Tag Archives: birthday

Mini drawstring backpack

5 Aug

I have four family members with birthdays in the first two weeks of September… I have finally learned to start my sewing before the last weekend in August! Here’s the first item: a small backpack for my niece (this is the view of the back to show off the eyelets)

This is about 12″ tall – I think it’s the right size for a two year old!

I tried to use the same Hobbycraft tutorial as I used when I made my nephew’s elephant print backpack a couple of years ago.

Warning: that is a very difficult to follow tutorial. As I’d done it once before I thought I’d be ok but it took me three times as long as it should have because I kept unpicking it and redoing it. I eventually stopped following it and decided to record my method here. I maybe didn’t take enough photos to call it a tutorial, but here goes..!

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of outside fabric, 12*14″ each
  • 2 pieces of inside fabric, 12*14″ each
  • 2 pieces of coordinating 4mm or 6mm cord, 1m each
  • 2 eyelets, ideally 8mm but 11mm will do
  • Coordinating thread, a needle for thick material (I used size 100), a hammer, a safety pin.

If you want a bigger bag, you should also get longer cord.

Sew, with right sides together, the bottom (short edge) of your two outside pieces of fabric together – I use a 1/4″ seam allowance. This will give you one piece of fabric that is 12*27.5″. Then do the same with your inside pieces. Press seams flat.

Place the two 12*27.5″ pieces of fabric together, right sides together. Pin along the long edges, matching the centres up as in the photo below. Now sew along the two long edges (again I use 1/4″ seams) but do not sew along the short edges. Then turn this tube inside out and press the side seams.

Line up the centres/bottoms of the inside and outside fabrics before pinning (it’s folder over here to demonstrate the two long edges in one photo)

Now, we create the channel for the drawstring cord. Place the fabric with the lining fabric facing up, and fold/press one of the short edges over 1/4″, as in the photo below.

Fold over the outside fabric onto the inside fabric by about 1/4″ and press.

Then fold it over another 1″, press and pin.

Now you have to sew the bottom of this fold over, fairly close to the edge so you leave a nice spacious channel for the drawstring to go in later. This stitching will be visible on the outside of the bag so go carefully – and in the photo below, you want to measure the distance from the right (open) edge as this is what matters when looking from the outside – I tried to sew at 7/8″ all the way down.

Sew a 7/8″ channel for the drawstring

And do the same at the other end, it should be the same size – once you pin it, and before you sew it, fold it over and check against the other end.

I forgot to get a photo of the next bit, sorry, but now is when you sew up the final open edges. Now, you want to fold the tube in half so the two drawstring channels meet each other, it should now look like your bag is inside out but the long sides need to be sewn up.

Pin the long edges – these edges will be visible inside the bag, so try to pin it neatly. When you sew it, make sure your stitch starts *just* below the drawstring channel and goes all the way to the bottom to create the bottom corner of your bag. I again tried a 1/4″ seam. Do this along both sides, and turn it inside out and push out the corners. It should now look recognisable as a bag!

Now to put the bag straps through the drawstring channels.

Using a safety pin makes it much easier to thread the drawstring

Next, push the safety pin through one end of the drawstring cord, and thread it through one drawstring channel (e.g. left to right at the back of the bag) then when it comes out the other end, thread it through the other drawstring channel (e.g. right to left at the front of the bag). I’ve tried to show this in the picture below – one cord is the green line, one is the blue.

Now for the really fun bit – putting the eyelets in! The hole should be about an inch diagonally from the corner of the bag, at the back – the eyelet goes through the back outer and lining layers, but you shouldn’t see it from the front.

I recommend looking at the instructions for whichever ones you have, I used Prym 11mm and they have nice YouTube videos that are really helpful.

Then you just have to thread your cord through the eyelets, tie a knot in the end (adding bead spacers if you are worried it might squeeze through the eyelet). And you’re done!!

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Kids’ name bunting

8 Sep

This month my niece and nephew have their birthdays, and their mum asked me to make them some bunting with their names on.

As it had to fit on their door I only had about 36″ length to work with – for 9 letters!

For each set I needed:

  • 18 triangles 4″ tall and 3.5″ wide – 10 in one fabric and 8 in a coordinating fabric e.g. light and medium pink
  • A 7″ square of one of the triangle fabrics to make bias binding for the bunting string
  • About 2″ by 12″ of whichever fabric you want the letters in
  • About 2″ by 12″ of a contrasting fabric (e.g. dark pink) to use to make the outline on the letters
  • Pinking shears
  • Matching thread (light-medium)
  • Fabric glue and/or paper-backed fusible interfacing
  • Letters to trace
  • Craft knife and cutting mat

I had most of these fabrics in my stash, except the lighter letter fabrics which I got from the market in Durham.

First, I cut out the triangles using a rotary cutter, and sewed each pair together up the diagonal ends about 5mm from the edge. Then I trimmed the diagonal edges with the pinking shears. Since the width of the bunting was limited, I wanted to make the most of the space, and so this worked better than having seams on the inside, and it sits flatter.

Then, I had to cut out the letters. I used the Microsoft font Impact, in bold with a black outline and coloured in white, in about size 200. I was going to print it off and cut out the letters, to trace onto the fabric but then I realised: I recently bought a tablet, so I could trace the letters off that! It worked perfectly, as it is backlit it is really easy to see the outlines of the letters. I downloaded an app called Touch Lock (on Android) to make sure that I didn’t move the screen or zoom in etc while tracing. Important to remember when tracing: you might need to reverse/mirror the letters (I did, writing on the paper side).

I traced the letters onto the paper-backed webbing, ironed them onto the fabric, and cut the letters out using a craft knife. Then, I ironed the letters onto right side of the darker / contrast fabric, and ironed paper-backed webbing onto the wrong side of the darker / contrast fabric. Then, I cut out the letters in the contrast fabric close to the original letters, to give a nice outline. I then ironed the letters onto the triangles.

Next, I had to make the bias binding. I used the technique from So-sew-easy, using a 7″ square of fabric. I pinned the triangles into the binding and sewed one line down the bias binding close to the open edge.

I should have used the fabrics on the blue one differently -the navy polka dot triangles should have been swapped with the medium blue pattern outlining the letters, which would have helped the letters to stand out more – it is more readable in real life though so I am happy.

Also, when making the blue one the paper-backed webbing just wouldn’t stick. So instead of freaking out I bought fabric glue and I think it’s great! As I wasn’t intending to sew around the edges of these, the glue is better as it is stronger, especially if kids play with it and lead to it needing to go in the washing machine – I have no idea how the interfacing would hold up in the wash.