After making some children's beanbags as Christmas presents last year, I found I had enough leftover fabric scraps to make a handy child's bag for our young grand-daughter to take to church - useful to carry some colouring-in books and crayons to keep a little one occupied. It was a fairly quick and easy project to do :) The pattern and directions are below.
- Make yourself a simple paper pattern by cutting a rectangle measuring 28cm (11") x 31cm (12") onto some scrap paper. Cut out a small 2.5cm (1") square from the side of each bottom corner. (See Diag 1. This is your basic pattern for the front and back, and the 2 inside lining panels - there is a 1.5cm (3/4") seam allowance already included in the pattern all around.)
- Using the pattern you have just made, pin and cut out one back, one front, and two lining pieces, plus two pieces of lightweight iron-on pellon. (See Diag 1 and Diag 2. The pellon gives the finished bag a bit of padding and substance).
- Iron the two pellon pieces to the two front and back panels.
- Also cut two pieces of fabric 22cm (8 3/4") x 28cm (11") for the two crayon-holder panels on the back of the bag. (Not shown in Diagram)
- Cut two long pieces of fabric for the handles: 47cm (18 1/2") x 8cm (3")
- Cut two pieces of pellon for the handles: 45cm (18") x 2.5cm(1")
- Mark the centre line of the handle pieces by folding, then ironing them in half lengthwise, (wrong sides facing). Open these two handle pieces out and iron one of the pellon pieces to the wrong side of each of the long handle pieces so that one edge of the pellon is placed along the centre line.
- Iron a 1.5cm (3/4") hem along both sides of each long handle pieces, then fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, encasing the ironed-on pellon, then pin the open edges together. (You can see the long handles in Diag.1 pinned after doing this.)
- Top-stitch both long sides of each of the handles, catching the pellon inside and keeping the open edges aligned. (These are your finished handles.)
- Fold each of your two crayon-holder pieces in half, right sides facing, and sew a 1.5cm (3/4") seam along each open edge. Turn and press.
- Position each of the crayon-holder pieces on to the back panel, matching the raw side edges, and keeping the bottom edge of the bottom piece at least 1.8cm (3/4") away from the bottom corner, (to allow for the 1.5cm seam allowance. See Diag 3). Sew the pieces to the panel along each raw side edge, with a 1cm (1/2") seam allowance, then sew along the bottom edge of each crayon-holder piece, to further attach it to the back panel.
- Using a fabric-marking, water-erasable pen, (see Diag. 4), mark 5 equally spaced lines every 4cm (about 1 2/3") along each of the two crayon-holder pieces, then sew along these lines, to form the crayon pockets. (See Diag. 3)
- Sew each of the corners on the front and back and lining panels, right sides facing, with a 1.5cm (3/4") seam. (See Diag 5)
- Sew the two lining pieces together along the sides and bottom, right sides facing. (See Diag 6) Sew again to finish raw edges, then clip seam as needed in corners. Then iron in a 1.5cm (3/4") hem along the top edge. Set aside.
- To strengthen the bond between the front panel and the ironed-on pellon it may be advisable to quilt it in some way. In Diag 7 you can see that I used the water-erasable pen to mark a pattern on the panel that I then top-stitched.
- If you would like to paint a name on your bag, find a font you like on your computer (or free-hand the name if you prefer) and print out the name so that it fits nicely onto the front panel. (I used the font Curlz MT for 'Jacey'. I played around with it, and ended up with something like font size 220 for the letter 'J' and font size 130 for the rest of the letters. To see what suits you, try holding or taping your panel up to the screen of the computer, where you will be able to lightly see the name through the panel - see Diag 8. Adjust to suit yourself. Diag 9 also shows this method, on a different project.) Print out the name in the correct size, then pin it the the panel in the correct position, (see Diag 10), with some dressmaker's carbon paper (see Diag 11), in between. Use a pen to transfer the letters to your panel, then remove the paper and carbon and use puff paint (see Diag 12 and Diag 13), to paint the name. Allow to dry flat. (A blow-dryer can speed drying.)
- Sew front and back panels together along sides and bottom of bag, right sides together. (See Diag 6) Finish seam, turn right side out, then turn under a 1.5cm (3/4") hem along the top raw edge and press.
- Fit the lining bag inside the almost finished outer bag and match turned-under, ironed hem edges together. Position handles, then pin them to the bag and pin along the top edge. Top-stitch once all around the top of the bag, close to the edge, taking care to catch the handles and the two turned-under edges. Top-stitch once more, about .5cm (1/4") away. Your bag is almost finished!
- Using a needle and thread, handsew a few stitches to hold the lining and the outer bags together in the bottom two corners, then perhaps about half way down the side seams. This will keep the lining in place inside the bag.
- The fabric-marking pen and any smudges made by the fabric carbon paper will erase easily with a little water.
Now you are finished!