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Sewing idea for beginners: 0,5 things from 4 m of fabric

Sew a gym bag, a lanyard, a pouch and a belt out of half a meter of fabric. That will not do? Go then! And here we show you how with step-by-step instructions. It is not particularly difficult and therefore perfect for beginners to sew. In the end, you sewed four wonderful things yourself and didn't waste a bit of fabric - I promise! A PDF file of the instructions with even more pictures for the individual steps can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

Sewing idea beginner's bag

Sewing idea beginner keychain

Sewing idea beginners belt

Sewing idea beginners gym bag


Before you get started, first take a look at the illustration to see how the fabric is divided. You can mark the individual pieces with fabric chalk, for example, and then cut them to size. The best way to do this is with a rotary cutter and a patchwork ruler.


1. Belt sewing instructions

Sewing instructions belt

The colorful belt made of African fabric makes plain-colored classics and basics a real eye-catcher in your wardrobe! 


  • African fabric (approx. 10 cm * 117 cm)
  • Belt buckle or two square rings
  • Sewing machine, if necessary iron, sewing thread, pen, scissors, pins, tape measure, if necessary iron-on fleece


To determine the correct length of your belt, you can either measure one of your belts or measure the circumference of your hip and add 15 cm (if it is tight, 10 is enough).

Now cut a piece of the African fabric with the determined width and 10 cm height. First fold this piece lengthways in the middle so that the right side is on the outside (if you want to reinforce the belt with iron-on fleece, you can iron this lengthways on the inside to one half). 

Now fold the two edges inwards again and iron them smooth with the iron (see below). The edges must be in such a way that the belt easily fits through the buckle (with our buckle 3,5 cm).

Now sew the fabric (just about) together at the edge. Sew up the two short edges as well.

Sew belt attach buckle

Then put one end of the belt around the belt buckle as shown in the picture and secure it with a pin. Make sure that the back of the buckle is facing up. Now sew this on.

The other end can also be sewn over again for a nicer finish before threading it through the other side of the buckle.

Sew a belt

The new color accent for your outfit is ready!

2. Sewing instructions for the gym bag

Sewing instructions for gym bag

Our classic - and a great start for sewing beginners!


  • African fabric (90 cm * 40 cm)
  • Cord (approx. 4,4 m)
  • Two eyelets (8 mm)
  • Sewing machine, hammer, iron if necessary, sewing thread, pen, scissors, pins, tape measure
  • The finished bag is approx. 40 cm * 37 cm in size.

Sew gym bag


Cut a piece of the African fabric with the dimensions 90 cm * 40 cm. Fold in the middle (crosswise) and fold inside out left to left (!).

Now the sides are sewn. A piece must remain open on the upper sides for the drawstring. To do this, make a mark after 9 cm. Set the side seams close to the edge (approx. 0,5 cm from the edge). You can pin the sides in place beforehand.

Sew gym bags to miss cornersThe four open edges are then individually missed. To do this, use the zigzag stitch and set a short stitch length (see above). Now the bag is turned inside out.

At a distance of 37 cm - i.e. 1 cm from each side - the sides are sewn again (see below). This way we will have clean seams on the inside later on. It is important that the first seam (0,5 cm from the edge) is completely hidden by the second seam (therefore 1 cm from the edge). The whole thing is also called a French seam. Also make these seams only up to the 9 cm mark.

The open edges now have to be sewn around. To do this, they are folded upwards (i.e. towards the left) and a seam is set at the same height as the last side seam. Repeat with all four edges.

Now the drawstring for the cord is sewn.

To do this, the two upper pieces of fabric must be folded down (a little over the 9 cm mark). In addition, fold the lower edge inwards to get a clean edge. To make it easier for you to sew, you can go over it with the iron and / or peg it with pins.

Now sew once all around the lower edge with the sewing machine. If you have trouble with the two transitions or the parts are apart, just lock, put down and start over.

Now turn the bag over again.
For better stabilization, you can also provide the two transitions with a cross seam. Sew back and forth a few times.

In the next step, the two lower corners are sewn, in which the eyelets for the cord are then attached. To do this, either fold the fabric as shown in the picture and sew along the crease or make markings in both directions after approx. 7 cm from the corner and connect them diagonally with the seam.

