Last May it was Sara’s 7th birthday, and she wished for a ‘sewing’ party with her girlfriends. I suspect this has to do with the craft night I organise with a few of my girlfriends every 2 weeks on Monday night, which involves tea and homemade cake and lots of chit-chat. Sara loves the idea of it — she always lies awake in her bed, waiting until my friends are here and secretly joins us for a bit of cake and some knitting before I put her to bed for a second time.
For her birthday party, I decided to apple-stamp tote bags with Sara and her girlfriends. I prepared the bag linings beforehand (up to step 4 below), and cut and ironed the outside of the bags in preparation as well. At the party, we let the girls stamp their own name and apple design first. When the outside of the bags were drying (see photo) we played games and had cake. Afterwards, we let the girls sew the sides of the bags using Sara’s sewing machine (step 6 below). Nothing but two straight lines, but except for Sara, none of the girls had ever touched a sewing machine before, so this was a big success! I quickly sewed the lining to the outside of the bags so all the girls could take their personal tote bag home. It was such fun to see all the tote bags the next day at school — used as gym, book or lunch bags!
As for the making of — here is a quick how-to. I used this twenty-minute-tote-tutorial from the PurlBee for the basic idea. And in the meantime, I have been making more of these bags for personalised baby presents. Fun!
1. Cut out two pieces of fabric (pre washed and dried), one for the lining of the bag (I used Ikea Berta Ruta, which I had left over from the curtains I made for Sara and Pim’s room) and one for the outside (I used Ikea Aina linen). Each piece 35 cm (14″) wide x 70 cm (28″) long. You also need two pieces of 60 cm (24″) band for the handles. This I think is a good size for kids, but if you want them grown-up size of course you can make it all bigger!
2. Make the lining of the bag first. Stitch the handles to the short sides of the fabric using a zig-zag stitch — see picture — make sure the right side of the fabric is on the outside.
3. Sew fold on either side of the piece of fabric, thus creating the handles (so you’re folding them towards the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric). My fold was 4 cm (1 1/2″).
4. Sew sides of the lining together. You have now created the lining of the bag!
5. Stamp apples on the other fabric using fabric paint — make sure to stay away 3cm (1 1/4″) away from the long sides (for the side seems), and 5cm (2″) from the short side (fold for the top) and also keep in mind that one side of the bag will be facing up, and one will be facing down.
6. Make sure the paint is properly dry, before you iron the bag in half, and fold over and iron the top of the bag. Stitch through the sides of the outside of the bag as in the picture below. (Fold 4 cm or 1 1/2″)
7. Insert lining into bag.
8. Sew the outside and inside of the bag together.
9. You’re done!