Library Bag Tutorial

sew a library bag

My kids love the library! For Little Miss, it is about the books. She loves to read. For Mr Happy, it might be more about the fire engine that sits in the kids book section waiting for kids to climb on it!

They get to go to the school library too. At school they can’t borrow unless they bring their library bag.

library bag school

When they started school I dug out the book fabric I had stashed away years before knowing it would be perfect for something. So their bags are one of a kind.

Recently I made another library bag for a little boy who will start school next year. Here’s how you can make one too.

sew a library bag

What You Need

  • Fabric – half a metre, I use quilting cotton
  • Usual sewing supplies

What To Do

  • Fold your fabric with selvedge edges together.
  • Cut one piece 35cm wide for the body of the bag. If you want a wider bag, just make this piece wider.


sew a library bag

  • Cut another strip for the shoulder strap. Mine was 7.5cm (3″) which made a finished handle 3.5cm (1.25″)  wide. If you want a slightly wider strap, cut your strip wider.
  • Fold the bag piece in half with right sides together.
  • Stitch up each side about 0.5 cm (1/4″) from the edge.
  • Pink the edges with pinking shears, or zig zag or overlock the edge to stop fraying.

sew a library bag

  • While still inside out, fold the bag top down twice to form a hem and press. A wider hem here will create a shorter bag, so look at how big you want the bag as you create this hem. Mine has a hem about 5cm (2″) wide.
  • Stitch in place.

sew a library bag

To make the Shoulder Strap

  • Fold the ends of the strip over towards the wrong side of the fabric and iron.
  • Fold the whole strip in half with right sides together.
  • Sew the length of the strip about 0.5cm (1/4″) from the open edge.
  • Turn through. A safety pin can help with this: pin it to one end then push it through the tube bit by bit – just like when you thread elastic through a casing.

sew a library bag handle

  • Iron the shoulder strip flat.
  • Optional: Top stitch just inside the edge all the way around. This will look neat and close the open ends.
  • Join the shoulder strap to the bag. You may want to trim the strap shorter, or like I did you can loop the extra length inside the bag so that the strap could be made longer as the child grows. Keep in mind that you don’t want the bag to drag on the ground once it gets a library book in it – not good for the bag or the book!

sew a library bag

  •  Turn the whole bag through and iron it flat.

I have heard of some schools that like library bags to have a much shorted handle than this one so that books don’t get dragged on the ground. You could cut this handle into two equal lengths and have two short handles.

Do you read to your kids and take them to the library?

and sew we craft togetherPhotobucket

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