Scrap Busters #3: Bum Bags

Introducing our very first guest Scrap Buster Ele!
Ele is one of our favourite instagram sewists and has a special talent for embroidery too (her details are below, and you might like to know that she takes commissions...)

Ele walking in a sunlit woodland wearing her bum bag


My latest favourite way to use up my scraps is bum bags, or fanny packs as our friends across the pond call them. Either way, it’s a funny name for an excellent present. Bum bags have been genuinely fashionable in recent years - though any other 90s kids will remember the bright neon ones well - and they are back in.

Are you a quilter? If so, a quilted bum bag is a fun project to use up leftovers from a bigger project or using up small scraps. I’ve added embroidery to most of mine, I love how easy they are to personalise. I’ve seen an excellent leather bum bag by @juliabobbin on instagram, very chic.

Below I’ll show you some of the bum bags I’ve made, and share some links to good patterns including free options.


A bum bag in a buff coloured canvas with dark blue zip and blue and yellow embroidered flowers, all photographed in a woodland setting.


This a minimalistic bum bag with a large main compartment and a flat front zipped pocket. The pattern is all self-drafted so there's nothing to print out. It’s all straight-sided shapes (mostly rectangles) that you can draw right on to the fabric. The instructions are clear with simple illustrations to guide you through the pattern. The only complicated part is binding the insides, this gives the bum bag a lining that stays in place. I’ve found using your machine to sew down the first side of the bias, and then hand stitching the second in place is the best method. I’ve made this bum bag two and a half times - one and a half for me, and one for a gift. 

Sarah Kirsten Fennel Fanny Pack ($12) 

A photo showing the inside of the bum bag.


The outer is a leftover cotton twill, the insides are a cotton poplin - both leftovers from a pair of jeans I made. I’m an embroidery fanatic so I add it to everything (as you’ll see…) It’s also a great way to upcycle garments. For this bum bag I used what I had, which meant a dark blue zip, and I used the embroidery to bring it all together.

A smaller buff coloured bum bag with a cartoon unicorn embroidered on the front and rainbow webbing strap.


For this next one the outer fabric is a heavy calico that I used for a jeans toile, I have a lot of this! The inner is leftover from a dress I made with the Nerida Hansen Sweet Jane Gingham (now sold out) as a collab with Catkin & Scraps. I made the width 2” shorter and left off the front pocket. I added the unicorn and name and rainbow webbing suitable for an eight year old. She loved it. 


A zipped pouch made with a sage green chambray with large embroidered flowers in pink and the words 'Random Shit' embroidered on it.

Another version, without the straps and front pocket, makes a helpful pouch - I used it to put all my knitting bits (gauge, darning needles, stitch markers, snips etc) in. I used the leftovers from my jumpsuit - the Liberty Colombo Chambray. Again - a great gift.

I’m planning at least one for a Christmas present for a friend, and probably more in the near future. It only takes a gentle afternoon from start to end, and uses less than half a metre of fabric.

Below are some other pattern options - two of them are free patterns, which would make really affordable gifts. I buy the haberdashery bits (you need a buckle, webbing and zips) which you can find for under a fiver and available in so many colours! I used a brass set for my bum bag. I also used cotton webbing for mine which I wouldn’t recommend as it doesn’t have the rigidity of poly webbing.

Gathered FREE pattern

This bag has a classic curved shape with a single compartment that zips across. There are clear photo instructions to help and it is self-drafted so no printing, but you could draw out the pattern on paper before making it.

Bikepacking Fanny Pack FREE

This is next on my to make list! It has interesting loops and ties so that you can attach all the equipment you need. I’m about to make myself an anorak from waxed canvas so the leftover scraps will be perfect for this project.

Proper Fit Clothing ($2.99) 

This pattern is $2.99 but is designed for larger/masculine bodies so it has bigger proportions. It also comes with a pattern to print off if that’s your preference.

Written by Ele

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