This bag is perfect for little ones and their little bits of entertainment. Toddlers always have small toys, books, and crayons (not to mention rocks, sticks, and other detritus that they find fascinating) that must go with them everywhere. I whipped up this bag in less than three hours total as a gift for a dear friend’s youngest daughter’s first birthday… and that was with hand-sewing it!
If you are concerned about narrow-minded adults not appreciating your work, shorten the handles. Otherwise, your fabric choice and what you decide to put in the bag will determine if this gift is for a little boy or girl. I suggest shorter handles if it is for a boy so it isn’t confused by judgmental adults as being a “purse.” Really, it could be a satchel. Any handmade gift is a thoughtful gift, no matter the color or size. And children just love receiving things!
Just My Imagination
For the record, I made this up. It came to me as I was trying to envision what Angel Baby really liked around the time she turned one. My little doll loves a good bag to carry her stuff in. A few years ago, I saw some handmade fabric coloring book covers that included little pockets for a 12 pack of crayons at a craft bazaar. That clicked in my head as something I could do: a little purse for the birthday girl that had little pockets for the things that matter to her.
What You’ll Need
2 fabric quarters (typically sold in a 4-pack; sometimes called Fat Quarters)
Good fabric scissors
Needle and thread
Ruler or measuring tape
Wash, dry, and iron your fabric quarters. Snip off any loose threads. Use your ruler to measure and mark boxes on the fabric. You’ll want to mark: Two 12.25” x 9.25” and One 12.25” x 3”
You will use the entire piece of fabric if you draw like I did. Here’s a digital representation that is in no way to scale:
Pin the quarter you drew on to the other ironed quarter and cut along your lines. You now have two of everything! The 2.5” by full-length pieces will be your straps, the 3”x12.25” pieces will become hemmed pockets, and the four 9.25”x12.25” pieces will be your lined bag.
- Pin the two pieces meant to be pockets to create a hem.
- Pin two of the large pieces inside out on three sides.
- Fold the strap pieces with the outside in and pin.
Fourth: Sew a little
Sew along one edge of the pocket to create the top hem. With the threaded needle dangling from the pocket, pin it bottom center to the front of the unpinned bag piece. Stitch around the edge of the pocket, making sure the hem is nicely tucked in, on three sides. You now have one pocket.
I made little marks to create 6 pockets on this pocket and proceeded to sew along those marks. That took one long, shallow pocket and made it 6 skinny pockets for crayons.
Repeat this process with the other pocket, just above the first. I ended up with only 3 skinny pockets for crayons and 1 wider pocket for whatever-else the tot wanted to slip in there (Angel Baby is rarely seen without her “phone”—an old window ac unit remote that fits neatly into this last pocket).
Sew along the long edge of the straps. Leave the two ends open to turn the straps right side out.
Sew along the three sides of the large pieces that will become your bag’s inner lining.
Fifth: Pin, sew, fit, and pin some more
Pin the large piece with the two pockets facing the outer side of the final large piece of fabric, just along three sides. You will sew those three sides then turn this piece right side out.
Slide the inside-out bag into the right-side out bag. Carefully fold in the tops of these bags towards each other and pin in place. You are creating the lining.
Take those fabulous straps and position them in between pins on the top side of the main bag. I pinned mine as close to the seams as I could. Make sure the straps aren’t twisted!
As you sew along this edge, as you did with all your other sewing, keep the stitches evenly spaced and close together. This bag is going to go through a lot of use at the hands of a none-too-gentle child. Pay particular attention to where the straps are sewn to the body of the bag.
Sixth: Stuff it
Ta-da! Your handmade activity and crayon bag is complete. Feel free to turn it inside-out so that the crayon pockets are on the inside. I personally like them on the outside where the toddler can see what is in each pocket. Knowing Angel Baby, she would get frustrated when trying to stuff more things in her bag to only get caught on those pockets; if they are on the outside, the large inner pocket is free for more sticks and toys.
Note: You can do this with a sewing machine. It’ll go much faster and maybe look a little neater (depending on your hand-sewing skills). My machine is out-of-order so I went with hand stitching this cute bag. Counting the ironing and measuring, it took me two of Angel Baby’s naps to complete this bag (roughly 4 hours).
I can’t wait to make another one! Who has a little one with a birthday coming up?