Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Toddler backpack tutorial

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
There are lots of places to go and things to do in the summertime.  Now, your toddler can be prepared for anything with this darling backpack.  Sleepovers at grandma's or just a place to carry their favorite treasures as you explore.  And the best part is, now you don't have to carry it for them.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial

You will need 1/2 yard of exterior and 1/2 yard interior fabric.  If you want to add in more fabrics, as I did, you will need various scraps or fat quarters.  For this project I used Girl Crazy by Dani for Riley Blake.   
You will also need fusible fleece, medium weight interfacing, one magnetic snap, 2 rings and 2 slides.  

The first step, of course, is always cutting our fabric and interfacing.

You need:
2- 15" X 15" pieces of exterior fabric
2- 15" X 15" pieces of interior fabric
2- 15" X 15" pieces of craft fuse
2- 14" X 14" pieces fusible fleece

2- 4" X 19" pieces of fabric for straps
2- 4" X 7" pieces of fabric for strap anchor
2- 1" X 14" pieces of fusible fleece

2- 13" X 5" pieces of fabric for flap
1- 13" X 5" piece of craft fuse

4- 6" X 8" pieces of fabric for inside and outside pockets
2- 5 1/2" X 7 1/2" pieces of craft fuse

Now you get to spend some time with your iron.

Fuse the 14" X 14" inch pieces of fusible fleece to the exterior body pieces of the backpack
fuse the 15" X 15" pieces of craft fuse to the interior body pieces of the backpack

Take the strap pieces.  Iron the pieces in half length-wise.  Unfold the piece and bring the two outer edges in to the middle crease.  Press the sides and then re-fold along the first crease, press.  Do this for all 4 strap and strap anchor pieces.  Take the two long pieces and unfold.  Put the 1" X 14" piece of fusible fleece at one end and line it up with the center crease.  Fold the fabric back up and press to fuse the fleece to the inside of the strap.

Take your one of your flap pieces and two pocket pieces and fuse craft fuse to them.

Just a bit more prep and we'll sew. :)

Take your two exterior body pieces and lay them out right sides together.  On the bottom two corners, mark a square 2" up and 2" over.  Cut out the corners.  Repeat for the interior body pieces.

Take your flap pieces and lay them down right sides together.  On the bottom two corners, use a round object (lid, plate, bowl) and trace a curve on the corners, then cut out.  *In this picture I used a lid, I would recommend something a bit larger in diameter, at least 3" across.  Repeat with the two pieces of the pocket that will be on the outside of the backpack.  Leave the pocket for the inside of the backpack square.


We are going to prepare all the pieces to get our backpack ready for assembly.

Take all 4 strap pieces, stitch along the long sides at 1/8" and 1/4" (the  1/4" line is optional, I just like the look of the double stitch lines, and I think it gives a bit more stability to the straps).  Each strap piece should have 4 stitch lines (if you did the 1/4" line).  Set aside.

Take your 4 pocket pieces.  Each pocket should have one piece that has interfacing and one piece that doesn't.  Line up wrong sides together and sew around using 1/4" seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning on the bottom of both pockets.  Clip the corners and notch the curves on the bottom of the exterior pocket.  Turn right side out and press.  Top stitch along the top edge of both pockets.  Again, I did double stitch lines, one at 1/8" and one at 1/4".

And finally, we have the flap piece.  Line up the two rounded sides, right sides together.  Sew along the two short sides and the rounded bottom, leaving the top straight edge open (1/2" seam allowance).  Clip the curves, turn right side out and press.  Top stitch around the 3 sewn edges.  Double lines are optional.  Mark a point on the inside of the flap that is 1" in from the rounded edge and centered along the length.  Use the washer that comes with the magnetic snap to mark the holes for the prongs.  Cut a small square of craft fuse interfacing and insert it into the flap so it is centered where the marks are, fuse to the wrong side of the inside flap piece.  Cut slits for the prongs and insert the magnetic snap.

