Tutorial - Jigsaw Puzzle Bags

Monday, April 16, 2012

I love kid's Jig-Saw puzzles, but sometimes I just don't want to find another piece behind the couch, underfoot or up the vacuum cleaner. We have started to keep our jigsaw puzzles in line with some custom made bags. In the interests of world peace, here's a tutorial for making your own.

Clear Plastic PVC (usually sold by the metre as table protector)
Bias tape
Matching thread
Self adhesive velcro dots
Lunchwrap paper

Sewing machine
Tape measure

Step 1 - Cut
Measure your jigsaw. Cut out a clear plastic rectangle measuring - 1 1/2" wider than the longest side of puzzle and 2.5 x the shortest size.
i.e if your puzzle measures 11" x 6" the piece of clear plastic will measure 12 1/2" (11+1.5) by 15"(6x2.5).

Scissors showing the width

The plastic needs to wrap around the puzzle once + some to create the flap

Step 2
- Wrap
Fold the plastic around the puzzle as shown above to make a pocket that is as deep as the puzzle. If it is shallower, pieces may fall out of the corners of the bag. Cut two strips of bias tape a little longer than the two sides and pin at the top to secure.

With the envelope folded, and bias tape pinned, ready to stitch

Step 3 - Stabilise and Stitch
Set your machine to the widest and longest Zig-Zag. Place a piece of thin paper (I am using lunch wrap) behind the bias tape. The plastic can cling to the plate of your machine and this paper helps to keep things moving as you sew. Beginning with a bar tack (zig-zag in one place) at the top, stitch towards the bottom and finish with a bar tack while still over the plastic.

Bar tack at end of stitching

Showing the paper attached to the back of the plastic after stitching

Step 4 - Rip and Remove
After stitching both sides, rip away the paper and get the last little bits out of the stitching with a pin. The bias tape may have stretched slightly as you stitch, so trim to length after stitching.

Velcro dots ready to go
Step 5 - Stick
Close the bag to get an idea of where the flap will finish on the bag. Again, you want this to be snug to stop pieces falling out of the corner of the bag. Place the loop side of the velcro dots on the main envelop just under the line where the flap finishes. Press firmly to make it stick, then remove the hook dots and grip them to the loops. Fold the flap over and press firmly again, to get the hook dots to stick to the flap.

For a no-sew option, you can replace the bias tape with duct tape.

I have sewn in zig-zag so that there is more than one line of stitching holes holding the side of the bag together. A single line of stitching would make removing the paper easier, but the bag would not be as strong.

Bias tape can stretch as you sew so sew from the top to the bottom of the bag to make it easier to trim any extra length. Cutting the strip over long gives you something to hold onto as you trim too.

Drop me a line if there is anything that isn't working for you or needs more detail. I'd love to hear how you get on making these.

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  1. Lovely simple idea - looks much nicer than a pile of ziplock bags rammed into a drawer! We have moved on past these types of puzzles in my house, now I am having trouble convincing my lot to ditch the cumbersome boxes that larger jigsaw puzzles come in in the interests of space-saving.

  2. What a good idea! But you know there's nothing like that 'thunk' sound as something important gets sucked into the vacuum cleaner and you have to decide if its important enough to root around in the dust bag for.

  3. Fantastic idea!! Especially that it fits the size of the jigsaw. I have shoved them all into one tub but the bits fall out then the kids get bored trying to find the pieces!


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