After finally outgrowing an old calico bag with a Wiggles motif that I upcycled from an old t-shirt, it was time for Anna to have a new bag. My bag making skills have certainly come a long way since the Wiggles calico bag (one of my first ever sewing projects), but still I felt that something fairly simple would fit the bill.
She already has a small suitcase for trips and her back pack for kindergarten, so this bag is just for times when she needs a change of clothes or her swimming gear. Or she wants to take her entire menagerie of soft toys to the supermarket. As you do when you are four.
How lovely is the fabric? It was kindly sent to me from my sponsor Fabric Fusion. The large print was perfect for project like a bag or cushions, but I’m currently waiting for Lucy to get over that “must draw on, spill food on or damage anything nice my parents own” phase and then we will get new sofas, then I will make the BEST CUSHIONS EVER. Man, I cannot wait until that day. So this time, a bag project was the winner.
The fabric is called La Vie D’Amour Paris Streets and you can grab some here. The bikes and the houses really evoke a Paris in Springtime feel (although, something about the tall skinny houses and the bikes also remind me of Amsterdam!) There is a gorgeous white coordinate which features major Paris attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc D’Triomphe, and would be a perfect choice for Spring projects. You might also just love all things French themed, so francophiles, this fabric is for you!
The pattern for this bag is something I made up, but I wanted something user friendly for a small person, something easy to carry, and something fairly practical. I took a few pointers from this duffel bag tutorial by A Jennuine Life and the Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial by In Color Order.
A couple of things I did differently were to make the base out of oilcloth. Quilting cotton just isn’t strong enough to take the wear and tear that the base of a bag will endure, so I though oilcloth would be a good option for it’s durabililty and because it’s water proof. I had a black and white polka dot oilcloth that looked good with the pink fabric. Denim or home dec weight fabrics would also be good choices.
Secondly, I made the bag so that the straps would create a drawstring style bag but would then be sewn into the base so it could be worn over the shoulder or as a backpack. To do this I left a small gap when sewing the base and the body of the bag together, and stitched the straps in at the very end. I used some green bias binding but it’s not really strong enough so eventually I will make some sturdier straps and replace it.
In terms of measurements, I just used a dinner plate as a template for the round base, then measured the circumference to find the width I’d need for the fabric for the body of the bag. It’s probably a bit too big for Anna now but she’ll grow into it. The fabric is not babyish so she will get use out of it for several years to come without outgrowing it like she did with her Wiggles bag..
Anna is really pleased with her new bag and I am feeling rather smug that my idea to stitch the straps into the base ended up actually working!
Make sure you pop in and check out Fabric Fusion – they have a really lovely modern range and now that huge post costs have stopped many of us buying from the USA, it’s great to have an Aussie retailer stocking lots of recently released designs. Or if you are lucky enough to live in Brisbane, you can go and visit Fabric Fusion in person!