Busy Bag Tutorial 1

These “busy bags†are the perfect way to keep your kids occupied while at an older sibling’s sports game, waiting in lines, at restaurants, or waiting in the doctor’s office.  It is a pack filled with 6 quart bags.  Inside those you can put crayons, markers, stickers, wiki stix, little books, puzzles, etc.  It is the perfect go-to bag to have filled whenever you have time to fill in your kid’s day.  And this is a reallllly easy beginning sewing project.


6 Durable quart sized baggies 

21 inches of webbing

2 fat quarters (I used Michael Millers Bicycles Gray, Michael Miller Bicycle Citron on one and Amy Butler Dancing Paisley LemonAmy Butler Temple Door Fresh Mint on the other)

Fusible fleece (enough for a piece 8 ½ x 20 inches)

2 inch piece of Velcro (½ inch wide)

lighter for sealing edge of webbing


1. Cut out 2 pieces measuring 8 ½†x 20†for main and lining pieces from the fat quarter and one piece  7 1/2†x 19 1/2†from the fusible fleece.

childrens busy bags

2. Iron on fusible fleece to the wrong side of main fabric following manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Cut the webbing into two 9†pieces (handles) and one 3†piece (closure strap).

4. Measure in 2 inches from each side along the short edge of the front of your main piece and place edge of each handle at the 2†mark, with raw edges of the strap and main pieces lined up, and baste in place. Repeat with the other strap at the opposite end of the main piece.

5. Sew Velcro to the 3†closure strap piece of the webbing (finish one short end by singeing it with a flame or folding under and sewing across the edge so it doesn’t unravel. Don’t worry about the other end, it will be tucked into the seam of the bag.)

sewing tutorial for busy bags

6. With Velcro side up on the closure strap piece, place in the center of the handle pieces on one end of the main piece and baste in place.

how to sew busy bag

7. Sew the other piece of the Velcro onto the opposite end of the front of the main piece in the center of the other handle piece about ¼†from the edge.

busy bag tutorials

8. Now take the lining piece, fold in half (lining up short edges) and cut it into 2 pieces.

busy bag tutorials

9. Stack all the quart baggies, lining up the bottom edges of baggies and sandwich the ends of the baggies in between the cut edges of the lining piece (right sides together). Sew across using ¼ inch seam allowance.

busy bag tutorials

busy bag tutorial

10. Now with right sides together, pin the main piece to lining piece and sew around the perimeter leaving a small hole for turning. (Careful when sewing around the edge where the baggies are by moving them to the opposite side so they don’t get caught in the seam) **Yes the lining is now ¼ inch shorter than the main piece but not enough to affect anything so just gently stretch lining to line up with the main piece**

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11. Turn right side out and press (careful not to iron the baggies!)

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12. Finish everything off by topstitching around the entire bag.

Then go raid your kid’s playroom and fill the baggies with fun activities your child loves to do.  Here is a great list of busy bag activities from Money Saving Mom.

busy bag tutorials

car ride boredom busters

Obviously, we are dealing with baggies here so avoid sharp objects.  Then fold and Velcro it up and take it with you whenever you need a healthy distraction for your kiddos.

busy bag DIY

busy bag tutorial

busy bag tutorials (8)

busy-bag-tutorials (9)

busy-bag-tutorials (10)

For more kid-friendly ideas, check out these posts:

Custom Beyblade Organizer


iPad Holder for Your Car

Ipad holder for your car

Child’s Backpack


*Affiliate links used in this post. This is a repost from February 2016.

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  1. Do you think interfacing would work as well as the fusible fleece? Really wanting to start this one for my two daughters!

  2. These are so clever! I was looking for something very close to this. I think I might forgo looking and use your design. Thank You for sharing it!

  3. I love these!!! I hope you don’t mind me re-blogging this post. I will definitely do something like this for my kids too.

  4. You could pick up a few cheap pencil pouches during back to school season and sew those in, instead of ziplocks for a more durable but still quick and easy busy book.

  5. Hi Jave, I don’t mind you sharing my bags with one pic and a link back. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!

  6. I had a similar bag that I used to use for my toiletries that held up for 2+ years. I guess it depends on how rough your kids are on them. You can always resew bags to the center if some get ruined.

  7. I’m very new to being creative and learning to see! I have made it through the first few steps of this and am completely confused about how to sew the two pieces together and then turn it right side in…please help!

    This is such an awesome bag!

  8. Okay, so you cut the piece in half. Then sandwich the bags between the two pieces with the correct sides facing the bags. After you have that sewn, you take the first piece and then this new piece with the bags sewn in and face those correct sides together. Sew all the way around leaving a small opening for turning. Then flip it right side out. Then sew that hole closed. If that doesn’t help call me, and I can walk your through it. 317-215-5551

  9. I just made two bags for my kids, to take in the car on a road trip. Perfect item to bring with us to keep them entertained in the car as well as camping. Great tutorial!

  10. Made some of these today and they came out great! i can’t wait to fill them and give them as gifts. Great tutorial, very easy to understand. I did use a couple small binder clips to keep the baggies lined up as I sewed them to the lining. Worked great. Thanks!

