold!



I’m also excited to share how to make a drawstring bag using buttonholes as well. If you’ve been avoiding sewing buttonholes for the past few years (or decades!) because you thought they were hard, today is the day to conquer your fear. In fact, most machines have a buttonhole function built right in.


Let’s get started!



First, you’ll need to decide on the dimensions you’d like for the finished bag. I chose to make a 6 by 8 inch bag.


Whatever dimension you decide, add 1/2 inch to the width measurement. Then double the length measurement and then add two more inches to determine the dimensions of the fabric you’ll need to cut. Here, my unfinished strip of fabric measures 6 1/2 inches wide by 18 inches long.


You’ll want to finish off the 4 raw edges of the fabric now with a zig-zag stitch, or a serged edge. This will make the inside of the finished bag neat and tidy.


Now, for the buttonholes! The buttonholes are where we will lace the drawstrings through our finished bag. The buttonholes need to be long enough to get the drawstring through, but shorter than our casing, which will be 3/4 of an inch wide. My machine uses this rather large button hole foot to make a buttonhole. See the yellow button back there? It lets my machine know how long I want the buttonholes to be. My button is approximately 1/2 inch in diameter.



If your machine’s foot looks a little different, that’s okay! Your sewing machine manual will walk you through how to make a buttonhole, and I always suggest practicing a new skill on a scrap piece of fabric.


You will be making 2 buttonholes, one on each end of your fabric and on opposite sides.  Both buttonholes needs to start about 1 1/8 inches from the top edge of the fabric (or if you’re looking below, 1 1/8 inch from each end), and be set in about 1/2 inch from each long edge (or if you’re looking below, 1/2 inch from the top and bottom edges). Make your two buttonholes on the right side of the fabric, as shown below.



Cut open the button holes with a seam ripper or scissors.


Now, let’s make this strip of fabric look like a bag! Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and sew a seam 1/4 inch in from the edge on both sides.  Leave the top open.



To make the casing for our drawstrings, fold the top edge down 1 inch. Iron or pin if desired to keep the fabric in place as you sew.  Sew a straight line 1/4 inch from from the zig-zag or serged edges, all the way around the bag, creating a 3/4 inch wide casing.



While sewing, you’ll see that the casing seam line is just below the buttonholes. Perfect! I chose to do another line of stitching in orange, just for fun.




 We are ready to add the drawstrings to the bag. Be as creative as you want with the drawstrings. I found some fun St. Paddy’s day shoelaces at Joann’s, or you can use ribbon, twill tape, or even make your own drawstrings with fabric.


Lace one drawstring through a buttonhole, and all the way around, back out the same buttonhole. I used a bodkin to make the lacing easy, but you could easily tape the drawstring to a pencil and pull it through that way too. Repeat with the other drawstring going in and all the way out the opposite buttonhole. Tie the drawstring ends together on each side. I also like to heat seal the ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying.



Now you have a drawstring bag that is super easy to open and close and ready to decorate!


I decorated my bag using heat transfer vinyl (also called iron-on vinyl). It’s a specialty vinyl that adheres to fabric using heat. You may be able to find it at a local craft store near you, and if not, there are plenty of online retailers that sell it in an array of colors. This is one of those craft supplies that you may get addicted to using…it is so easy!



I used my Cricut machine to cut my shamrock shapes, but you could also use craft punches, or even an exact-o knife. (If you don’t want to use vinyl, you could always cut the design out of freezer paper, iron that onto your fabric, then use fabric paint to paint on your design. Ashley has a quick tutorial for that here.)

The vinyl sheet has two layers. The shiny layer is actually a thin layer of plastic. The dull side is the vinyl that will adhere to your fabric. When I cut my shapes with my Cricut, I place the shiny side on the mat and cut through just the vinyl. Your machine may differ, but my settings were a 3 on blade depth, and 3 on pressure. Don’t forget to mirror image your shapes before you cut!


After you cut your shapes just how you like them and have weeded out any extra vinyl from your design, you are ready to iron. Place the shape, shiny plastic side up, on your bag. The plastic is slightly sticky and lightly holds your shape to the fabric.



I am always super cautious and like to place a sheet of copy paper between my iron and the plastic. All irons are different, so I recommend ironing for 5 to 10 seconds. Check your project to see if the plastic layer is separating from the vinyl. If so, peel the plastic off the design. If it doesn’t come off easily quite yet, iron again for a few more seconds until the plastic can easily be removed.



I like to iron it one more time to get rid of any little wrinkles. Don’t forget to put a sheet of paper between the vinyl and your iron before doing so!


After seeing how easy that was, go on and make some more! I don’t blame you, this vinyl is so much fun!



After that, all you have left to do is to fill your Leprechaun Loot bags with some gold coins.


Have fun with it!




Check out Kristin’s blog, her darling shop, her Facebook page, and her Pinterest boards.


Ashley Johnston

Administrator 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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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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