Saturday, September 21, 2013

NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAN! -- a toy bag and luggage tag for Peter

For some time now, my son has been obsessed with Batman.  He has worn his Batman Halloween costume so much that I had to resew most of the seams, and he has worn holes in his Batman cape.  We own Batman DVDs, Batman clothes, and countless Batman toys.  We have watched the old show from the '60s online many many times, and did I mention we have a few toys?  Said toys are forever getting separated from each other and spread all over the place, so I decided that he needed a Batman/Super Friends toy bag similar to the Star Wars bag that helps corral the toys from the Star Wars universe.

The bag is a slightly modified version of the "Drawstring Tidy Caddy" from the Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders book Erin got me for our birthday.  I had to modify it because I accidentally cut the first pattern piece upside down and then didn't have enough Batman fabric left to recut that piece (plus the four others I needed) the right way.  I used felt for the batting (which only goes up to slightly below the handles), and used my new basting spray on it.  I'm so glad I finally remembered to buy some.

Because of my cutting error, the bag is slightly shorter than it was originally designed to be, plus there is less fabric tucked down inside of the drawstring part.  That aspect of the construction was very odd -- when you sew together the outside and lining of the bag, you do so with a THREE-INCH seam allowance, and then that chunk of fabric just languishes unseen on the inside of the bag.  The pattern justifies it by saying the extra fabric adds some body to the top drawstring part of the bag, but surely that could be accomplished with a bit of interfacing rather than wasting fabric?  Because my pieces were already shorter than they should have been, I sewed the outside and the lining together with just a half-inch seam allowance.  I don't think the bag suffers for lack of body at the drawstring part.

I also didn't like how the handles were supposed to be constructed (sew a tube, turn it right-side out, then stuff in the batting?  Huh?).  I scoffed at the instructions and then just sewed the handles by folding and pressing the fabric like I was making binding, slipping in a layer of felt, and triple-stitching lines down it.  Much easier, and no tube-turning/batting-stuffing involved.

The last strange thing about the pattern that I changed was the drawstring casing.  I read the instructions 40 times and still couldn't figure out how on earth it was constructed.  Finally, I threw up my hands and just unpicked seams on opposite sides between rows of stitching to create exit/entry points for the drawstrings.  I added two instead of the one the pattern called for so the strings could be pulled in opposite directions to securely close the bag instead of trying to teach my three-and-a-half-year-old to use a drawstring stopper.

Here is the view from the top, with the drawstring closed.

The inside was supposed to be made from the same material as the outside.  That's no fun!  Instead, I looked through my stash for a coordinating blue fabric.  I didn't have enough of any one of the random blues I had, so I cut four different blues (which kind of matched the outside with its various shades of blues).  I love the way it turned out.

Finally, I bought a hilarious backpack for Peter at Target for preschool.  They have to carry full-size backpacks (to fit all the 1,946,382 works of art they make at school), and it was a no-brainer to buy a Batman one.  Love the pecs and abs.  Anyway, we also have to label the backpack, and my usual Sharpie method wouldn't work on this black fabric.  Until I could sew a fun luggage tag, I slapped some painter's tape on there with Peter's name.  It looked totally ghetto, so I quickly stitched together a cool luggage tag from the same fabric as the bag using Craft Apple's Round Luggage Tag tutorial.

This project is momentous for me because it forced me to learn how to make buttonholes!  I didn't use the whole sensor foot because I wasn't trying to make it fit a button, but I used the buttonhole setting.  The directions in the instruction book were nice and easy to follow.  I made one on a scrap piece of fabric first, then jumped right in and made the buttonholes on the tag.  Worked like a charm!  I can now check that off of my learn to sew skills list (if I in fact kept such a list, which I probably should).

I typically don't like raw edges, but I made an exception because this tutorial looked like a quick sew.  Peter thinks it's awesome and now Charlotte wants one for her purple backpack, too.  I sewed the whole shebang shut instead of leaving it open to be able to replace the nametag inside, but to be honest I don't think there is another member of this family who really will ever use this tag.  It's yours forever, Petey Pie!  In hindsight, I probably should have printed out a cool-looking tag to slip inside rather than just scribbling with a Sharpie.  Maybe when I make Charlotte's tag I will print something out.

Aaaaaand wouldn't you know it -- just as I was tying on the new tag to Peter's backpack, I suddenly noticed a built-in nametag slot on the back of the backpack.  I put another label in there for good measure and kicked myself for not noticing it sooner.  Would have saved me a little time, but I had fun sewing the luggage tag and learning to make buttonholes!

Poor Peter is always stopping by my sewing table to see the things I make and asking, "is dat fo' me?"  The answer is virtually always "no".  Well buddy, I finally made you something!

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