  11. I just made the first one as a test. Thinking about making this as my son’s coming up birthday party’s party favor! The only down side was the zip lock bags kept slipping out from either side. So, I thought may be I should add one Velcros on each side. Then, I realized when I don’t put anything in the bags, due to the ziplock part is heavier that the bags all crumble down. Therefore, I tried out another one. I sewed the bags at the top instead of the middle. It turned out great! No slipping out from the sides. No need to add extra Velcros on the side. The only downside is when I fill the bags with goodies, it doesn’t stand up as in the picture above. I guess I will just have to display them lying down. 🙂 Thank you very much for the great tutorial and the idea!

  12. Hi Tina,
    So glad you tried out the tutorial. That’s weird about the bags. I am glad you were able to make them work in the end. Great idea to use them as party favor bags!

  13. It didn’t happened to you? The ziplock portion is heavier that if I don’t put anything in, it all crumbles down and slipped to the sides. When I put stuff in them, depends how it stands in the bags, it falls out from the sides too! It is weird that it only happens to me! Not sure what I did different? 🙁

  14. This is a really cute project! A couple questions though: did you use a particular stitch length when sewing the baggies together with the lining pieces? When leaving a space for turning the project right side out, where do you feel the best place is to leave the opening for turning? Lastly, after #11 you show a picture of a piece being trimmed but you don’t mention anything about trimming. Thank you for your help!

  15. This is something that could be useful for many different uses depending on what one puts into the bags. Thanks much for sharing!

  16. Hi Kathleen, I did not use a particular stitch length. I just set it to the default. I leave the space on the side for turning. Yes, if any of the edges is more than say 1/4″, I would probably trim. I hope that helps. Good luck!

  17. I’m having a really hard time sewing through the baggies. Any tips? Did others have this problem?

  18. You are a genius. I made one of these for a gift this morning and it was easy and fast. Now to make one more for the sister of the recipient!! Thanks so much!

  19. I am going to make one of these for some American Girl shoes and socks I’m taking to a birthday party this weekend. I think it will work out very well! Thanks,

  20. Laurie, I am so glad you are able to use the tutorial and think it’s a great idea to use it as a gift bag. I hope the birthday girl loves it! 🙂

  21. I love these, and hoping to make them for gifts for Christmas stacked with activities…. however im not a sewing person. Do you sew the bottom of the baggies? so the top of the bags aren’t attached? Sorry. Blonde moment. If they are a success, I would love to write about it on my blog with a link back, is that ok?

  22. Yes, you can definitely share one picture with a link back. I am so glad you like them! And, yes, you do sew the bottoms (see step 9). Please let me know if you need any more help!

  23. i LOVE these bags! I however would never be able to make them. Would you be willing to make 2 and let me buy them from you???

  24. thanks these look really great my grand daughters 4th birthday coming up I was trying to find something different. I will give this a go looks easy from your directions

  25. I Just made one with afew modifications… I sewed binder rings in to be able to use pencil bags instead of plastic baggies and put pockets inside both covers!

  26. Yes the pencil bags can be added or taken out at any time! I have filled pencil bags with different items( markers and paper,crayons and coloring pages , puzzles ect ) so the kids can “earn a new activity pouch” on our 1,500 mile drive!

  27. Fat Quarters are pre-cut quarter-yard pieces of fabric. They are about 18″ x 21″. You can find tons of options at craft stores like Joann’s. I hope that helps. Let me know how it comes out!

  28. Thank you for the nice tuto of the busybag. This is also usefull for sewingnotions.
    So I made one but changed some things. I sew the plastic bags on a strip of velcro, the other side of the velcro in middle of lining. So you can easily change the plastic bags.(just sew bags on a new velcrostrip).
    I also made two pockets on each side on the lining.
    Greetings from Belgium!! Viv

  29. Many Thanks for the tutorial, easy to follow instructions. Made 3 today, wish I could show them off with photos. Showed them to my husband, and he took one for his fishing thing’s, one, I turned into a first aid kit, and I’m sure my g’kids will be wanting one too!

  30. Awesome, Patricia! I am so glad you could use the tutorial and kudos to you for finding so many uses for it!

  31. I think just like Mrs. above.How things do not spill out if there is something to hold on the sides? No bags also strengthened the bag.

  32. I made one following your directions and it came out great. My ziploc bags were a different size than yours, so I had to alter the size, but that was a simple matter. Thanks for posting such a great tutorial.

  33. Really nice buzy bag and tutorials.
    I am sorry but I feel I have to warn you about using a home-made IPAD holder in the car. In case of a car crash, or just a heavy break, it is quite dangerous to keep something up in from of the face of your kid. There are special IPAD holders that you can buy that are tested not to fall out and hit your kids face.
    Really nice, but please think a step further.
    Kind regards

  34. Tracy hello, is there any way you can maybe post a pic of what you did? Sounds like a great idea and they often have neat pencil zip bags at various dollar stores and in Michael’s $1 bins. Thanks – making these for Easter gifts

  35. I am going to have to make some of these for Christmas! Such a creative idea. Thanks for sharing. I love it.

  36. I am going to try and adapt the instructions and use an old cloth placemat and some cloth zipper pencil bags that I have on hand.
    Thanks for the creative busy bag.

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