Friday, August 31, 2012

B is for book. And bag. And baby!

**Update: The links to the Christmas Presents in the "50 Rock Your Socks Christmas Presents" are updated and in order now!  Sorry!**
My entry into Shwin&Shwin's Link Party  sponsored by Appliances Online.

Long, long, LOOOOONGGGG ago, one of my oldest and dearest friends had a baby shower.  She was expecting her first baby, and oh my, was she a cutie.  The mama, not the baby.  I mean, the baby was too, but at that point I didn't really know that.  Back to the story.
Her mom and sister threw the shower with a book theme - you know, those Storybook Showers that are all over?  It was like that.  I love those.  If I ever throw a baby shower (ahem, SOMEONE have a baby so I can throw you a shower...) I would use that theme.  (Who cares if the mama doesn't like books???)
And just to give you an idea of how long ago this was, the baby who is comfortably residing in the belly of the mama in this picture?
She is now eating solid foods and sitting up on her own.
Yeah.  I made this a looooong time ago...
I digress again.  So it was a book shower, and we were supposed to gift our favorite kids' book.  But I couldn't stop there.  I had to hand-make something, right?  So here is the:

"B is for Book" Bag!  With a little pocket for the library card and everything...

You'll need some sturdy material - like canvas and some cotton type material for the lining and straps.

Cut your fabric like so:
Fold your fabric in half and cut a rectangle of about 17x16.  Ish.
Do this with the canvas as well.
Then, for the straps, fold that fabric in half and cut 4 inch strips.

Here's how to make some easy straps.
1. Lay three strips on top of each other.  Sew down the short end.
2. Braid them together.
3. Braid all the way to the other end, then layer the ends on top of each other and sew them together.
4. Do this twice.  You'll need 6 strips total.  

Now, to make the library card holder.
1. Using your library card as a template, cut two rectangles of canvas and one of clear vinyl.  Make them larger than the card to allow for seam allowance.
2. In one of the canvas rectangles, cut an x shape.
3. Pin the vinyl piece to the canvas piece.
4. Sew around using a long stitch length so you don't perforate the vinyl.
5. Cut out the center of the canvas.  Zig-zag stitch around the opening, you could even do this a few times, or make the zig-zag stitch length shorter and tighter.  This will prevent some fraying.
6. (Now, for the actual pocket, for the bag, I used the liner material for the back, instead of canvas material, so it will look a little different, but it is the same method)  Hem all around the second canvas rectangle, to finish off all the edges.  Pin this rectangle to the vinyl/canvas piece, right sides together.
7. Sew around THREE sides, leaving the top UNSEWN.
8. Trim the edges down, cut the corners at an angle, and turn this piece right side out.

Now, you will pin it to the large canvas rectangle.  Pin it about 5 inches down from the top edge.  Sew around THREE sides, leaving the top open.  You now how two little pockets.  The see-through section is for the library card.  You can put library fine money in the second pocket section!

Let's start to assemble the bag.
1.  On the front side of the large canvas rectangle, lay one of your straps.  Make sure the canvas is right side up.  Position it so that the strap is down on the canvas and the ends of the straps overlap the edge of the canvas.  Make sure the straps are a few inches in from the sides.
2. Lay the lining fabric over the top of this, right side DOWN.
3. Pin all across the top edge, making sure to secure the straps into position.

4.  Do the same thing with the back of the bag - where you've already sewn the card holder.  Position the straps, lay the liner across and pin.  Then sew across both top sections, one at a time.

When you are finished, just pull the fabric through the sides - which haven't been sewn yet - to turn it right side out.

5. Now, top stitch along the top edge on the back and on the front.

6. With the right side OUT, pin up the sides of the bag.
7. Use a straight stitch to sew up each side.  Trim the excess just a little, then use your fingernail to fray the fabric.

8. Turn your bag inside out.
9. Pull the bottom corners of the bag down to form points.
10. When you hold the corner up, you can see it forms a triangle.  You will sew across the BOTTOM of this "triangle" on both sides.
11. Use a straight stitch and sew from one side of the triangle to the other.
12. This is what the bottom of the bag looks like.
13.  Now, cut off the triangles just outside your seams.

Here's the inside of the bag, versus the outside.  Make sure to fray all "unfinished" edges with your fingernail for a fun, frayed, distressed fell.

14. Now you're going to add your design.  Freezer paper stencil time!  I chose my font and printed my letters from my computer.  Then I traced the letters on freezer paper.  I cut them out with an x-acto knife.  All of you people with silhouettes or cricuts should feel REALLY lucky right now.  Iron your letters on, and use fabric paint.  Once the paint dries, peel off the freezer paper.  
I just freehand painted the books.

Now, to round out the present, I added a few more things.  FIRST, I gave mama a book, you know, to preoccupy her during early labor.  At least that's what the tag said.  If you're interested, it was this book.  
Which I loved, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I just wrapped some twine around and added a tag.

Then I included this book:

because we knew her baby was a girl.  I absolutely love these puffy board books illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church.  There is another with a little boy called "I Love You Through and Through" which is phenomenal.  Ezra owns that one and Zoe owns the little girl one.  We read them ALL the time.  On top of that book, I placed our top 50 kids book picks, entitled "The Essential Little Library".  I just made it in Pages on my mac, printed it out on card stock and covered it in contact paper to make it more sturdy.  I thought this would be a really fun resource for them as they picked out books for their girly.  I even told them on the list who "recommended" it:

Our original list was actually 100 books long, but I pared it down for them, since I wanted them to be able to easily read it and this font is TINY.  Plus, I didn't want to overwhelm the new parents...  Here is our list of Top 100 books, if you are interested.  (and just so you know, in the past few months since making this list, I have several others I'd like to add, so you may see an updated version of top 200 or something in the future...) 
You may not know this, but we are a book loving family, for SURE.  mr and I are always reading something, sometimes the same something.  The kids and I read during the day, of course, and they always get stories at bedtime.  We've asked for books for them for presents for Christmas and birthdays from now on, since we really want to build their library.  I'd love to say we own all of our favorites from this list, but sadly many of them were just checked out from the library.
So that's my gift to you!  If you want it - either to include in a book gift of your own or for your own use, feel free to right click and download or normal click and print from the internet.

This is one of my favorite handmade gifts to date.

Baby approves as well.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Veronika said...

Oh my! Just catching up on your blog now and seeing this for the first time! LOVE the post friend! Love the bag even more. :D it's our favorite!

I'm excited that you posted a tutorial be ause I've been wanting to make some matching ones. A pool bag would be one of them and we'd use the card holder for our pool passes- perfect!

Hopefully no one that went to our shower sees this, gift ever. For real. :)

Ren said...

Love the little pocket for the library card. Brilliant! Thanks for linking up to Inspire Us Thursday on The Inspired Wren.

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