Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bags for Teachers

Thursday is Emily's last day of school and we wanted to make 
some thank-you-we'll-miss-you gifts for her incredible and 
wonderful teachers. It occurred to me that with a blog name 
like ikat bag, one would expect that there'd be, well, bags on 
it. I haven't been sewing bags as much now as before, mostly 
because the kids are so inspiring to make toys and clothes for. 
But a reader commented that she'd like to see some totes, 
so I took some pictures while on this project.

Emily drew a picture of her three teachers and wrote her 
name backwards at the bottom. I scanned the picture into 
the computer, sized it, printed three copies on transfer paper 
and ironed them onto muslin. The muslin pieces were then 
sewn onto canvas, framed with the lining fabric 
and sewn onto the bags as pockets.

I realize I am partial to blues and greens - they remind me of 
the sea, which I used to live rather close to and now miss. 
I am also partial to a high solid-to-print ratio in my 
fabric projects, so the print got relegated to the lining. These 
are reversible totes to give the teachers the option of not 
displaying their likenesses to the general public. Reversible 
totes are not extra fancy, by the way, nor do they require 
special sewing skills. If you can make a fabric receptacle 
that has no exposed raw edges, it is, in theory, reversible, see?

Whenever I make totes, I like them to be sturdy and almost 
rigid. They shouldn't need to have stuff in them to make 
them keep their shape. The straps, especially, drive me 
bonkers if they are soft and floppy. I got a bit fanatical 
with these - used enough interfacing to make them 
as stiff as swords.

Today we are going to bake a batch of chocolate-and-pecan-
dipped shortbread to pack into these bags before delivering 
them to the teachers tomorrow. And when the kids are 
napping (fingers crossed!) this afternoon, I'm going to work 
on the long-handled hands-free versions of these bag (so they 
sling over the shoulder) for my mother-in-law and a future 
giveaway. If anyone is interested in the pattern - and I use 
the term loosely because bag patterns are really a bunch of 
rectangles! - leave a comment and I'll try and do one of those 
printable sketch thingybobs when I post pictures of 
the long-handled versions next. 

Not bag-related at all, but for Emily's classmates, we made 
some stickers. Which is really an excuse to show you all my
Xyron sticker maker* which I found many, many uses for in 
spite of not being a scrapbooker, like these stickers 

* You can slash that price if you get it from craft stores with discount coupons.


  1. I love those bags(& as a teacher I would be more than delighted to receive one!!!)

    Would certainly love a tutorial, without which I would have no chance

    Chris x

  2. I'd love to see a tutorial too! I've tried sewing a few bags (small ones) and love it!

  3. I love the idea of having them be reversable. Something like this would be cute to make for grandmas and aunties. A tutorial would be awsome!

  4. I love the idea! My daughter is moving from her preschool group where she's been for 2.5 years to go to Kindergarten in August and this would be a great way to thank her teachers. Thanks so much for the idea and I would really love to see how you made them. Thanks!

  5. Once again, you save the day. As preschool is drawing to a close, I'd also thought of making some totes for teachers but couldn't quite put my finger on what I wanted them to look like. Then I come here and bam! Perfect! Love the drawing, transfer paper idea, solid-to-print ratio, everything! They're just perfect!

  6. I have come over from a craft blog where your flower bed was featured and I was blown away with that creation. It is amazing and something that I am sure brings much enjoyment to your children. I have since been checking out your tutorials and patterns. I printed off your cardboard cake template as I knew my little girl would absolutely love this. This morning, she coloured and put stickers all over her cardboard cake and we had a ball. I will feature it on my blog soon and of course reference the idea to you.

    The bags you made for your childrens teachers are beautiful and functional. The teachers that receive these are so fortunate to receive such wonderful and personalised handmade gifts. What a perfect way to express your gratitude.


  7. Aww that is so sweet! I love the drawings!

  8. Nice cheery bags ! Yes, tutorial please. I love the idea of using E's drawings on them.

  9. Wow, the colors are so beautiful.


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