Hi and hello! I am soooo excited (squeeee!!) and a little bit nervous to be sharing my first tutorial here on Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!Usually, you will find me hanging out over at The Crafty Kitty
, sharing my latest eco-craft, play ideas or [vegan] recipes, or preparing orders for my online organic fabric store and haberdashery, Stitch Organics
. In particular, at the moment, I am really interested in experimenting with natural dyes and sewing with my kids
It may come as no surprise then, that today’s tutorial is a project that my kids helped with as well! This little storage bag [directions given, for finished size bag of, approximately 10" width x 7" height x 4" depth], could just as easily be made up in a fabulous print and used to organise your crafting supplies, but this version, made from an organic cotton/organic linen blend poplin
and sewn up with organic cotton sewing thread
, works perfectly as personalised toy storage and play prompt.
- about half a metre (depending on width) medium to heavyweight plain fabric
- about half a metre (depending on width) medium weight iron on interfacing
- heavy weight sew-in interfacing
- vinyl or scrap plastic wallet (optional)
- bias binding (if you aren’t making your own)
- fabric crayons/fabric markers
The first thing you want to do is to cut out your fabric and interfacing. You will need 4 pieces of plain fabric and interfacing 15″ (width) x 11 (height)”. Cut a 10″ (w) x 4″ (h) piece of the heavy weight sew-in interfacing and if you are going to have a window in your toy bag then also cut an 8″ (w) x 4″ (h) piece of vinyl or see through plastic scrap from a zippered document wallet. You also need to cut 2 strips of 22″ (w) x 2″, unless you are using pre-made bias tape.
Attach interfacing to the 4 main bag pieces. Set two aside and with the remaining 2, mark out a square 6.5″ (w) x 2.5″ (h) centred and 5″.5″ up from bottom edge.
Cut out squares and set to one side, to use as the straps
Next, let the kids loose with fabric crayons or fabric markers! We chose a dinosaur theme, as we knew our bag was going to be used to store our dinosaur toys. I taped down the fabric to some board and also taped off sections, to make sure that the drawings would all be in the right place and also, so that it was easier for the kids to actually draw on the fabric! My son is only 2, so he pretty much just scribbles, so I left the main drawing up to my daughter, who is 4. She drew a volcano and some trees and we let my son add in the lava and the leaves with his scribbles. He also coloured in the fabric for the straps, and my daughter made some stripy bias tape as well as using observational drawing to mark out her dinosaur! We have been focusing on learning letters during this summer holiday, so I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass by, so I sneaked in a little letter formation practise as well.
Make the strap by folding in half, lengthwise, tucking under the raw edges by 1/4″ and then top stitching down either side of the strap. Repeat for second strap. If you aren’t making a window in your bag then feel free to just skip on down to the next set of instructions. Attach the bias binding to both front pieces of the bag (the pieces with the cut outs). Create a vinyl sandwich by placing it between the two front pieces (right sides facing away from vinyl), lining up the bias binding on the two pieces. Pin in place and top stitch close to opening as well as ‘in the ditch’ (following the edge of the bias binding). I’m a little bit obsessed with making windows in bags, since I created my nature explorer bag tutorial
Now you get to start putting the bag together! Sew the back pieces of the bag to each of the front pieces right sides facing using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Make sure you don’t catch the other bag when you are sewing these seams! You should end up with 2 inside out bag shapes, which are attached at that window piece (if you made a window!).
To give the bag a more boxy shape, you need to fold each corner shape so that the side and bottom seam are on top of each other and the bag makes a sort of triangle shape, then measure about 2″ down from the apex, to draw a 4″ line, perpendicular to the seam. Sew along this line and trim the seam to 1/4″. Repeat this until the bottom two corners of both bags are done. Sandwich the piece of heavy sew-in interfacing between the two bag bases and go over the seams you just made.
Turn your bag the right way, fold the remaining raw edges under by about 1/2″ and pin. Now take the bag straps and insert them 1/2″ between the inner and outer bags on the sides. Top stitch in place, close to the edge and if you desire, you can also add a second line of top stitching, parallel to the first about 1/2″ away.
The handles, make it really easy for little hands to grab the toy bag and go!
The construction method, means the bag is actually reversible, and if you draw “backgrounds” on the back of both the inside and outside of the bag, then you can use them as backdrops for play. If you were playing with ocean themed animals, then the window, could serve as the tank of an aquarium. These bags are going to make a great addition to our ‘summer of small world play
So, what are you waiting for? Go sew up a toy bag and more importantly… GO PLAY!