Sew a gym bag, attach eyeletsNow the eyelets are attached. For this you need a pair of pliers or a hammer and the appropriate eyelet tool. With the latter (see picture) you can first pierce a hole in the center of the sewn triangle with one attachment. Then both parts of the eyelet (one from each side) are connected to the other attachment.

Sew a gym bag, pull the cord throughNow all that's missing is the cord. Divide this in half (remove 10 cm for the bag beforehand!). Now start from one side and thread the cord once around until it comes out again on the same side.

Tip: it works great with a slim ballpoint pen in which you pinch the end of the cord (alternatively use a safety pin). Repeat the same with the second half from the other side.

Sew a gym bag, knot the cordPull the two cord ends on each side through the eyelets from behind and knot. You can easily adjust the length.



self-sewn gym bag

self-sewn gym bag

self-sewn gym bag

self-sewn gym bag

3. Sewing instructions for the pouch

Sewing instructions tobacco pouch

For all of you who are just beginning to sew - or those who still need a quick but personal gift!


  • African fabric (approx. 28 cm * 36 cm)
  • Cord (approx. 10 cm)
  • One button (about 2,5 cm in diameter)
  • sewing machine, if necessary iron, sewing thread, pen, scissors, pins, tape measure

Sew tobacco pouch, fasten loopAND HOW TO DO IT:

Cut two pieces of the African fabric with the dimensions 28 cm * 18 cm. Place the first piece with the right side up and make a mark on the upper short side in the middle. Now attach the cord or ribbon to the marked spot as shown in the picture (length downwards: 5 cm). If the button is smaller, adjust the length of the cord accordingly.

Sewing instructions tobacco pouch, sew on loopNow place the second piece of fabric on top (right inwards) and pin in place. Remove the first needle again. Now get stuck all around. In order to turn the bag later, an opening (approx. 5 cm) must remain open at the bottom. Now sew all around once along the needles - except for the opening (see picture). Carefully sew back and forth a few times at this point with the cord.

The bag can now be turned through the small opening. Now sew the edge of this side again with the sewing machine to also close the opening. You can now also smooth the pocket with the sewing machine. Then fold up the lower third (approx. 9 cm), fix with pins and sew together on both sides. Make sure that the pieces always lie nicely on top of one another and that both sides are sewn.

Tobacco pouch sewing instructionsNow turn the bag over and sew the button onto the lower end (above in the picture) by hand. Before doing this, test again to see where the button and ribbon are best

If you already knot the thread after the first stitch, the button is fixed and sewing on is easier.

Your bag is ready!

self-sewn cosmetic bag

Sewing your own tobacco pouch from African fabric

Tobacco pouch DIY

Tobacco pouch sewing instructions for beginners

4. Sewing instructions for key rings

Sewing instructions sew a key ring

It is not uncommon for small pieces of fabric to be left over when sewing. This key ring shows that these don't have to disappear in the wastebasket!



  • African fabric (4 cm * 28 cm)
  • key ring
  • One eyelet
  • Sewing machine, sewing thread, hammer and eyelet attachment or eyelet pliers, scissors, pins, tape measure


Cut a piece of 4 cm * 28 cm from the African fabric. Then fold the piece in the middle as shown in the picture above, so that it faces right sides. Then the two long sides must be sewn with the sewing machine.

free sewing instructions keychain

Now the sewn piece can be turned over. Now fold the two sides at the open end inwards (if necessary fix with the iron, but does not have to) and put a loop as shown in the picture below on the left.

Secure one end (the open one) to the side of the other end with a pin and sew. Now turn the piece over and poke a hole in the lower corner with the punch pliers or hammer and the attachment.


Sewing instructions keychainIn the next step, bring the two parts of the eyelet together from both sides and secure with a hammer or pliers. Pull the key ring through the eyelet ...


DIY sewing instructions for keychains… done!









Photos: We would like to thank the DaWanda Blog for providing the images for this blog article.

Download the complete instructions with even more detailed pictures as a PDF here!

Adobe Acrobat document (1.0 MB)



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