Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fabric and Toddler Backpack

I. Love. Remnants. I may have mentioned that before. The first thing I do when I go to a fabric store, or a store that has fabric, is find the bins with the remnants.

Slight change in thought process ahead...You've been advised.

Many years ago I had some fabric handed down to me. I didn't know what to do with any of it, all I knew was I wanted it. So I held on to it until I could decide what to use it for. Having a baby girl and searching online for pillow case dresses definitely got me thinking about this saved-up fabric and what I could do with it. This stash started out as my "practice" fabric. I didn't know if my sewing skills were going to be any good and I didn't want to ruin pretty fabric in case I failed miserably.

I did just fine.

Now, in this stash of fabric I have some that I am at a loss as to what to do with it. Take this fabric for example. It's very girly. It's a slightly coarse fabric, not very soft like nice cotton or knits, stiff, but not hard. It wouldn't make anything that would be comfortable to wear. What was I going to do with it?

Researching sewing projects...

Then, while I was looking on one of the blogs I follow, Katherine at Sew Me Something Good, had mentioned a book she got from the library that had patterns for stuff to make for kids. Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children by Liesl Gibson. She had used it for her kids, but they were grown now and wanted to look through it again and found a pattern to make something for her niece's birthday. She made a messenger bag. I, too, want to make one of those.
Also, on the Made by Rae site she had made some toddler backpacks, and I thought they were neat. There was a pattern in the Oliver + S book for a toddler backpack. Luckily my library system carries this book and I was the next one to get it. I copied the patterns I wanted to use onto white tissue paper and made copies of the pages of instructions. I now had a project in mind for this fabric. A toddler backpack.

There were a lot of firsts with this project.
1. I had not used a pattern or tutorial or instructions that Dana had not posted on her website (
2. I had never installed a zipper in anything.
3. I don't have a zipper foot or walking foot.
4. I had no idea how this was going to turn out.

I was very pleased with the outcome of this toddler backpack project.

I didn't follow the instructions exactly. I didn't add a lining like it called for. I didn't put in a pocket on the inside, just the one on the outside. I didn't follow the instructions for that pocket either. I didn't have the supplies for adjustable straps, so I improvised and made non-adjustable straps. They are big enough to fit over an adult arm but not so big that the bag would drag too far down the back of a small child.

The zipper installation was easier than I thought. I found a tutorial on one of the blogs I follow. Ashley, from Make It and Love It, thanks for the perfect timing. I remembered, didn't memorize, how she said to do it and used her instructions instead of the book instructions. Her instructions were similar to what the book said, but easier to follow. Besides putting the zipper on upside down the first time, luckily I had only sewed one side when I realized it was upside down, it wasn't a bad process at all. I'm sure with practice it would have turned out better but it's not crooked and it opens and closes perfectly. A winner in my book!

 Looks cute on you darling! Thanks for modeling.

One for my son. He saw the first one I made and wanted one as well. I couldn't say no to that.

Perfect fit.

I didn't do a good job of paying attention when I was installing the zipper part to the backpack so it opens and closes on the wrong side, if there is a wrong side to something like that. It just feels strange. But as long as it opens and closes and I can live with it, it works.

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