Welcome back to another Vacation Christmas reveal. I was far busier over the past two months than you might have guessed based on the frequency of my posts here. Now that we’re traveling to Missouri and delivering gifts, I can show you what I’ve been working on. These were the second of three types of gifts I made for the 10 nieces and nephews Carl and I have between our two families.
Boys are hard to sew for. I never know what to make. It seems like 90% of the projects out there that are age appropriate (6–10y.o.) are also very girly. But, when I came across Chez Beeper Bebe’s Nature Explorer Bag, I knew I’d found my project. In the right colors and fabrics, it’s perfectly boyish, but still useful. It’s also relatively quick and painless, which was awesome, because at Thanksgiving, Carl’s sister announced that she’s engaged and he has two boys of his own, so that upped the number of these bags to five!
And then, after downloading the instructions provided, I almost scratched the whole idea. Why? The font used for the directions! Call me a design snob if you want, but legibility is about 50%. Way too much eye strain, but then, you get what you pay for and this is free, right? So, I copy and pasted the text into a word processor, which screwed with the order, but I made do.
As with the girl’s bags, I made each bag using colors the different boys like—which were far less varied than the girls’. Rather than applique, I machine embroidered their first initial above the D-ring strap (so, so excited with my new sewing machine, still). I made zero changes to the pattern—I was in assembly line mode at this point, what with the house move and Christmas fast approaching.
I was very concerned about being able to get all the pieces cut out of a half yard of the exterior fabric (~44″ width). There is very little waste, and if you have to square up your fabric much, you might be out of luck. Your best bet is to cut it into a 4½″×WOF strip, and an 11½″×WOF strip. You’ll be able to get the sides/gussets and the medium interior pocket out of the small strip; the outside pieces, other interior pockets, and accordion pockets come out of the larger strip; and you should have one last strip leftover that is just wide enough for the pocket flap templates (which seem to be about 2.25″ tall).
The navy bags were easier, because I was working with 60″ linen and cutting out multiple bags, so I adjusted the cutting layout on my own—it only required 1 yard for three bags.
The black bag uses home dec twill, the navy ones are a medium/heavy linen I’ve had stashed away for a while, and the beige is an apparel bottom-weight twill (which might have a bit of poly in it). The orange and red interiors are homespun, the dotted one is a very light-weight cotton twill apparel print, and the striped is quilter’s cotton. I used matching solids (if I remember right, Kauffman Kona Red, Lagoon, and Orange) for the binding, and a mix of cotton/poly strapping in close-enough colors.
Here they are once again, so you can see the details of each.
I really want to recommend this as a project to make if you are looking for a boy-appropriate bag, but only if you have good eyes and a penchant for reading curly fonts or understand how/have the ability to copy and paste the text into something else. They do go together pretty swiftly once you get the hang of accordion pockets. Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite ¼″ double-sided webbing was an amazing time-saver for turning under the seams on all the pockets and having them stay folded until I could sew them. I think it is my absolute favorite notion in the world right now.
Have you made this bag? I want to see! Do you have intense feelings one way or another about fonts used in patterns?