Everyone has a story to tell, here's mine sprinkled with some creative projects along the way.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Library Tote bags *a sewing project*

Oh hello there Wednesday! Looking forward to this reminder that it's midweek. It makes the counting down to the weekend exciting.
Today's post is a share on my latest sewing project.
My family and I ADORE our library! We save money by borrowing our books and videos there. You might say that it's one of our "life savers"!
About two weeks ago, my Maddie told me that she wanted her own library bag. I have this big tote that I use to carry all of our checked out materials and I also keep their cards for them. Her request made me think that maybe it is time for them to carry their own stuff. I think they can be responsible enough for it.
So with that, I decided to create them their own library bags. There's so many cute ideas on how to alter plain canvas bags in Pinterest but with my budget and trying to make the most of what I already have, I rummaged through my fabric stash and had enough leftovers of this yellow and green felt that would fit my project and so that's what I ended up going with.
I'm combining some type of tutorial with this post as I'm sure I'm not the only one that adored the final result of this project. :)
So when tackling this project, I first made notes of what I need to consider for these bags and they are:
1. It need to be a good size for the kids to carry. Not too big for their little hands but big enough to handle even the biggest books that our library might carry.
2. It needed to have a space/place for their library cards and that this space need to be efficient so the card won't be burried underneath all the books or get lost.
3. The bags need to show off some of their personality so they will be proud to carry it.
4. It needs to be an easy project for this mama to actually fulfill. :)

The supplies I used:
Felt by the yard. I didn't measure mine as it was a leftover from another project but if I were to guess-stimate, I would say, get at least 1 yard of each color you want to use.
Wide ribbon (about 1 1/2") for the top edge of the bag for a finished look.
Matching sewing machine thread.
Extra felt for the images/shape you want in the front.
Template for the shape you want on your bag. Mine was made with a Cricut cartridge. I cut out the shape first on cardstock and then traced that on the back of my corresponding felt.
Pinking shears
Sewing Machine
Wonder under (that thing that helps you stick a fabric to another)
Plastic name tag holder
Extras: button, needle, thread, marker

First step: I made a sketch of how I wanted the final bag to look like and through this sketch, I made my initial measurements. I then translated those measurements to my fabric which is:
2 pieces of 12 1/2 x 12 1/2" of felt
3 pieces of 12 1/2 x 4 1/2" of felt
3 pieces of ribbon (1- 12 1/2 in length and 2- 4 1/2 in length)
2 pieces of felt strap measuring 2 x 18"

After my measurements, I worked on my shape cuts. I had the children pick the animal shape they want, cut that out on cardstock using my Cricut machine. I added some fusible paper on the back of my felt choices. I then traced the animal shapes and then cut out the shape.

Next, I ironed on the shape/s to one 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 felt piece, centering it. I ran it through my sewing machine to give it a finished look. I also added my final touches like the button eye for my bird and the handdrawn eyes and smile on my dinosaur.

I cut the edges of the bag straps with pink shears and then ran it through my sewing  machine, creating a straight stitch on the inside of the edge, oh about 1/4" from the zigzag end.

I folded the strap in half and one of the bigger blocks of felt. This helped me figure out the center. From the center of the felt block, I eyeballed about 5" from the center and pinned each end of the strap. I then sewn it on the felt block twice (on the back side of the fabric) . I repeated this step for the other felt block.

To cover the sewing of the straps and also to give the edge of the felt bag a finished look, I sewn it the wide ribbon strap. Do this for the two 12 1/2 square felt blocks and two of the 4 1/2" wide felt blocks.
Next I sewn the side panels (4 1/2" wide felt pieces) to one of the 12 1/2" square felt block. Make sure you sew them on the back side of the fabric.  Sew them on the left and right side of the felt block. Make sure you align the tops together perfectly. This is made easier to check by the ribbons you have sewn on the top.

Then I attached the other felt block to the side panels.

The last one I attached was the bottom portion. I added the piece with pins so it won't move around while I stitch the piece to the rest of the bag. Turn over your bag and voila you have your own library/tote bag!

To add the library card pocket, place library card in the insert of the plastic name tag cover and then thread the chain link through the hole on the top. Wrap around one of the straps and fasten to close.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed my sewing tutorial. What about you?  What's your next sewing project?
Till next time,

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