Now we're ready to put our bag together.
Take the back piece of the bag exterior.  Mark a point 2 3/4" up from the bottom and 3" in from the sides.  Take your strap anchor pieces, slide the rings on and fold in half.  Line up the raw edges with marks you just made.  The straps should be parallel to the sides as shown in the picture.  Sew down using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Fold the straps up along the stitch line so they point toward the top of the bag.  Stitch down using a 3/8" or 1/2" seam allowance.  This will capture the raw edges of the strap within your stitching.   Make sure you stitch along this line 3-4 times and back stitch well.  This part of the bag will have a lot of stress.  I stitched a small rectangle down the sides and over the edge that is folded.  This is optional.  If you choose to do it, go slowly, you are sewing through a lot of layers right there. :)
Take the back interior body piece and the inside pocket.  Measure 3" down from the top and center the pocket.  I find it's easiest to do this using my clear plastic ruler.  (I made a small leash to add to the inside of this backpack using a 2" X 12" piece of fabric folded and pressed the same way the strap was, then I added a swivel clip)  Sew around the two short sides and bottom of the pocket, reinforce the top of both short sides with back stitching to keep the pocket from coming loose.
Repeat with the front outside body piece and outside pocket, this time measure up from the bottom 3" and center the pocket.  The rounded edges of the pocket are the bottom.
We're going to put the backpack together now.  For the remaining steps, the seam allowance will be 1/2".
Take the two exterior body pieces and line them up right sides together.  Sew along the bottom seam. Press the bottom seam to one side.  Line up and sew the sides of the bag.  Press the side seams in the opposite direction of the  bottom seam.
Now it's time to create the bottom of the bag.  Pull the corners of the notches in the bottom of the bag away from each other.  This will bring the bottom seam and the side seam together.  Line them up, the seams should "nest" together since they are pressed opposite ways.  Pin.  Sew along this straight edge, back stitch when you start and stop.  Repeat for the other side.

The inside of the bag comes together in exactly the same way with one small difference.  The first step of sewing the bottom seam of the bag is the only change.  Instead of sewing all the way across the seam, you will leave an opening in the seam so you can turn the bag right side out when it's all finished.  So, on the bottom seam, sew in 2" or so, then back stitch.  Then repeat it for the other side of the bottom seam.  Then follow the remaining steps as outlined in the exterior bag assembly.

It's time to add the rest of the strap.  First, take your long strap piece and the slide ring.  On the end of the strap that doesn't have the fusible fleece, slide the ring on and bring the strap down around the center post.  Fold over the raw edge of the strap 1/4" and pull it down so you have enough room to sew down the edge without the slide getting in the way.  Sew down the end of the strap to hold the slide on the strap.  Now, you're going to take the exterior of the backpack and turn it right side out.  Line up the long strap piece as shown, you want the piece of the strap holding the ring to face up.  Bring the remaining raw edge of the strap up through the bottom of the anchored d-ring.  Pull the strap through, then slide the raw edge of the strap under the bottom of the slide ring, over the center and under the top to bring it out the other side.

 Now, we're going to sew down the edge of the strap.  Line it up 4" in from the outside seam of the backpack (you may want to adjust this depending on the age/size of the intended recipient, make it closer for younger/smaller children, and wider for older/bigger ones).  Baste stitch in place.  Repeat for the second strap.
The last piece to add is the flap.  Center the flap on the exterior back side of the backpack, with the snap facing up.  Baste into place.  One final step before putting the two pieces together is to add the female end of the magnetic snap.  On the front side of the backpack exterior, make a mark that is 2 1/2" down and centered.  Use the washer to mark the prong slits, cut and insert the snap.

We're ready for the final step.
Take the backpack exterior (which is still right side out) and slide it into the backpack interior (which is wrong side out).  The back of the exterior should be facing the back of the interior.  Line up the side seams and pin around the entire top of the bag.  Sew around the bag, making sure the back stitch both sides of the straps when you come to them to reinforce them.

Pull the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.  Stitch the opening closed, and push the lining inside the exterior of the bag.  Press the top seam and top stitch around, going under the straps.
I like to do one final press when all the stitching is done.  And now we have a darling backpack that provides independence and play for our youngsters.

Thanks for letting me come play.  I hope  you'll visit me over at my blog Ameroonie Designs.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Summer {a mom-day post}

Monday, July 28, 2014
Ahh, summer.
  How I love you.
    And hate you. 
       All at the same time.

I have been very quiet on the internet of late.  Not that I haven't been wasting inordinate amounts of time on the internet.  I just haven't been adding anything to the fray.

I feel like I should have amazing adventures or elaborate explanations of what I have been up to to justify my lack of posting, updating and sharing.

The truth is, I have done next to nothing. 
I take that back, I have kept the 2 year old alive,  ALL SUMMER.  (for 2 years actually, all told)  That in and of itself should suffice.

 And still, I don't know that it's enough.

 I have been sewing.  Mostly projects for my gig at The Ribbon Retreat, which I love, love, LOVE!  I have squeaked out a few wallets this summer and various odds and ends, but nothing Earth shattering.   Oh the plans in my head!  If I had unlimited time, resources and energy- you would be WOWED!!!  I promise you!  Like- mind completely blown, wowed!  I would be rich, and famous.  And Martha and I would be tight- like sisters.  (I probably shouldn't be writing at 11 p.m., you'll have to chalk the delirium up to exhaustion)

Instead, I have played.  Mostly with the 2 year old.  While her siblings have largely been left to their own devices.  And I have loved it.  It has been quiet and mostly calm and relaxed.  No adventures, no grand plans.  I took the kids up to my grandparent's cabin for a week, where we did even less than we do when we're at home.  Ahhh, nature.

