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Art Bag #8

This easy and quick sewing project has been a favorite of mine since it first appeared in Rhythm of the Home so many seasons ago, and this year I wold like to surprise each of my boys with a new Art and Activity bag for their individual supplies and needs. I am thinking that perhaps we need to embroider their names on the top, just to keep the peace and the organization in check. I also plan to add in a heavy duty interfacing to make this bag a bit more sturdy than in the past. I have learned that these rough and tumble boys of mine need all the heavy duty gear we can give them, no matter what they are using.

As a work at home mother who homeschools 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.

With four kiddos ranging in age from 10 to 4 months, I have tried to come up with ways that each kiddo 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.

Please note, if you would like your bag to be extra sturdy, I would advise at this point to add stabilizer or interfacing to your project. Choose which weight would work best, and add it in before sewing the above directions. 

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


On the Needles, By the Bed

September 19, 2012

I am joining Ginny for Yarn Along, as I have just taken one of my favorite sweaters off the needles; Beyond Puerperium. This pattern was a blast to work with, and who doesn’t love a sweater that knits up in a few days time? The neck line is something new and different, and I love the way the buttons come down the side. I chose to knit shorter sleeves because I was just too excited to get this sweater off my needles and onto Landon’s back, and I figured it would be the perfect transition sweater for the cooler days ahead.

Every time I knit with Malabrigo, I wonder why I use anything else. The yarn is so soft that I find myself wanting to cuddle it while I knit. It is sturdy, holds it’s shape so well, and is a thick enough wool for knits that will be worn in cold weather. The colors are pretty amazing, and this blue was no exception. I have a few more skeins, and I intend to do a long sleeve version of this sweater in the coming weeks.

As for the pants, well they were Landon’s wedding pants when I visited Boston in July, and they have been a favorite of mine since. They are a light white linen with just a bit of applique on the bottom. I love how something simple like two circles of fabric  and a little Steam-a-Seam can turn a relatively boring pair of pants into something pretty lively.

On the needles now is a project that I am afraid I might have been a little silly to knit in September, but I just could not resist. While I was out at an author signing a few weeks back for Joanna Johnson’s third book, Phoebe’s Birthday, I came across her second book as well. I have no idea how I missed that Joanna had written a second book, but it is well worth the read. The boys love these three books, and the knitting patterns are as good as they get. Landon is about to be the lucky recipient of Freddie’s Coveralls, and they are so popular in my house that Jacob keeps begging me to adapt the pattern to his size. Something about my almost 9 year old in knitted overalls just doesn’t seem to be working for me, but we shall see.

By the bed is Elevate the Everyday. I have loved playing more with photography, especially as Landon seems to have the art of posing down well. This is a great book by Tracey Clark on the joys and techniques for capturing the everyday moments of motherhood, and I am loving every page I read.

Cold weather knitting is on it’s way, and I just can not wait to see what comes off my needles, and yours.