Monday, September 18, 2017

2nd Busy Book

Much earlier this year, my mom and I made another quiet book for Jo. (See the 1st one here.)  We did a lot of planning first, then some shopping, and finally, got sewing. All the machine sewing was done by me, while all the hand-sewing was done by my mom. She has serious skills!

Below each picture, I'll link to the source for the idea.

We decided on a blue theme for the backgrounds, and chose this cute patterned felt for the covers:

Each page has 3 grommets, which are all held together with binder rings.

We also created a hook-and-loop closure to hold everything inside, which - considering the weight of some of these pages - was a very good idea!

Spread 1:

The first page is her name:


...with removable letters. The 'O' makes a great toddler bracelet, by the way.

The next page is a family tree. Behind each flap is a picture of a family member.

We combined several ideas: Source 1 Source 2 Source 3

Jo loves this page, but she's not very quiet about it, as she points to the pictures and shouts, "Dada! Mama!"

The pictures are protected behind clear vinyl squares. My mom hand-sewed down each vinyl square individually, so it wouldn't be too hard to swap out a picture if we want an update.

Spread 2:

A rainbow of zippers!


We used an old holey mattress pad for the clouds.  My mom added some silver thread for raindrops.

The next page is a little garden, with carrots and radishes.


They all can be pulled up or planted again, and have twine roots securing them to the book. I sewed a small piece of popsicle stick inside each vegetable to give them a little extra stability.

I left a flap at the bottom, so we can easily access the root system if need be.

Spread 3:

This page features a lacing exercise (which she hasn't figured out yet).


And underneath is a cute giraffe!

Source - while we were inspired by her giraffe idea, we thought this one was cuter.

With removable bow-ties!

The next page teaches counting (and Roman numerals, too, just for fun).  Jo really likes to move the beads around.


Spread 4:

I made a little vest with functioning snaps!


The pockets are real, too, and are a great place to hide a little surprise snack.

The last page is just full of fun things to look at and feel. We considered making this an 'I Spy' page, but decided that at her age, this is just as much fun. This page accounts for most of the bulk and weight of this book. (And a side note: it's not super quiet when it gets moved!)


Each section has a double layer of white tulle. This holds everything securely, but still allows things to be felt and moved. The top section holds just a bunch of random, fun, colorful items.

This one has rainbow pony beads, plus all the letters in 'Josephine'.

And this last one has these cool translucent beads, with some bright objects mixed in.

The back cover matches the front cover. We chose to leave both of them plain.

We had so much fun making this for her and watching it come together. I really enjoyed the process of passing pages back and forth to carry out our individual portions of the work.

Jo gets to play with this every Sunday during church. She's not always super quiet with it, but she sure enjoys playing with it!

Love and Giraffes,
Leah Joy

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sewing Tutorial: Toddler Purse

A while back, Josephine grabbed my cross-body purse and put it on with the strap over her body. How about a gentle reminder that my kid is watching everything I do?! I decided I wanted to make her her own purse, so that we could both have one.

I looked for a quick tutorial for an easy (and reversible) purse, but couldn't find one, so this is either a really great and helpful tutorial, or so easy that no one else thought it worthwhile to write. :)

I made this with scraps and materials I already had.

- 4 rectangles of fabric 5.5" by 6" (for the body - can be all the same, all different, or two of each like I did)
- one piece of fabric 2.5" by 27"*
- 2 bits of round elastic (a few inches each - length will depend on your toggle)
- toggle or button

*27" was the correct length for Josephine, but you may want it shorter or longer. I put the measuring tape on her how a purse strap would go, and then added an inch for seam allowances.

1. Press the strap piece in half, lengthwise, right sides together.

2. Stitch along the length with 1/4" seam allowance. My machine allows me to adjust the needle position. I've figured out that if I use the edge of the presser foot as a guide for my fabric, and have the needle position set to 2.5, I get a perfect 1/4" seam allowance.

3. Place two of the body pieces right sides together, and stitch along 3 edges (two 6" edges, and one 5.5" edge). Leave your needle down at the corners, lift your presser foot, rotate the fabric, and lower the presser foot to get crisp, square corners.

Another feature on my machine is the 'Needle Position' button. When activated, the stitching will automatically end with the needle down.

4. Repeat for the other two body pieces.  Now you should have something like this:

5. Turn the strap piece right-side-out. I use a safety pin - attach it to one side...

...tuck it inside...

...then 'scooch' it (technical term)...

...and pull to straighten.

Continue scooching and straightening until the safety pin comes out the other end.

Then just pull the rest through.

6. Press, and top-stitch on both long edges of the strap piece.

7. Take a bit of your round elastic and make a loop. It should be long enough to loop around your toggle, plus a little for seam allowance.

8. Turn one of the body pieces right-side out, and tack the loop in place as shown. Make sure to only sew through one side of the body fabric.

9. Repeat on the other side, with your toggle on this piece of elastic. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you can see it in Step 11.

Now your body pieces should look like this: 

10. Pin one end of your strap to the right edge of the body piece as shown. Make sure to only pin through one layer of fabric.

11. Turn the body piece over, and keeping the strap smooth and untwisted, pin to the right side (one layer of fabric only). (Your toggle should be on this side, unlike mine.)

(Here's with the toggle.)

12. This is the trickiest part, but you can do it! Take the body piece with the strap, and - just as it is - stuff it inside the other body piece. They should be right sides together - so all you should be able to see is wrong sides. Match the side seams, and pin all around.

13. Carefully stitch all around the top, leaving a few inches for turning.  Make sure to keep the other side of the purse out of the way.  I chose to use 1/2" seam allowance here, just for extra peace of mind, but it doesn't really matter.

14. Before turning right-side-out, go ahead and trim off the excess of the elastic and strap ends.  Then find the gap we left:

Reach inside the gap, and pull out the insides, strap and all. It will look like this partway through:

And like this when your get it all out:

(Other side.)

 15. Press the body seams, then stick one side back in the other (see below) and press the top seam.

16. Top-stitch around the top. This will close up our turning hole, and also look nice.

Make sure you're only stitching through one side of the bag!

You're done!

This bag is very versatile. You can make it any size, any color/pattern, add a pocket, or change up the closure very easily. This would make a very cute water bottle holder.

Love and Purple,
Leah Joy

P.S. If you're wondering about my fabric choices, I let my toddler pick them. :)