So, there you have it.  My report and explanation of where I have been and why I haven't been blogging.  I have no excuse for it, except that I didn't really feel like it. 
Sort of like this. :)

But, I'm beginning to feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future, who slowly disappears after making changes to the past.  I need to get things back on track. so I can be the full, complete, totally rocking me that I need to be to be happy.  So, expect to see me around more, that is if anyone is still here.

tap, tap (that's me, tapping the monitor)  are you still there?  Anyone?  Bueler?  (wrong movie, I know)

Leave me a quick comment if you're still here.  Let me know what you've been up to this summer.

We'll see you around.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summertime Twirl Circle Skirt

Friday, June 27, 2014
To me the Fourth of July just screams heat.  Outside at parades, picnics, barbeques, carnivals.  Right in the middle of summer, Hot, Hot, HOT!  When I was trying to think of what I would make for The Ribbon Retreat blog this time, I immediately thought of this light and breezy knit from Riley Blake Designs.
Then I thought, what am I going to make with this amazingly soft fabric?  And it came to me, or more truthfully, after I made a pair of shorts my darling 5 year old told me she hates shorts and wanted a skirt instead.  And THAT's when it hit me, A SKIRT! ;)  Not just any skirt, but a  full circle skirt with a soft yoga waistband.  Simple to make, easy to wear and absolutely perfect for twirling.
Lets make a bunch, shall we?

Summertime Twirl Circle Skirt Tutorial

Knit fabric- depending on the size of the skirt you will need 1/2 to 1 yard
contrasting knit fabric for waistband if desired- you will need a scant amount, 1/4 yard will do
sewing machine and tools

waist- all the way around
 distance from the waist to the knee

1. We need to figure out the radius of the circle we're going to cut out of the middle of the skirt.  To do this we are going to take the waist measurement and divide it by 6.28 (2 X pi)
in my example my daughter's waist measured 18", 18/6.28= 2.87
It's kind of hard to find that on a ruler, so I rounded to 2 7/8"
2. The second calculation is simple addition.  Add the radius you just found to the distance from the waist to the knee.
my example: 2 7/8" + 8"= 10 7/8"
(the amount of fabric you will need will be twice this number- - in this case 22", However, I only had a 1/2 yard cut, so instead of making a full circle, I made two half circles)

Drawing our circle:
Take your fabric and fold it in quarters.  *in my case, I'm making two half circles and sewing them together- so I only folded it in half
From the fully folded corner (if you're making a full circle, or just the folded edge if you're making half circles) you will start making marks at the distance of the radius, and the radius plus length.  Repeat at close intervals from one edge of the fabric to the other, then fill in the space between the marks to make two 1/4 circles- one using the radius and another at the radius plus length.
Cut along the lines.
Now you have your circle.  (If you made half circles, you will sew the two edges together to create a full circle)

Cut out the waistband:
Cut out the waistband fabric.  For a 2T size, I made the waist band 6" wide.  You will want to make it bigger for a larger skirt.  The waistband will be folded in half to create the band, and then folded in half again when worn, so the finished waistband height will be 1/4th the width of the initial piece you cut out.
So, for the 2T skirt: 6" X 18" (the measurement of the waist)

Sew the two short ends of the waistband together.
*an important note about the stitch to use.  Knit has some stretch to it, this is why we are using it for the waistband as well.  In order to keep our stitches from breaking as it stretches we need to use a stitch that has some give.  A zig zag stitch will work, but if you have a machine with a double overlock stitch, it will give you a better edge on your stitch line.
The arrow is pointing to the symbol for the double overlock stitch on my machine.

Mark your waistband and the inside of the skirt at the quarter points.  Fold the waistband in half, wrong sides together, put the skirt inside the waistband with right side out, matching up the quarter marks.  There might be a bit of difference in the two lengths, extra fabric on the skirt for example, this is okay, just make small gathers as it's being sewn together.

The trickiest part of this skirt is that the fabric has a tendency to roll, so make sure you pin around the whole skirt keeping the edges all lined up.

The last thing you have to do is sew around the entire waist of the skirt.
Trim your threads and you're done.  The great thing about knit is that it doesn't fray, so you don't have to finish the hem of the skirt unless you want to.

 Now you're ready for hanging out in the sun,

 or twirling around,
Or running crying through the yard to avoid having your picture taken one more time!

What will you do when you have a cute skirt too?

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