Friday, January 15, 2010

A Little Gift

I've been busy with a few projects, a lot of which involve my friends' kids. My close friends are having a baby, so I'm working on decorating a onesie for the baby (it's the kind of onesie that folds over itself, and the outside is going to have the "Drawing #1" from The Little Prince and the inside is going to have "Drawing #2" shhh don't tell!). On top of this little treasure (and about 4 birthdays coming up in February - ahh!) My landlords have 4 kids, who frequently have birthdays. Their youngest daughter is scheduled to turn 6 on the 21st, which left me scrambling to make a present 2 nights ago. I made her a little bag with a pretty button closure that she can wear around her neck for putting her little finds into. I put a little shell in to start her off on her adventures.

This was a great project seeing as I have yet to fix my sewing machine and it was small enough to easily be done by hand. Also, I used up some pretty fabric scraps I had lying around which I thought were too small to be good for anything. Total, it took me about an hour and a half, including time to search up and down for an appropriate button, ribbon, and strap material.

Here's a quick how-to:

Thread that matches the color of the purse's exterior fabric
Pretty outer fabric (it helps if it's a heavy material)
liner fabric that compliments the bag's fabric
a button
a short length of ribbon

Cut a rectangle twice the size of the finished pouch with seam allowance (about 1/4 inch on all sides) in both the pretty fabric and the liner fabric.

Fold the exterior, pretty fabric in half so the wrong side faces out and sew up both sides, leaving the top open, so you have a little pouch. Leave the top seam unfinished, because first you have to sew the liner.

Sew the liner exactly as you did the pretty fabric, but do not turn it inside out. Since it's the liner, you want the seams to face out, because the interior of the pouch will be the visible part.

Now sew the two together. Do this by flipping the exterior fabric right-side out, stuffing the liner into the purse so it lays flat, and then folding the hems on the top of the purse over the liner. Sew around the entire mouth of the purse so the liner is sewed into the hem and the pouch looks pretty, finished and opens. If you sewed it closed, you did something wrong.

Now get out your pretty button (I used a large, wooden tear-drop shaped bead) and sew it onto the front center of the pouch. If you're careful, you won't sew it into the lining, and will sew only through the back of the main fabric. This is difficult, however, and I did not succeed in this endeavor. If I were practiced at this, I might have suggested you sew the button on before attaching the lining, but I am not so practiced.

Next, attach a pretty bit of ribbon to close the purse. Make a loop with the ribbon just big enough to close around the button when attached to the interior of the purse. Sew the ends of the ribbon into the inside of the back of the purse so that when looped around the button, the ribbon holds the purse closed.

Finally, you're going to make and attach a strap to the whole thing so it can hang from a child's neck. I braided several strands of yarn in a matching color, you can also use ribbon, or a knit cord, or just about anything you have on hand. In order to attach the strap, I sewed the ends into the inside of the bag. If I were neater and more practiced (once again) I might have done this part before sewing the lining as well, so that the sewn-in ends could not be noticed on the inside. Clearly, I have much to aspire to before becoming a professional bag maker. My advice on sewing in the strap is to go ahead and use too much thread, and use it as an excuse to reinforce the side seam. A simple X - pattern will secure the strap if layered a few times. If your pattern and button are simple, you could sew the strap onto the outside of the bag and have hanging yarn tassels.

And, voila! a little purse for a little child. A quick, easy, and have-everything-on-hand type of project. Feel free to put some nice little presents inside if you're so inclined and have little things (like shells or pretty river stones or marbles).

A Note
Since this is for a child, I'd go for reinforcing all seams. Children break things at incredible rates and are not delicate. Therefore, err on the side of building something mildly indestructible if you want it to last more than a week.

But seriously, when will I do this?
If you're wondering how I can go through so many little projects the answer is that procrastination is a powerful force of creativity. Since I have no internet to occupy my time I am left with no choice but to do crafty little things to put off things I should be doing, like cleaning, organizing, and making money on the side. Also, I work a strict 9-5 day, no more (I never put in days until 8 PM) which gives me plenty of evening time to kill, and does not pay me well enough to stifle my creativity through shopping. I hope that when I'm older, making more money, and more practical that I will not be addicted to internet and will save instead of spending.

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