Sew your own knitter's project bag: free tutorial

Now that I've been knitting for a while, I've come to realise that I could really do with a proper project bag so that I have everything I need to hand. There are plenty of good quality ones available to buy, but as someone who has been sewing for a while it seemed more appropriate to put these skills to use and make my own one. This bag is designed to be large enough to hold a sweater project and an A4 pattern. It closes with a drawstring and features an internal pocket to hold notions and tools. There's also a snap open yarn guide inside to prevent tangling. It's a simple and enjoyable project that is perfect for using up remnant fabrics leftover from other projects. If you fancy having a go at making your own, here's a free tutorial for you to follow.

You will need:

Outer fabric - cut rectangles according to the following measurements:

  • outer bag: 40 x 38 cm (2 of these)
  • internal pocket: 40 x 21 cm
  • channels: 35 x 8 cm (2 of these)
  • yarn guide: 7.5 x 3 cm and 6 x 3 cm. These both need to be interfaced as well

Lining fabric -  cut rectangles according to the following measurements:

  • inner bag: 40 x 33 cm and 40 x 43 cm *see notes below*
  • internal pocket: 40 x 21 cm

Drawstring cord: Cut two lengths of 115 cm

One pair of snap fasteners and pliers to install

Matching thread


  • Fabric choices: You need a sturdy woven fabric for the outer bag - at the very least a medium weight cotton. Linen, quilting cottons, denim, canvas or even a waxed canvas will do well. For the lining, you may be able to use the same fabric as the shell if it isn't too bulky. Whatever you use will need to be sturdy enough to have items being pulled in and out of it, including knitting needles! I've used a peachskin here, but cottons do just as well. Anything lighter than a lawn would be far too fragile.
  • The internal pocket is designed to be caught inside the lining seams. Therefore the two lining pieces are different sizes to place the bottom of the pocket right in at the bottom of the bag. If you want to omit the internal pocket, use the measurements for the main fabric, and assemble it as per Step 6 instead of Step 7.
  • Seam allowances are 1cm, unless otherwise stated. 
  • Use a quilting needle. You will be sewing through many layers as some points. A quilting foot is useful too, but not necessary.
  • In my method, I baste items in place before sandwiching them between other layers of fabric and stitching through them all together. You don't have to do this, and can just pin them in place or use wonder clips. I like to baste mine in because it means that the pieces are less likely to move around when they are going through the machine.

Order of construction:

1. Assemble the channels. The ends of the channels need to be turned over and stitched into place to stop fraying. Treat the short ends like a hem. You can create a double fold by turning over 0.5cm and pressing in place, then repeating. Alternatively you can finish the ends with a zigzag or overlock then press a 1cm fold under and stitch in place. Fold the channels in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. These are now basted to the main fabric pieces.
Lay one of the main fabric pieces right side up. Match up the top of this piece with the raw edge of the channel - the channel is upside down now and will be turned up much later. Baste this in place using a long stitch length within the 1cm seam allowance. Repeat for the other side.

2. Assemble the pocket. Place the main fabric and the lining right sides together then stitch along the top. Turn right side out and press.

3. Assemble the yarn guide. Fold both pieces in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch down one short side and the long side with a 0.5cm seam allowance. Turn out (they will be quite stiff!) and press. Insert snaps at the stitched ends so that one tab sits on top of the other. They should form a loop when they are fixed in the final bag.

4. Add the inner fixings to the lining. Lay the smaller rectangle with the right side facing up. Place the inner pocket on top of this, with the right side facing up and the bottom and sides aligned. Baste this in place along the bottom using a long stitch length within the 1cm seam allowance. For the inner pocket you can add compartments by stitching vertically through both the pocket and the lining.
Baste the yarn guide in place along the side seam. I like mine within 5cm from the top and I baste it in snapped into place as a loop.

5. Assemble outer bag. In the main fabric, lay the two pieces right sides together. Align the bottom and sides and stitch in place. 

6. Creating a base. Now place your hands inside this bag so that your fingertips can hook into the corners. Bring the corners together by bringing your hands together. Rotate the bag and lay it flat to that the corners and side seams are now the centre. (Incidentally, the bottom seam will also be in the centre, hidden underneath the corners). Measure 5cm from one of the corner points and sew a line perpendicular to this, making sure to backstitch at either end - you don't want the bottom of the bag coming undone! Trim excess so that there is a 1cm seam allowance and turn out the bag so that the side seams are at the sides again. Give it all a good press now.

7. Assemble the lining. Lay the lining piece with the pocket and yarn guide face up. Place the larger lining rectangle on top of this so that right sides are facing, matching up the bottom and side seams. Stitch the bottom seam first and press the seam allowance towards the smaller piece. Now open up the entire lining and fold it up (right sides facing) so that the top and sides match. Press the fold that is now created at the bottom and sew the side seams in place. All the inner fixings should be caught neatly in the seams.

8. Now repeat step 6, but don't turn out the lining.

9. Sew the lining to the outer shell. Slip the lining around the outer bag so that the right sides of both bags are facing each other. Line up the tops. Stitch all the way around the tops, leaving a 10cm gap in the middle of the back piece.

10. Turn out the bags. Pull everything out through the gap and your lining should sit nicely within the finished outer bag. The channels will also be sitting up the right way now, ready for drawstrings. Fold under the lining fabric at the gap so that it sits in line with the rest and give everything a good press. 

11. Close the gap. Slip stitch the gap and the channel together. Sew a line of topstitching through the outer bag, channel and lining, 3-4mm from the top, to secure the lining in place all around.

12. Feed through the drawstrings. Feed one drawstring though both channels in a loop and tie the ends together. Feed the other drawstring through the channels in the opposite direction, knotting the ends together on the opposite side.

Then fill your bag with your next project!


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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