Monday, February 27, 2012

Christmas Book Bags

 As you all know, I'm a big fan of Pinterest.  I found a ton of ideas (3,737 pins so far!) including some wonderful ones to use at Christmastime.  One of my favorite ideas is wrapping up Christmas books and choosing one every day or every other day to open up and read.  I didn't get a chance to use this idea this past Christmas, but I was determined to get ready to use it for next Christmas.

I already had some Christmas fabric and rope on hand.  I had wanted to make reusable gift bags, but never got around to it.  I decided to use them for the book bags instead.  Even though I really love how Design Dazzle made her Christmas book bags using ribbon, I really didn't want to buy anything extra for this.  That is the reason I initially decided to use the rope for tying the bags.  My original design called for making a simple bag out of one long rectangle of fabric sewed right sides together and turned inside-out as well as a tube (or casing) which would be sewed onto the bag and used to house the rope.  After about five (out of 16) bags, I decided to ditch the rope.  Turning the casings inside-out was difficult and time-consuming.  I came up with an idea that was MUCH easier.  In the pictures below you will see different fabrics for different bags, but, in general, I used the same procedure for the remaining 11 bags.

Marking the fabric to be cut
1.  First, I used a yardstick and a sharpie to mark the fabric.  For the width of the bag, I used the width of the book plus 3 inches.  If the book was really thin, I sometimes used just two inches; if thick, I added an inch.  I wanted plenty of room for the seam allowance and ease in taking the book in and out of the bag.  For the length of the fabric to be used for the bag, I used the width of the book plus the length of the book plus 20 inches.  Sometimes in my haste or distraction, I added wrongly in my head and only added 10 inches.  It came out a little short on top, but not too bad.  I think that the 20 inches is actually a bit too much, so 15 would probably be better.  Alongside the length of the fabric for the bag, I marked out a rectangle that was two inches wide and the same length as the fabric for the bag.  This was for the tie.  I then used pinking shears to cut out the two pieces:  one large piece to be used for the bag and one smaller piece to be used for the tie.

Ironing the top edges of the bag
Making the tie -- Fold in half lengthwise and iron down.
Making the tie -- Fold the edges inward and iron down.
Making the tie -- Open the tie back up and make an "airplane fold" on each end.
Making the tie -- Fold the tie again and iron down the pointy ends.
 2.  After cutting, I took the pieces to the ironing board. I folded down the top and bottom parts of the fabric for the bag so that the opening of the bag would have a finished edge.  Secondly, I took the smaller piece for the tie and folded it in half lengthwise wrong sides together (right sides showing).  I then opened it up and folded the raw edges towards the middle and ironed them down.  I actually did that in two steps, folding in one side and ironing it and then folding the other side in and ironing it.  Then, I opened up the tie and did an "airplane fold" on the edges, folded it back together and ironed it.  This made a point on each end of the tie.

Sew the edges of the fabric bag
With right sides together, sew down the sides of the bag. Then turn inside-out.
Sew down the long side of the tie, then sew the pointy edges.
Insert the book and pinch the fabric together to figure out where the tie should go.
Pin the tie to the bag and sew across.

 3.  Now the sewing begins!  First, sew the edges of the bag fabric to make a finished edge for the bag opening.  Then fold the bag with right sides together (wrong sides showing) width-wise.  Sew each side together, and turn the bag inside-out.  Then, take the tie, and sew down the long edge.  Then, sew each end where the point is.

4.  Insert the book into the bag and pinch the fabric together above the book to determine where the tie should go.  Pin the tie to the bag.  I didn't sew straight across the back.  Instead, I left about 1-1/2" of space on either side unsewn so that it would tie better.  (I almost would like to try using elastic.  Maybe in the future when we get more Christmas books.)

These small graphics were printed onto cardstock and cut out.

I sewed the tag to the inside of the bag below the tie.
 5.  Since all of the books are of different sizes, I wanted a way to be able to quickly determine which book goes in which bag.  I went to and found graphics of each book cover and saved them onto my computer.  I then used a word processing program (Pages for Mac) to insert the graphics into a document and sized each graphic to be about 2 inches square.  I printed it out on cardstock and cut out.  My original plan was to have these little tags laminated, but I wanted to get it done NOW and figured it would be mostly unlikely that the tags would get wet (ripped, maybe, but not wet).

Here are all of the bags that I made.

This is the first one I made with my final design.

Another one of my final design.

These are my original design with the ropes.

Even though I don't think these are as pretty as the ones in the Pinterest pin (see below), I am happy with the way that they turned out.  I'm looking forward to doing this with Gracie this year.  I think she will have a lot of fun with it.  The hard part will keeping her out of the remaining bags!

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1 comment:

  1. Love them...and made those up fast..They look super cute!