How To Sew A Fabric Bag For A Child

Life has slowed down a little around here - Andre spent a week in bed with the flu (actual flu, not man-flu), I've been very busy working with the Love Withington Baths team (read more about the community-led campaign to save our local Edwardian swimming pool here), the girls have been busy crafting, reading and organising their toys (we spent a whole day sorting the deep litter in Eva's room into dolls, accessories, animals, monsters, craft and jigsaws), and even Enrique has been suffering from a sore leg, preventing him from enjoying his usual charge round the block every evening.

Natalia has also just come down with chicken pox, and is having a lovely time in quarantine at home ordering me around with demands for bikkits, sockies ("no not dose sockies, dese sockies"), locking me in the cellar, insisting on wearing her sister's purple trousers (too big) over the top of her tweed shorts (too small but she refuses to put them away), howling for more episodes of Peppa Pig (why are the episodes so short? Whyyyyyyy?) and generally being her usual menacingly adorable self. 

Penny, of course, has been enjoying her usual bustling lifestyle.

We have been making progress on the wardrobe - it's installed in place against the wall, the back, top cupboards and one of the main cupboards have been boarded, and I made a quick trip to Ikea last night to pick up the last couple of drawers (which were only available in store) and the internal lights, and was very pleased with myself for discovering the quick route  to the lighting area and warehouse - go through the cafe, turn right, push through a couple of unlikely looking temporary plastic doors and you're there (you're welcome...). Progress photos to follow shortly, but first, here's my latest project - a bunny dress for Eva to wear at Easter. 

The pattern and in-person instructions were kindly provided by my friend Carla, along with multiple cups of tea, chocolate Swiss roll, free babysitting, and an explanation of how to use some of the rudimentary elements of my sewing machine that I've been ignoring for the past eight years (what, that lever thingie at the side is to stitch backwards to secure your thread, who knew?).


It's reversible too...

Eva was beside herself - she knew it would be waiting when she came home from school and practically had her uniform off before she'd even made it up the front steps. 

I can't wait to see her reaction when she comes home and finds... a matching bag!

Here's how I made it. I reckon around 15 minutes of figuring out the pattern (sure, there's plenty of Pinterest versions to copy, but where's the fun in that?) and then 15 minutes of cutting, pinning and sewing. Super quick and super easy. 

I wanted to make it around 15cm wide, and 18cm high, so I added a couple of cm each way for seams and cut out two rectangles at 32cm x 20cm (doubling the width but not the height). Bunny fabric for the outer and plain white for the lining. I also made two tubes from the same fabric as the dress lining, which I ironed flat with the seam down the middle at the back. 

I had some flat wadding lying around (this is the kind of house that has wadding lying around) so I cut a couple of thin pieces and pushed it through the tubes by taping it to a pencil and pushing that through. I'm sure there's a tool that can be used for this purpose (Carla?) but I'm old-school, apparently. 

Pin the handles on top of the outer fabric. I used a ruler to position them roughly in place - you can measure it properly, if you like, of course. 

Then put the lining on top, reverse side up, and pin into place. Sew across the top about 5mm from the edge, through both pieces of fabric and the sandwiched handles.

Trim the handle excess away, and open up to take a look:

Fold in half with the outer fabric on the outside, and pull the top corner of the outer fabric back to reveal the liner underneath. Pin the two pieces of liner together.

Pull the top fabric back completely (it will now be inside out with the handles inside it) and sew along the bottom and two sides of the liner.

Then do the same on the outer fabric side. Be careful not to sew the handles by mistake - and leave a small gap at the bottom so you can turn the whole thing the right way round.

I then cut a couple of pieces of wadding into 15x18cm pieces, and stuffed them through the hole. This is akin to stuffing a tiny duvet into a tiny duvet cover, so skip this step if you're not keen. It just adds a bit of structure and makes the bag feel a tad more luxurious. Finally, I tucked the edges under and sewed the gap together with invisible stitches.

Ta da!

Eva'll probably stuff felt tip pens into it which will leak straight through the fabric, but considering how quick it was to make, I don't mind.  

Blogging done, time for more wardrobe. Got to work out how much space I need between each glass shelf to display my shoe collection to best effect; it's a critical decision.