Teepee Bags

pony bags


These little teepee bags, whose zippers are approximately 8″ long, were party favors for granddaughter Laurel’s 5th birthday, a My Little Pony/Unicorn party. Ignorant as  about all things Pony, this Nana was on a steep learning curve.  Only when Laurel became enamored of the hairy, rubberized little equines did I realize that I needed to check it out.  Twenty five years ago, my Rebecca had one or two and I think that might have been the entire collection.  But now there are enough ponies to fill one of those fancy mega-stables in Kentucky.

And then there are the cousin ponies, Pegasus’ with their wings and the unicorns with their horns, each pony with its very own own name, color scheme, embellishment and bio.  Like Cabbage Patch Kids, the ponies have what is almost a cult following.  And not just in the 10 and under age group but even among some adults.    I make no judgements, mind you.  I just report what I found out on-line.

Prior to construction, the twill  fabric was first embroidered with an applique’ design from Anita Goodesign’s Baby Ponies collection.   After spending waaaaaay more time than I should have looking at these little critters on line, I selected 8 (the number of girl guests) unicorns and printed out their bios.

You can be sure the little girls checked the accuracy of the unicorn embroidery with the print out.  With saccharin names such as Sweetie Belle (Laurel’s favorite), Brights Brightly and Sunrise Song,  the unicorn assortment was intensely scrutinized before each girl made her choice.

The boys’ teepee bags were embroidered with more realistic horses on a khaki twill with a leather cord for a handle.  But back to the teepee bag itself.

God bless Mary Lou Nall for teaching me how to make a teepee bag in 1984.  The name is suggested by the shape of the bag.   I can think of no other sewing project that has been more useful to me.

Back in the early days, Martha Pullen’s first schools were only for shop owners.  At the first several of these schools, Mary Lou Nall taught a variety of invaluable tips and techniques and the teepee bag was just one.  I was teaching there as well, but managed to squeeze in Mary Lou’s class on my idle day.  I still have the one we made in class.   Mary Lou had learned about it in Switzerland from Bernina educators there.  Since then, I have seen this pattern marketed under several names, none of which is Mary Lou’s.  But I digress.

But why is this such a pattern valuable?  Because you can make it in any size, of any fabric, with any embellishment technique and for almost any purpose.  And it can be made, sans nice finishing techniques in less than 10 minutes.  Finish the raw edges by serging and you add another minute or so.
Here is the basic pattern (click on picture to enlarge):

6 responses to “Teepee Bags

  1. I’ve got to try this project! I have extra fabric and a zipper or two floating around. (Who doesn’t?!) I’m very curious about this…

  2. Hi Pat, If you want the bag to stand up on its own, you should use a heavier weight fabric, like denim, pre-quilted or poplin. But if that doesn’t matter, you can use anything. For fish line bobbers or weights, make a smaller size. Then it could be tucked into a tackle box more easily. Let me know what you think and what sort of ideas you come up with.

  3. I have made three of these bags…71/2 X15. I will put articles in them for use at the Women,s Abuse Centre. …comb , little soap, pencil and paper etc. A good way to use up scraps. How would I make them with velcro closings?

  4. Brenda, what a caring person you must be to make these bags for women in need. If I were to make a bag using Velcro, I THINK (but I’m not 100% sure) I would add the width of the Velcro to the width. That would be necessary because the Velcro overlaps, reducing the bag width, whereas the zipper simply butted each side together. Let me know if this works, okay?

  5. I love these bags and I had to post because I have a Laurel! <3

  6. Laurie, I’m glad you like these bags. This is one of the most useful little projects I have ever learned. I have made so many I couldn’t begin to count. I hope you make some for your sweet Laurel. That is a pretty name.

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