Now that young sir is getting older and more interested in such things, I’ve been trying to come up with fun crafts for the two of us to do together. This one is really simple, and cheap, so you can easily make a whole load of them and ring the changes.
For the kids part you will need:
- Plain fabric, natural fibres will hold the colour best. I used the unbleached cotton from IKEA, at only £2/m it has become my go to fabric for so many projects!
- Fabric markers
For the adult part you will need:
- Thread, either coordinating or contrasting, is entirely up to you.
- Sewing machine, or a needle if you want to do it by hand.
- Some form of ribbon or string for cinching the bag closed.
(Note: I say adult part, but if you have slightly older kids they might also enjoy this part of the project, with some guidance and supervision from you!)
First of all decide how big you want your bag to be. We went for a rectangular bag of 18cm (width) x 25cm (height) so I cut my piece of fabric 40cm (width) x 30cm (height).
Then comes the messy part! I highly recommend using old newspaper or cardboard under your fabric as the pens can leak through and you won’t want it on your floor or table! Then just grab a pen and have at it! I drew some shapes and objects (I was under strict instructions what to draw) and young sir coloured them in.
When we were finished I ironed the fabric to set the ink and make it permanent. If you skip this stage the ink will come out in the wash, which you could use to your advantage, for example draw an outline of something, set it, then the kids can colour it in differently each time and it will wash out.
Next I made the casing for the ribbon along the top of the bag. My ribbon is 15mm wide so I made the casing 20mm to make sure there was going to be plenty of room. I made it very simply by folding over and ironing down a section about 5mm wide from the top raw edge. Then I folded over the 20mm section and ironed again. By using the ironing technique you can save yourself time and effort as the fabric needs minimal pinning and only one line of stitching to create a casing with enclosed raw edges.
At this stage I inserted the ribbon as I find it easier to pull it through in a straight line, rather than trying to work it round a bend once the side seams are sewn.
Then sew up the side seams. You have a couple of options depending on what kind of finish you want, I decided to sew a double line of stitches with the raw edges folded over, but you could also use a single line or do a French seam. I used a French seam to sew up the bottom of the bag as that’s the seam that will be under the most stress when the bag is full. To do this I sewed the bag closed with the wrong sides together, turned it inside out, clipped the excess seam allowance and sewed again with right sides together. For more in depth instructions on French seams check out my tutorial here.
(I switched to red thread so it would be easier for you to see where I sewed.)
Then simply turn your bag right side out, tie a double knot in the ribbon, pack your teddy bear (or whatever treasures need carried!) and you’re good to go!