Tutorial Tuesday ~ Children’s Activity Bag

October 5, 2010

I was overwhelmed yesterday at the response from all of you. I spent a lot of my day yesterday reading your stories, comments, and emails, and with each one I felt like a stone was placed in a circle of women who had gathered to begin to heal. Opening up dialogue on the subject of infant and pregnancy loss is so important, and I appreciate the way that so many of you shared your feelings.

I wanted to share two resources from yesterday’s comments. Nina shared her niece’s website Faces of Loss Faces of Hope, an amazing site dedicated to openly sharing the stories of loss, giving women and their families a voice for the children that they have lost, and a place to gather for strength and hope. Sarah Jane shared a book that friends of hers have written, Our Stories of Miscarriage: Healing with Words. The comments section from yesterday’s post shares some incredible stories, and moving words from many women. Libby shared that October 15th, at 7 pm, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I know that my family and I will be lighting candles in remembrance of those that we have lost and loved.

Today I wanted to start a new series on this blog, Tutorial Tuesday, in some ways to force myself to get back into my creative swing (I keep thinking that it is coming, and then I lose myself in some Autumn activity or the warm sunshine that is so intent of sticking around), and in some ways just to dedicate a day each week to a new and fun tutorial.

I have a few new patterns that I am working on, but alas I also have two birthday boys that will be celebrating in the next 10 days, and I am nervously working to try and finish up their gifts as quickly as I can (more on that later).

So for today, here is my Children’s Activity Bag, originally posted in the Winter edition of Rhythm of The Home. This bag has seen many modifications throughout the years, and there are bags on kitchen chairs, sewing chairs, and homeschooling chairs. The bag has been a life saver on mornings where I wanted to the kiddos to have activities, supplies, or even table ware ready to go. I have raised the pocket on the bag for the homeschooling room to hold books and supplies with more sturdiness, and have added more pockets for the kitchen table to hold silverware and utensils with ease. It is a fun and quick project, and it has brought a lot of organization to this family of mine.

Art Bag #8

As a work at home mother who home schools her little ones, I am often asked what keeps us organized, and our days flowing. One thing that I really could not survive without is organizational bags and holders that keeps the materials that we need for any given project close at hand.

As my children are getting to be a bit older (they are 6 and 4), I have tried to come up with ways that they themselves can start to be more in control of what they are doing, wearing, and eating, but without the chaotic mess of throwing their clothes all over the floor, or spilling an entire box of cereal. I decided that each of their chairs, both in their homeschooling room, as well as at our kitchen table, needed a bag on the back to hold the supplies for any activity that they might be moving into.

The Art and Activity bag is designed to hold anything from a place mat, napkin and silver wear, to drawing pads, paints and brushes. It’s purpose is to give parents the ability to choose which materials they want their children to use, and children the ability to engage in an activity, such as setting the table, with much more independence.

The construction of this bag depends solely on what type of chair that you will be using, as well as it’s exact dimensions. I will be giving the directions for the chair that we used, but I will also be adding in the additional seam allowances that you will need to modify for the size of your chair.

To start, measure the width of your chair, and the length that you would like the bag to hang at once completed. For our chair, the width was 16″, and I wanted the total drop down to be 14″. From there you will add 1″ to your width, and you will have to decide how large you would like your main pocket to be.

For our bag, we decided that we wanted the drop down to be 14″, and that we wanted the main pocket to be 10″ in length. This gave us the dimensions of 17″x24″.

Step #1

Cut both your exterior and interior fabrics to the dimensions that match your chair (again, for us this was 17″x24″). If you would like to make this bag sturdier, for heavier materials, you will want to add in the fusible webbing of your choice, and cut it to these same dimensions.

From there, you will need to decide the size of your smaller pocket. We chose a 4″x17″ pocket to hold smaller supplies like brushes, paints and pencils. Cut the pocket out and set aside.

Next, decide on the length and types of ties that you would like to use for your bag. We chose bias tape, and measured the amount of tape that we would need in order to allow for a pretty loose tie to the chair.

Step #2

Step #3

With the right sides of the fabric together, pin your ties to the main fabrics.

Leaving a 3″ portion of the fabric not sewn, and using a 1″ seam allowance, stitch around the entire bag. Trim your corners, being careful not to cut your stitches, and trim seam allowances if needed. Turn your bag inside out and press.

Step 4

Take your smaller pocket, and fold over onto the wrong side of the fabric by a 1/2″ on each side, and press. At this point you have the choice of either attaching a decorative bias tape to the top of your small pocket, or to simply fold the top over 1/2″ and edge stitch.

Now we need to fold the main fabric up to form the large pocket (We folded our fabric up 10″), press, and place your small pocket on top of your large pocket (right sides facing up). Align the bottom of the smaller pocket with the bottom fold of the larger pocket (what is now the bottom of the bag), and pin the pocket in place. Open the main fabric so that the bag is now laying flat, right sides facing you.

Step #5

Decide how many dividers you would like on your small pocket. We chose to break our pocket into thirds, and we marked accordingly using a white disappearing pen. Stitch your dividing lines to your main fabric, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Step #6

Turn the bag inside out, and using a 1/2 seam allowance, stitch around three sides of your bag, beginning in the upper right hand corner. Clip your corners, and turn the bag right side out. Using a knitting needle or chop stick, push out your corners.

At this point, you will need to fold over the side edges, just above the main pocket on both sides, and top stitch.

Trim your threads, press and enjoy!

Art Bag #6

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

agambroult October 5, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Cute! this would be a great holiday gift, I have 9 little girls to make gifts for and this just might be the thing they need.
Looking forward to more Tutorial Tuesdays to come!

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Angela October 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Oh I love it! I agree with Amy, it would make a wonderful holiday gift. I need more hours in my day!! Lovely fabric btw.
Peace, Angela

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Kelly October 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Your tutorials have always been amazing, and I am excited that there will be one every week. Looking forward to the series, and I just may join you in it as well.

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Ashlie October 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm

This one of the best step by step tutorials that I have seen. This is a great project for my girls and will be a great organizing tool for the family.
Thanks for sharing.

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Origami Mommy October 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm

This is great – such a beautiful choice of fabrics, too. Thanks for this!

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Francesca October 6, 2010 at 8:50 am

I remember this, such pretty activity bag!

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emmalina73 October 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I'm definitely going to have a try at these Heather, they are lovely! I have to know, where did you get those cute books from? Or did you make them? I love them!

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