Tricks for a Great Treat Bag

Assemble a treat bag that complements your child's costume, or choose one with a favorite Halloween motif.


With felt and glue, and some simple sewing, you can conjure up a new Halloween tradition -- with no witchcraft required. Simply stitch or glue felt shapes to a felt rectangle, and then sew the rectangles to one another to create a boxy bottom, with all seam allowances left showing. Felt is durable and easy to work with so you can make a new treat bag every Halloween, or let your treat-seeker use the same one each year.

Use our pattern PDFs to re-create the sacks shown on the next few pages, or let your kids draw their own designs. Children can also help you cut out felt shapes and glue on finishing details.

Supplies

  • Felt in colors indicated for each variation, either 100 percent wool or synthetic
  • Coordinating threads
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Straight scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Ruler

Instructions

Cut two equal-size rectangles from felt. (Our bags range in size from 13 x 16 1/2 inches to 14 x 19 1/2 inches.) Using our patterns or your own designs, applique the felt shapes to one of the rectangles, with the design close to the top of the rectangle rather than centered. Lay the appliqued piece faceup on the other rectangle, and stitch the rectangles together about 1/2 inch from the side and bottom edges; leave the top edge open. Use straight scissors or pinking shears to evenly trim each seam allowance to about 1/4 inch.

At one bottom corner, adjust the felt layers so part of the bottom seam is directly on top of the side seam. Stitch edge to edge, perpendicular to the existing seams -- the farther up from the corner you stitch, the more tapered the bottom of your bag will be. Trim off the corner about 1/4 inch from the stitched line, using straight scissors or pinking shears. Repeat the stitching and trimming at the other bottom corner, cutting away an equal amount.

For handles, sew four 12- to 15-inch-long felt strips into pairs, stitching along both long edges. Evenly trim the edges with straight scissors or pinking shears. Align the ends of the handles along the top inside edges of the bag; pin and then stitch into place.

Supplies

  • Felt: yellow, orange, light green, and black
  • Light green embroidery floss
  • Light green crinkle-texture yarn
  • Needle
  • Fabric glue

Jack-o'-lantern bag pattern

Instructions

  1. Enlarge the pattern pieces and trace them onto tracing paper; cut out. Use the pattern pieces to cut the felt shapes as follows.
  2. From yellow felt, cut a 17-x-14-inch rectangle for the bag front. Using pinking shears, cut out the orange pumpkin panel pieces. Stitch the light green pumpkin stem to the top center of the bag front. Using light green embroidery floss, add running-stitch details. Trim about 3/4 inch from top of bag so the stem extends beyond the edge. Cut a corresponding rectangle (no stem) for the bag back.
  3. Lay out the pumpkin panel pieces on the bag with one of the large panel pieces at the left, one at the right, and one in the center. Referring to the Assembly Diagram as a guide, overlap the panel pieces and add the pumpkin center panel piece to the middle, matching the tops of the felt.
  4. Remove the pumpkin center panel piece and the center large panel piece, and sew the left and right pumpkin panel pieces to the bag front, stitching just along the outside edges.
  5. Add the third large pumpkin panel piece to the center and sew to the bag along the left and right sides only. Add the small pumpkin center panel piece to the middle and stitch to attach.
  6. Glue on the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  7. Join the bag front and back as described in the Basic Bag instructions, clipping about 2 1/2 inches from the bottom corners.
  8. Glue light green yarn to the front handle in a coiled pattern.
  9. Sew the embellished handle to the right side of the bag front, so the yarn "vine" appears to be attached to the pumpkin. Stitch the other handle to the inside of the bag back.

Don't be scared off by this airhead. Sewing the ghost into place before cutting away the insides of the handles makes it easy to align the handle arches.

Supplies

  • Tracing paper
  • Felt: orange, white, black, and dark blue
  • Yellow embroidery floss
  • Needle
  • Fabric glue

Ghost bag pattern

Instructions

  1. Enlarge the pattern pieces and trace them onto tracing paper; cut out. Use the pattern pieces to cut the felt shapes as follows.
  2. For the bag front, cut a 13-x-19-inch rectangle from orange felt. Cut a ghost body from white felt and stitch it to the bag front, with the top of the head at the top edge of the bag. Stitch a half-circle in the ghost head to form a handle; cut out. Trim the rest of the bag front even with the bottom of the handle. Use the bag front as a pattern to cut the bag back from orange felt (it also includes a U-shape handle).
  3. Cut black ovals for the ghost's eyes and nose; glue to the ghost, referring to the pattern and the photo for placement. Cut out the "boo!" shapes.
  4. Using yellow embroidery floss, accent each letter with three French knots. Glue the letters into place.
  5. Assemble the bag as described in the Basic Bag instructions, opposite, clipping about 2 inches from the bottom corners and trimming seam allowances with pinking shears (do not add the felt-strip handles).

Supplies

  • Tracing paper
  • Felt: white, black, light green, and red
  • Transfer paper
  • Orange embroidery floss
  • Black chenille yarn
  • Eight black buttons
  • Needle
  • Fabric glue

Spider bag pattern

Instructions

  1. Enlarge the pattern pieces and trace them onto tracing paper; cut out. Use the pattern pieces to cut the felt shapes as follows.
  2. For the bag front and back, cut two 13-x-16-1/2-inch rectangles from white felt. Working from the wrong side of the bag front, use transfer paper and a pencil to draw the web design; use orange embroidery floss to outline the web pattern in running stitches.
  3. Cut eight pieces of black yarn in varying lengths for spider legs. Referring to the pattern and the photo for placement, arrange the legs over the web on the front side of the bag front. Glue into place, stopping 1 to 2 inches from the "foot" of each leg. At the point where the gluing stops, secure a black button "knee" over each leg. (The ends of the spider legs hang freely.)
  4. Cut an oval spider body from black felt and stitch it to the bag front, covering the tops of all the legs.
  5. Glue on the spider head, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  6. Assemble the bag as described in the Basic Bag instructions at left, clipping about 3 inches from the bottom corners and using pinking shears to trim seam allowances and handles.

This scene is haunted by details: Black thread gives the tree branches a rougher, more barklike appearance, and running stitches let the red and orange leaves flutter.

Supplies

  • Felt: dark blue, brown, yellow, red, orange, and black
  • Embroidery floss: orange, yellow, and black
  • Needle
  • Fabric glue

Haunted tree bag pattern

Instructions

  1. Enlarge the pattern pieces and trace them onto tracing paper; cut out. Use the pattern pieces to cut the felt shapes as follows.
  2. Cut two 14-x-19-1/2-inch rectangles from dark blue felt for the bag front and back. Using pinking shears cut out the tree trunk and leaves. Use scissors to cut out the rest of the applique shapes.
  3. Stitch the yellow moon to the bag front. Stitch the left trunk panel and stitch in place; then overlay the right trunk panel, branches, and tree trunk center. Sew only along the edges that will show. Referring to the Assembly Diagram for placement, stitch the knothole in a spiral using a length of black embroidery floss. Stitch or glue the bat, spider body, and spider head into place. Hand-stitch the spider legs and web using black embroidery floss. Using orange embroidery floss, make French knots for the spider's eyes.
  4. Glue together the owl body, eyes, beak, and wings. Hand-stitch the feathers using yellow embroidery floss.
  5. Glue the owl onto the tree and hand-stitch its orange feet.
  6. Secure each leaf to the bag with a contrasting-color running stitch down the leaf center.
  7. Assemble the bag as described in the Basic Bag instructions, opposite, clipping about 2 1/2 inches from the bottom corners.
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