teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Friday 4 December 2015

How To Make A Santa Sack

Back in July, I wrote a Santa Sack tute for the Benartex Christmas in July blog hop, today I'm sharing the tute with you here on my own blog so you too can make your very own Santa Sack just in time for Christmas.

What's a Santa Sack?  In England, many of us have Santa sacks as well as Christmas stockings for Santa to leave our presents in and this is a huge part of my own family's Christmas traditions.  Last year, as our family has grown, I made some new Santa sacks using The Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas panel, part of the Eric Carle collection under license to Andover Fabrics and shared them here.

 Maybe you'd like to make one or two for your family too.  Here's my tute, there're lots of steps but don't be put off, it's very easy and fast too, depending how much quilting/embellishing you choose to do.

Santa Sack Tute
finished size approx 31-1/2" tall and 22-3/4" wide

cutting mat / rotary cutter / small scissors or clippers
cutting ruler / pins / Clover Clips (optional) / basting spray or pins

Below are instructions to make a Santa Sack from the Happy Holidays Snowmen fabric collection by Michele D'Amore for Benartex Fabrics but you can make my Santa Sack using any Christmas fabric and to any size you want.  To make your own measurements cut 4 pieces of fabric to your desired size (don't forget to add 1/2" seam allowance to the length and width) and 2 pieces of batting cut to the same size, you'll also need 4 border fabrics cut 6-1/2" x the width of your main fabric.  Follow the tute instructions as normal and quilt and/embellish to suit.

2 x Happy Holidays Snowmen panels - Light Teal
1/2 yard border fabric - Happy Holidays Co-ordinates - Texture Stripe Red
1-1/3 yard non-directional lining fabric - Happy Holidays Ivy Leaves - Light Teal
NB: if you're using a directional lining fabric you'll need min 1-2/3 yards
neutral thread for piecing
1-1/2 yards batting
matching and contrasting threads for quilting and decorative stitching
embellishments of your choice (optional)

Here's how the fabric looks.

TIP: As we're using three different fabrics for this project if you water spray/steam your fabrics when pressing it's best to water spray and press the fabric before cutting to avoid later piecing problems caused by possible shrinkage.  Ask me how I know - the panels didn't shrink but the red stripe did and I had to sew an extra piece to each of four borders!!!

When they arrived my panels were still attached.

There's sometimes a dividing line indicated between panels - if not create your own line half way between the two-panel designs.  Open fabric out fully to cut and separate.  This panel has a cut line marked for us. 

The cut line is pretty much 1/2" between the two panels.

Once panels are separated cut away Christmas scene squares.
Cut 1/2" below top set of squares and 1/2" above bottom set of squares as shown in the pic below.

TIP: Wondering what to do with those four left over strips of square Christmas scenes?  No problem, I have a tute here on my blog showing how to turn these sixteen squares into four sets of four drink coasters - perfect teacher Christmas gifts.  

There's absolutely no wastage from these two panels!

Measure your cut down panel - mine measured approx 30" x 23-1/2" 

From border fabric cut (4) border pieces 6-1/2" x 23-1/2" (check panel width - long border measurement needs to be same as that).  

If using directional fabric take note of direction you want each piece on inside and outside of sack and think how this top edge will look finished when folded down.

From lining fabric cut (2) pieces exactly the same size as panel (30" x 23-1/2").
For directional lining cut two panels lengthwise (30" + 30") down the length of fabric (this requires exactly 1-2/3 yard length).
For non-directional lining cut two panels width ways (23-1/2" + 23-1/2") down the length of fabric (this requires 1-1/3 yard length of fabric).

TIP: I used my cut down panel as a template rather than measuring lining fabric.

Sew bottom edge of the border to top edge of the panel using a 1/4" seam.  Repeat for second panel and two lining pieces.  Remember earlier notes on using directional pieces for border and be sure to sew correct edges together.

Press seams open.

Sew two lining pieces right sides together down two long sides and along outer 1/3 edges of the bottom - leave top edge open to form the top of the lining.

Take special care to line up seams where border sections join lining pieces.
Press seams open.

Cut two pieces of batting approx 1" larger than the panel with attached border.
TIP: Use your panel/border as a template.

Place panel on top of the batting, peel back half of panel and spray with basting spray.

Place panel back smoothly on batting - ensure pressed open seam lies flat against batting.

repeat for the other half of panel/batting.
Then baste the second panel to the other batting piece.

You can baste with pins if you prefer.

Using threads of your choice machine, free motion or hand quilt both of your panels.  You can add other embellishments, buttons, ribbons, bells, etc, go mad!  You might want to applique or use fabric paint or pens to add a name, year or special message.

