Friday, April 29, 2011

I Spy Bag Tutorial

Remember last week when I had piles of flannel all over my sewing table?  I was pre-making I Spy bags for an activity for my workplace's Take Your Child to Work Day.

The kids spend the morning attending activity sessions held by different departments, attend a group activity, eat lunch, play games, and than spend about 2 hours at their parents' desks.  It makes for a much better day then making the poor kids follow their parents around at their desk jobs all day.  Bore-fest.

My workplace has a partnership with St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, so this year's group activity was to decorate cards for the kids in the hospital.  For my department's activity, we decided to have the kids make games for the kids at St. Chris.  Then my boss and I came across the I Spy bags and the next thing I knew I was planning out how to make them.  And planning to pre-make 100 of them so the kids could make one for themselves as well.  It took me about 3 days to make them, by the way.  I would imagine that it would take no longer than an hour if you were only going to make one.

Since I was making 100 bags, I kept them on the smaller side.  This is the template that I used.  It should be printed on legal paper.

You will need a 12" x 7" piece of fabric (I used flannel but next time I'll use something without stretch since the vinyl windows got a little wonky when I sewed them on), a 4" x 4" piece of vinyl, various treasures, and about a cup of rice (you can use plastic pellets but I thought rice was the safer choice in case any accidentally leaked out).  If you plan on attaching a card with the items to spy for, you'll also need a piece of ribbon at least 2.5" long and a keyring.  The finished bag will be roughly 6" x 6" with a 3" x 3" window.  I ordered most of our treasures from Oriental Trading: wooden fish, buttons, apples, sports ball beads, foam leaves, hearts, lucky coins, and googley eyes.  I also included paperclips and pennies.

After cutting out the rectangle of fabric, I cut out the square for the window.  What should I do with all of those squares?

Then, I cut all of the corners diagonally about 1/4", folded up the flaps, and pressed.

I placed the vinyl window over the square and pinned in place.  I pinned the vinyl on the bottom of the fabric even though I sewed with the bottom side down.  It was a bit tricky getting the pins out while I sewed, but I found that this was the fastest way to line the vinyl up with the window and the best way to keep the vinyl straight while sewing.  I also put masking tape over the throat plate on my machine so the vinyl didn't stick to it.

I used a double needle (my first time!) to make sure that the window was securely on there.  I didn't want to risk any treasures falling out!

Sewing the window in is the hardest part, so if you make it that far it's all down hill from there.  I folded the rectangle in half with right sides together.  Next, I threaded the keyring into the piece of ribbon, folded the ribbon in half, and lined the rough edges up with the edge of the fabric in between the layers.

I then stitched around the three open sides using a 1/2" seam allowance, making sure to keep a 3" opening so I could flip the bag right side out.  Next I trimmed the corners and then turned the bag right side out and pressed the edges flat.

At this point, I stitched 1/4" around the edges of the bag leaving the 3" opening so the kids could pour the treasures and rice into the bag.  You could do the same, or save this step until after you add the treasures and rice, but I think it might be a little difficult to keep the rice out of the way while stitching.

Here are the stacks of bags waiting for the kids to fill them with treasures and rice!

The kids loved making the bags and loved playing with them afterwards.  It was a success!  Aside from having the kids find the treasures that are hidden in the rice, you could have them look for specific colored items or even have them tell you a story about one of the items.  It's a very versatile toy and travels well!

Will you be making an I Spy bag for the kid in your life?


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