Last year my grandma visited us when my husband was deployed. E was working on AWANA and we hadn’t gotten him a bag, so she agreed to make one. Now S is in AWANA and wanted his own special bag too, so I put together this DIY Bible Bag for Kids, an easy-sew tote bag pattern for you to print and use for making your own kids’ Bible bag, DIY tote bag, or handmade AWANA bag.
This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through these links, you help support the family behind Arts & Crackers at no added cost to you! Thank you!
I admit I am nowhere near as good at sewing as my grandma, and I haven’t pulled out my sewing machine in quite some time, but it is something I want to do more of and I loved getting back into it with this simple DIY Bible bag. To be honest, I may have reverse-engineered the bag she made for E a little bit, without pulling it apart. It worked out perfectly!
Even if you are fairly new to sewing, this pattern is pretty simple and straightforward. You don’t need a lot of tools, fancy sewing feet, or measuring skills, just a basic knowledge of using your machine.
This kids’ devotional, Not Even a Little White Lie, has been taught in Sunday School classes and children’s groups across the world!
This sturdy Bible bag easily fits AWANA books of various sizes (my boys are in Cubbies and Sparks — the Cubbies book is quite big and still fits perfectly.). It also works well as a Bible bag for small or large Bibles, AWANA books and a Bible, AWANA books and vests, Sunday School paperwork, or a tote bag just because.
It can be customized to your child. When we decided to make these bags, we took the boys to the fabric store, gave them a certain section they could look in (our main “rule” being no character prints), and let them choose their own fabric. We made sure it’s what they really wanted and found a Bible verse to go with it.
I’m in love with E’s new Bible bag! He picked out the fabric, out of all the fabric at the store, and helped his Great Grandma sew it before she went back home. I helped add the verse and an arrow from the USA on the back to China on the front (he loves China.) Seriously, pretty much all his idea and I am in love. Couldn’t be more perfect ?? ?—->? Mark 16:15 #artscrackers #gointoalltheworld
E really wants to visit China and tell people about Jesus, so he chose a fabric with a map on it that we customized with an arrow and verse. Patterns like this require a little more skill, as you will need to line them up properly.
S had a hard time deciding what fabric he wanted. He’d point one out, I’d ask him, “Are you sure?”, and he’d move onto another bolt. Finally he saw this fabric with hearts. It was a bit girly, pink, and of course a lot of people would say not appropriate for a boy. Not me! When he picked up that fabric, he knew it was exactly what he wanted. He even headed immediately to the cutting counter saying, “Jesus loves me.” How incredibly sweet this boy is, and his understanding of Jesus’ unconditional love humbles me.
DIY Bible Bag for Kids Easy-Sew Tote Bag Pattern
What you need:
- About 2 yards of the fabric of your choice (You shouldn’t need this much, but it’s good to have extra just in case)
- All-purpose thread to match your fabric
- Sewing machine
- Bobbin filled with matching thread
- Fabric pins
- Safety pin
- Printable pattern (below)
- Disappearing ink marker
- Fabric scissors
- Thread scissors
- Iron-on pocket or extra piece of fabric (optional)
- Puffy paint
Print and prepare the pattern. Be sure to print them as they are and un-check the “fit to page” box. Sections are labeled so you can easily tell where to attach which pieces.
Once the pattern is printed, cut the pattern out along the lines. Because printers like to add blank margins, part of the pattern will have a small overlap. Carefully trim off the left edge of the paper that has B and 2 on it so the black line meets with the edge of the paper. Do the same with the page that has C and 4 on it. You may want to use a paper cutter so your line remains straight. Do the same to the bottom of the pages with D and C.
Overlap the pages — The page with D overlaps the page with A, just until the black lines meet up (this is why we trimmed off the excess.). The page with C overlaps the page with B. Then the page with C overlaps D and B overlaps A. This will make a rectangle — the word “Top” should be on the right side. Tape the pieces together for your easy-sew tote bag pattern template.
You will also need to do this with the thin rectangles for the straps… 2 overlaps 1, 4 overlaps 3, tape those together, then place the + symbols together and tape that to form a long rectangle for the straps.
Pin the printed easy-sew tote bag pattern flat onto the fabric so it stays put, making sure you will have enough room to cut out both sides of the bag and both straps with the fabric facing the same direction. Use the disappearing ink marker to trace the shape onto the back of the fabric. Remove the pins and the pattern and carefully cut out the fabric along the drawn lines using your fabric scissors.
Do this twice for the big rectangle and twice for the long rectangle so your bag has a front and back and two straps.
Note: double-check your pattern before cutting. Make sure the words “top” are at the part of the fabric that will be the top of the bag. You don’t want your hearts crooked or your smiles turned upside down. Make sure the pattern is facing the correct way before cutting.