I've free motion quilted my panels about 1/8" inside and outside the image detail using matching colour thread - I've detailed my thread choices here on my blog and there are more detailed photos of my quilting there too.

This is my finished quilted panel.

You can see what I've done better on the reverse batting side.

When all the quilting is done I like to add a decorative stitch along the bottom edge of the top border to hold the border fabric firmly in place.

When you've finished quilting and embellishing trim excess batting back down to original panel edges.

Place two outer panels right sides together, batting outermost, and sew around three sides using a 1/4" seam - leave top edge open.

Match border seams perfectly and the top edge of the border too.

I prefer to use pins to get a perfect seam match, I can be more accurate with pins, but I switch to Clover Clips for other areas.  If you don't have Clover Clips you can use pins throughout.

Clip bottom two corners to reduce bulk when the sack is turned out.

I like to snip a tiny clip towards the stitched corner too to give more flexibility to that corner - be sure not to clip any threads.

Press seams open - take care not to scorch batting.

Turn lining right side out - so main side of fabric is outermost

and place lining inside the 'inside out' sack so right sides are together and all borders are at the same end.

Pin together side seams of lining and sack - these should line up perfectly.  

Once two side seams are pinned hold the sack up along the top open edge and sack and lining should lie flat one inside the other.  Continue to pin or Clover Clip around the full top edge.

Sew around the edge using a 1/4" seam.

It'll now look like this!

Put hand into the opening in the bottom of the lining and pull quilted sack through it.

Put hand inside the two bags again and make sure all four corners are properly pushed outwards.

Keeping both bags pulled out from each other press joining seam.

If you did those start and end stitches on and off the fabric earlier see how nicely the fabric turns in for you without even trying.

Pin together open edge at the bottom of the lining
and sew a closing straight stitch along opening at approx 1/8".

TIP: Take a moment to clean your sewing machine, under the foot plate and inside the bobbin case. Quilting with bare batting as backing doesn't damage your machine but can leave a lot of fluff down there!  You might want to clean your needle too if you've used spray baste you can get fluff stuck on the needle too.

Put the lining inside the sack and
press two bags into correct final position.

Add a row of top stitch 1/8" around the top edge of the sack.

Repeat decorative stitch sewn along the bottom edge of the border along the top edge of the sack - this gives additional hold to keep sack and lining correctly in place.

Straighten outer sack and lining and press.

Turn down the border.

Admire your finished Santa Sack!

Leave by the tree ready for Santa to fill with fabulous pressies.

And if proof were needed - here too is a Xmas Stocking I made a couple of years ago :D

Have the very best Christmas ever!!!

You can see more pics in my original 6 October 2015 post here and my original post for the Benartex Sew in Love {with Fabric} blog is available here.

Featured on:

Clicking on an image will take you to a new page of crafty goodness :)

Disclaimer: Some fabrics used were supplied by Benartex at no charge to mbCD otherwise this post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.

Click to follow me on

Linky Parties
This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can  see where I like to share my work.


  1. Hi, Chris! I have never seen these Santa sacks before - love the whole idea! Your tutorial is so beautiful and clear, thanks for the awesome pics. I really love the fabric with the big picture panels, too. Happy holidays!

  2. I love the fabrics you've used. I don't use Christmas sacks but the panels would make great wall hangings. I love the way you've used the left over squares for coasters too. :)

  3. I love how detailed your tutorials are.
    I made my kids stocking when they were small, they still use them now and they are 21,19 and 16! They were no where near as nicely made as this though, more luck than judgement that they haven't fallen apart!

  4. Lovely Santa sack, so jolly and bright

  5. Visiting from Sew Cute, great idea to use panels.

  6. These are the cutest things I have seen in a while. What a great thing for a child to keep forever, maybe even pass them down to their children. I love it!

  7. How cute and what a wonderful tradition! Fabulous tutorial...you make it look easy!

  8. I've never heard of Santa Sacks. Thanks for sharing - the tradition and the tutorial!

  9. So cute and a GREAT tutorial. Thanks!

  10. Very cute! Love your stitch details, Chrissie. Thanks for a great tutorial!

  11. Chrissie - this is so darling! I love the fact that you used a panel! How clever! :) We featured your Santa Sack over on the FWFS blog! Thanks for stopping by and linking up!



  12. They look great, another fabulous tutorial Chrissie


I love to hear from everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts. Please leave a message to let me know you visited, it's a great way to get to know you all better too :)

Chris Dodsley

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.