End of Year Teacher Gifts

I'm linking to the A Lovely Year of Finishes June Finishes Party.

This week was the end of the year for The Boy's first year of preschool. Oh man, time flies! He had a great year and has wonderful teachers and staff to thank for his great experience.

I had been thinking about what to do for end of the year teacher gifts and couldn't decide. Then I was over on Berry Barn Designs at the end of May and saw Sarah's Terrific Teacher Gifts post. Of course, it hit me! I could make teacher gifts! Why hadn't I thought of this before?

blue bagNow I've only worked with zippers on a couple small projects a few years ago, so I wasn't really up for that. Instead I decided to make more of Jeni Baker's adorable Lined Drawstring Bags. I made a set of 5 bags last year. The Boy loved them and I allowed him to keep one for his matchbox cars. I figured we could use 1-2 more around here for toys. Plus six for the Primary teachers at school and one more for The Boy's gymnastics teacher. Okay, I'll make 10, I decided. This was my primary June Goal with a time-sensitive deadline of June 11 (the last day of school). I'm so pleased to have gotten it all done on time!

The bags go together pretty quickly and the instructions in the free tutorial are great. I think I'll purchase the Lined Drawstring Pattern with 8 sizes and make some larger ones next.

I pulled 40 fat quarters from my stash for these. It sure feels good to do some stash-busting. I pulled the initial 3 fat quarter groupings and got to work. Pro tip: If you're gonna do a bunch of pieces at once, assembly line style and you haven't made the pattern for a while, make just one at first, so you don't make the same mistake ten times. :-) Thankfully, it wasn't anything too major. Basically I was using non-directional prints for the main exterior pieces, so I could have cut them as a single piece, but I cut two, then had to piece and press those seams, etc. Ten times. I could have saved a little time there.

As a time saving measure I was going to use ribbon for the drawstrings, but I was having issues with the ribbon unraveling and failed to read the "use fray check" part of the directions (oops) so I ended up pulling more fabric do make the drawstrings. I do like the look of the fabric drawstrings better, so overall I'm happy with that outcome, though it certainly takes more time. Tuesday night was a late night. ;-)

Working assembly line style, I cut everything and worked through the whole pile one step at a time. This was my first pile, attaching the linings to the outer accent fabrics.

ready to stitchI chain stitched while piecing to save time and thread.chain piecingWhile making the drawstrings, I ironed them all before stitching the lengths.

making drawstrings


In the interest of saving a little bit of time, I marked my machine with tape for the last two lines of stitching. This saved me the time of marking the fabric on ten bags. A great time saver for assembly line style piecing. 2nd to last row of stitchinglast row of stitching


The Finished Bags

car drawstring bagsix teacher bagsthree bags


Part of the reason I like the drawstring bags for toys is the easy cleanup aspect. For The Girl's birthday she got this cute Green Toys Build-A-Bouquet set. It even came with a box to keep the 44 pieces in. This is what it looks like when the kids put it away.

how the kids put them awayNotice how they don't quite fit. I've tried to put them away myself... sometimes I do no better than the kids. After many attempts, this was my result.

how I meticulously put them awayTada! But this is NEVER going to happen from a 2- or 4-year old. So... voila! Drawstring bag!

Build a Bouquet Flower Bag


Since I was working from fat quarters, and using a large portion of some of them I took some time to pre-cut my leftover fabric. Inspired by Lori's post How I Save My Fabric Scraps over at Bee in my Bonnet, I have bins for 10" squares, 6 1/2" squares (I used this size so they would work with my Midi Twister template), 5" squares, 3 1/2" strips and squares, 2 1/2" strips and squares, and 1 1/2" strips and squares (though I'm not sure I really want to work with pieces this small). It felt so good to have a way to keep my leftover fabric in a usable, organized way. I look forward to some scrappy projects in the near future.

scrapsYou can see more of my June progress in this post.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation and TGIFF.

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15 thoughts on “End of Year Teacher Gifts

    1. sarah

      Post author

      Thanks, Marie. They are such a fun project. I'm sensing a giant drawstring bag for legos in my future. :-)

  1. Hi... I just recently used Jeni's tut for this bag. It's great! I did catch that business about the one way print and managed to cut only one piece there. Yours are lovely. Great idea for teacher gifts. Now that my daughter is 13, no more teachers gifts. The kids won't do that in Jr high. They think it is embarrassing.....
    I've been reading thru your blog and I really enjoy the way you write!

    1. sarah

      Post author

      Thank you, Bernie. I taught middle school for eleven years. It's all about being cool. ;-) Congratulations on starting your blog. I started mine in January and I'm really having fun with it.

    1. sarah

      Post author

      Thank you. I feel like they are so versatile and could be used for a lot of things. The Boy's gymnastics teacher plans to use hers to hold her stamps and stickers for class. That decision might have something to do with the fact that he picked out the car fabric for her. :-)

  2. Mary Elizabeth Tait

    I'm so impressed that you got all 10 bags completed, AND pre-cut the scraps for future projects. Good work! Receiving a handmade gift (without apples!) must have touched all hearts. Those bags will be used for many years, I'm sure!


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