Begin to assemble the straps. Take one of the long strap pieces and fold it in half with the design facing inward. Use pins to keep the fabric edges in place then begin to sew along the open, pinned edge. You will not have a lot of space for overlap past the stitch line or you will have very skinny straps, so line your sewing machine foot up accordingly.
You may see in my picture that I had my foot lined up with the fabric on the right side, however, I did this first as a guide then stitched another line closer to the edge, between that row of stitches and the edge of the fabric, and removed the first layer so the strap would remain thicker and my lines would be straight. You can skip this step of adding extra stitches and removing them if you can carefully and evenly sew closer to the edge — keeping the fabric edges about halfway on the right size of the foot as you sew.
Repeat for both straps.
Using a safety pin, turn the straps right-side out (this tutorial is really helpful) then iron them flat with the seam more towards the middle than on the side of the strap as we do not want the seam to show.
Place your large rectangular piece of fabric pattern-side down and fold over a small section along the top. Do the same for both of the large rectangular fabric pieces.
Place one strap at the top of your large fabric piece. We are going to attach the straps to both sides now. Measure in a couple inches from the left of the top of the fabric and pin one end of your strap in place with the seam facing up. Do the same with the other end of that same strap, but the same distance from the right of the top of the fabric. Make sure the straps will hang properly before attaching.
Repeat this process with the other strap on the other large fabric piece. You will now have two rectangles, pattern facing down, with one looped strap at the top with the strap seam facing up.
Stitch the straps in place, removing the pin as you sew. To make sure the stitches hold tight, sew forwards a little, hit the reverse button and add a few stitches backwards, then continue going forwards until the strap is on, then reverse again for a few more stitches. Trim off the extra thread.
Place one side of your bag on the table with the pattern side up. Place the other side on top with the pattern side down. Line up the edges and pin it together with the pattern on the inside and the straps at the top. Note: do not stitch the top shut.
Starting at the top right side of the Bible bag, sew down the right edge, lining the edge of the fabric up with the outside of the sewing machine foot. Just as we did with the straps, sew a few stitches, reverse and add a few stitches backwards, finish sewing forward, then when you are finished hit reverse and add a few more stitches backwards.
I made one long stitch around the whole bag (again, don’t stitch the top because we need this open or it won’t be holding any books or papers.). When I got to the end of one side, I simply put the needle into the fabric manually, lifted the foot, pivoted the fabric manually, then continued sewing the same distance away from the edge on the next side of the fabric until I finished (two pivots total). If you prefer, you can stitch each edge separately instead.
Fold the about 2 inches of the top outward so the pattern is showing. Iron the crease in place so the fabric stays put folded.
Fold the straps back up past the top of the bag and pin them in place.
If your sewing machine is like mine, there will be a section you can pull out that allows you to sew sleeves or, in our case, bags. Place the Bible bag opening over this arm and onto the sewing machine. Stitch the top-most edge all the way around, with the edge of the fabric lined up to the right edge of the sewing machine foot, reversing to go over each of the straps twice to reinforce them, and reversing a few stitches at the start and end of sewing to keep the stitch in place.
Repeat the same along the bottom edge of the folded-over fabric so it creates a band at the top of the bag, this time lining the bottom edge of the folded fabric up with the left side of the sewing machine foot.
Once everything is stitched up and in place, trim off any extra threads or strings then flip the bag right-side/pattern-side out. Iron everything over again to make sure it’s flat and clean-looking.
If you would like to add a pocket, I recommend using an iron-on pocket and doing this after the steps above or if you can sew a pocket on your own, do this on one side of the bag before you stitch the two sides of the bag together.
If you are sewing your own pocket, you will want to cut a piece of fabric the size you want for the pocket. Place the pattern side down then iron all of the edges inward, folding the top edge down a little further than the rest. Stitch the top folded edge together so it stays in place and trim the strings. Pin the pocket onto the bag where you want it, pattern side out, then stitch carefully around the edges so it stays in place.
If you want to go the iron-on route like I did, follow the iron-on pocket instructions to attach to one side of the fabric. I recommend placing something between the two sides of the bag before ironing (this could just be the ironing board itself.).
Add a verse to match! E chose Mark 15:16 to go with his map fabric. For S, we chose a verse that was about keeping hearts pure.
We chose the verse, wrote it on another piece of paper, then wrote it carefully on the fabric using puffy paint. Be sure to place something between layers of fabric. For the pocket, I placed something inside the pocket before using the paint on it. Do this on a flat surface where you can leave it for several hours until it dries to the touch.
Having a personalized Bible bag can really make a difference in your child’s eagerness to learn, confidence, and participation, and it helps everyone to know which bag belongs to your child. It is great for Sunday School, AWANA, or you can make a tote bag just because.
This DIY Bible Bag for Kids Easy-Sew Tote Bag Pattern is simple and fun to make. It’s not just for children, either! Have an older child you want to introduce to sewing? This is a great, easy-sew beginner sewing project.