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I am a major fan of B-Movies: the over-acting, the cheesy special effects, the see-through plot lines… I love it all. And, I am especially fond of B-Horror-Movies! I think this is because I could picture myself getting paid to scream like a maniac at a rubbery monster with googly eyes. When we originally spotted this Halloween movie poster fabric, we knew it was perfect for a colorful bag. This exact fabric is, unfortunately, no longer readily available, but each year there are lots of new spooky collections from which to choose, and a bag like this is the perfect excuse to use the brightest and boldest of the batch. 

We designed a soft, unstructured trick-or-treat bag with a long, adjustable cross-body strap. We use the same fabric for both the exterior and the lining. A bright safety light is looped around each strap, to help make sure your lil’ spooks can be seen when they’re strolling in the… Twilight Zone

Our tote finishes at 9″ x 13″ with 2″ boxed corners.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 yard of 44″+ wide spooky cotton fabric for bag exterior and lining; we originally used Eerie Alley Blocks in Black and Purple by Karen Foster for Robert Kaufman Fabrics 
  • 1½ yards of 1″ – 1½” twill tape (or similar) for straps; we originally used 1½” twill tape in Chevron Yellow
  • Two 1½” D rings
  • Optional safety lights; we originally used Night Ize ZipLit Safety Light (it came as a pack of two so we could hang a light on both sides)
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the spooky fabric, fussy cut FOUR 12″ wide x 15″ high rectangles, two for the exterior and two for the lining. We were very careful to center the scary posters for best visibility from both sides, remembering to account for our seam allowances.
    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our updated tutorial on the best fussy cutting tips and tricks.
  2. Cut the twill tape into one 15″ length and one 30″ length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Bag construction

  1. Place the exterior front panel and exterior back panel right sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
  3. Mark and cut out a 1″ square from each bottom corner
  4. Create a 2″ box corner at each side.

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check our tutorial on boxing the bottom of bags and more.
  5. Turn the bag exterior right side out. Press well.
  6. Repeat to create the bag lining.
  7. With the lining right side out and the exterior wrong side out, slip the lining inside the exterior so the two bags are right sides together. Smooth out both so the layers are flat and the boxed corners are even.
  8. Pin around the top, leaving a 4″ – 5″ opening at the center back.
  9. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the two layers together around the top, remembering to stop and lock your stitch at either side of the 4″ – 5″ opening.
  10. Turn the bag right side out through the top opening. Press the lining to the inside, again making sure the layers are flat and the boxed corners are even.
  11. Press in the raw edges  of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  12. Edgestitch all around the top. This will close the opening and help keep the lining in place.

Adding the straps

  1. Find the 15″ length of twill tape. Make a narrow hem on one end. To do this, turn under the end ½” and press, then turn an additional ½” and press again. Pin in place.
  2. Zig zag this end in place.
  3. At the opposite end of this 15″ length, turn under the raw edge just once by ¼” and press.
  4. Find the finished bag. Place it back side up on your work surface. Place the ¼” turned-under end of the 15″ length of twill tape at the upper right corner of the bag back. The right edge of the tape should be 1″ in from the side seam.
  5. The bottom of the tape should be 2½” from the top of the bag.
  6. Pin in place. secure in place with a 1⅜” x 2¼” box stitch. Then stitch an “X” through the box.
    NOTE: We have a full tutorial on how to make an X Box if you are new to the technique. 
  7. Find the 30″ length of twill tape. On both ends, turn under the raw edge just once by ¼” and press.
  8. Slip one end through the two D-rings. Pin in place.
  9. Fold over and stitch in place with a zig zag.
  10. Attach the opposite end to the front side of the bag in the upper right front corner, following the same steps and the same measurements you used for the attaching the back strap.
  11. Slip a safety light on each strap. Adjust the straps to fit your trick-or-treater, using the double D-rings. Send him/her out for candy.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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