Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Spy Bag Tutorial

First of all, I'm very proud of myself for actually finishing a craft that I set out to make. We're all busy and it's hard to find time for these sorts of things. Despite staying up late to finish them, I had so much fun making these! I'm not giving them to the kids until we're in the car and on our way to Georgia in the hopes that they'll play with them longer if they've never played with them before. However, I was so excited that I showed the finished bags to Ella. She loved them yet she understood that she couldn't have it until our car trip. I also think it would be great to make smaller versions of these to use as party favors.

These are really simple to make. Here are the instructions if you want to make one yourself. There are many different ways to make these, but this is how I made mine.

Here's what you need:

Fleece, about 1/4 a yard - you'll have a lot left over - I actually cut up old fleece pajamas for Ella's I Spy Bag. I like using fleece because the edges won't fray and it's durable enough to handle my kids squishing the bags around.

Poly Pellets - you can find these at Hobby Lobby. They are usually in the same isle that has all the doll parts for making your own dolls.

Clear Vinyl, not too thin, not too thick - you can purchase vinyl at Hancock Fabrics or Joann's. Another great idea is to re-purpose clear vinyl packaging (such as the bags that shower curtains come in)

Small, non-sharp, fun items for your child to find in his bag - sea shells, buttons, erasers, coins, jingle bells, etc.

1. Cut out two pieces of fleece to the size of your choosing for your bag, in whatever shape you want your bag to be. I've seen squares, circles, rectangles (like mine), stars, etc. I wanted a larger I Spy bag so I cut mine to 6" x 8".

2. On one of your pieces of fleece, cut out the viewing hole where the vinyl window will go. As you can see, I cut out a diamond shape on my daughter's bag and a circle on my son's. I traced a cup to get a perfect circle on my son's bag.

3. Cut a piece of vinyl that is much larger than the hole in the fleece. You can trim it after you sew it on the fleece. Pin vinyl onto the wrong side of the fleece to hold it in place (and try not to poke yourself like I did - twice).

4. At your sewing machine, sew vinyl onto fleece. The vinyl tends to stick to the machine so you have to carefully guide it as you are sewing. You can just sew one stitch around the window, but I chose to sew several stitches for two reasons: one, I like the way it looks and two, I wanted to be sure that nothing inside the bag would find its way out.

5. Trim excess vinyl. Place the two pieces of fleece wrong sides together. Since this is fleece, we do not have to sew it inside out. The edges will be out since they do not fray. But hey, this is your bag so sew it anyway you want. It helps to pin the pieces together before you sew so they don't move around.

6. Sew a seam using a straight stitch about 1/2 inch in, leaving a 2 inch hole so you can put in the small toys and poly pellets.

7. Fill your bag! Helpful tip: I used a funnel to pour in the pellets. Don't put too many pellets in or else your child will have a hard time moving the pellets around to find the toys.

8. Sew the hole. Sew a second stitch about 1/8 to 1/4 inch away from the first, closer to the edge of the fabric. This reinforces your bag and helps insure that none of the insides will find their way out.

9. You're done! Yes, it was that simple!

These bags would be perfect as birthday gifts, stocking stuffers, party favors, car ride toys, etc. I think they would also be great for the all-too-fun waiting room at the doctor's office. I'll be sure to let you all know how my kids like them when we go on our trip.

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