Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to make Backpack and Pencil case:

  When I was thinking about what I should put in the backpack for supplies, I had a few ideas of my own, many based on the regular Back-to-School supply list I get every year from my kids' new teachers. But I also asked my daughter what she wanted to include and she really came through! So by adding her ideas it made it more personal.
  The other day my daughter asked me to play "school" with her and her doll, using all the things I made for the backpack and  have shown you on my blog. And when I did, I learned more about her school day, and what she does, and her friends, and how she feels about things, etc, than any other time I have asked her how her day was and what she did in school! It was awesome - an unexpected bonus!
  So now I will (finally!) show you how I made the backpack and pencil case!

11/26/12- I just want to announce the opening of my new etsy shop! I am offering an easy to follow pdf pattern for a School Backpack and bonus Lunch Bag. It is especially great for those who are interested in making the backpack from store bought fabric rather than recycled items. I also have for sale a few upcycled doll items. Please check it out at: A Doll For All Seasons- etsy shop
School Backpack

Pencil Case
HINT: I used my daughter's own backpack as a guide to make the doll's backpack. Basically I measured my daughter's backpack, carefully measuring each part.Then I took all of the measurements and divided by three. That is, if something measured 9" on my daughter's backpack, I made the pattern measure 3" (finished measurement) for the doll's backpack.
NOTE: The backpack was a challenging project, but worth it. I prefer to show you easy projects  but this one is so cute! My daughter screamed when she saw it for the first time! And she tells  me often how much she loves it!
How to make Backpack:

  When I decided to make a backpack, I looked for material that I thought would be just like the nylon fabric used in my daughter's own backpack. I didn't have any luck. So then I went on the search for something already made out of the right kind of fabric and I found this nylon canvas bag in the perfect shade and fabric (see above). I also knew I could use the zipper and the existing straps! I also realized that I could use the inside zippered pocket for a pencil case. I found this at Ocean State Job Lot for $1.25.

  Next, I found this pink waterproof  "Bikini Bag" used for wet bathing suits (see above). It was lined with plastic but the outer fabric was perfect and I thought that the pink and red would be great together! This also had a zipper that I could use and a thinner strap. I got this at Christmas Tree Shops for $1.99.

  Now that I had the red and pink bags, I went looking for something else I could use with them that would be colorful and playful and I found this eyeglass case made from cotton quilted fabric (see above). It actually looks like it was made from a potholder! So a potholder would work just as well! I bought 2 of these at Christmas Tree Shops for only 69 cents each!

  First, I took the pink bag and measured 1 3/8" from the center of the zipper, along both sides of the bag. I used this zipper for the sides and top of bag.

  Then I cut along the side seams and opened up the fabric and zipper and laid it out flat.

Next, I turned the red bag inside out. here you can see the inside zippered pocket.

  Since I wanted to use the inside zipper for the pencil case, I worked on both the backpack and pencil case at the same time, so that I cut the pieces I needed wisely. Before cutting the zippered piece for the pencil case, I taped the zipper pull open, so that I wouldn't loose the zipper pull when I cut. If you loose the pull, it would be impossible to get it back once it is gone! I then cut out the piece I needed for the pencil case before proceeding with the backpack. (See below to see how I finished the pencil case.)

  After I cut what I needed for the pencil case, I cut open the canvas bag so it would lay flat and cut out my front and back pieces; one of each. The pattern I made for the front and back is 7" high and 5" wide near the top and 5 1/2" wide at the bottom. I rounded the corners of the pattern. These measurements include a 3/8" seam allowance all around.

  I used the 1/2" wide strap from the "Bikini Bag" and cut a piece 3 1/4"" long to use for a handle on top of the bag. I measured to find the center of the piece I would use for the top zippered panel. I pinned it down and sewed it in place as shown. Since this fabric doesn't fray easily, I did not allow for turning under.

  I cut out the front pocket and pocket flap from one of the eyeglass cases. The pocket pattern piece measured 3 1/2" high and 4" wide at the top, and 4 1/2" wide at the bottom with rounded edges.When I pined the pattern to the eyeglass case, I used the finished edge as the top of the pocket edge. The top flap pattern piece measured 1 3/4" high and 4" wide at the top edge.I rounded the bottom edge. Like the pocket piece, I used the finished edge of the eyeglass case for the top of the flap piece.

  This photo shows the pieces ready to be assembled. I also cut a piece of the red fabric from the pocket flap pattern to use as a lining.

  To make the pocket I first sewed a dart in each bottom corner 1 1/2" long and 1/4" wide at the outer edge. Next, I pinned back 1/2" along sides and bottom edge, and edge stitched.
  To make the pocket flap, I pinned the pocket flap pieces along the sides and bottom edges with  right sides together and turning under the top of the lining to match the quilted piece. I sewed the sides and bottom edges with a 1/2" seam allowance. I turned it right side out and edge stitched along sides and bottom edges. I hand sewed the top edges together.
  I then cut "hook-and-loop" one of each piece, 1" by 3/8". I sewed one piece to the top of the pocket and one piece to the underside of the pocket flap.

  Next, I pinned the pocket and pocket flap pieces to the center front piece of the backpack. I sewed along the top edge of the flap piece and along the sides and bottom edges of the pocket piece only.

  Next, I cut two pieces fro the pink bag 3 1/8"wide and 6" long. This is longer than I needed but I wanted to have extra (room for error!). I cut off what I didn't need later.
  I sewed one piece on each end of the backpack zipper with 1/2" seams, pressed the seams towards the outer edges and edge stitched along the seams. These pieces that I added will become the bottom of the bag.
  Next, I cut two pieces from the second eyeglass case to use for the side pockets ( such as used for the water bottle). The pieces measured 3 1/8" wide and 2 3/4" high (including the finished edges of the eyeglass case for the top of the pockets).  I turned under the bottom edges 1/2" and sewed each pocket to the zipper as shown, with the top of the pockets facing toward the center loop handle, leaving the pocket top edge free.
  Next, I pinned the front of the backpack (the red piece) to the zippered backpack sides (the pink piece) matching up the center top of the front to the center of the zippered piece. Since I wanted the loop in the back of the zipper I made sure that I pinned the front to the edge without the loop!

Here are two views of how the pinned piece looked.

 Once I determined the placement of the bottom seam I sewed this seam and trimmed it to have a 1/2" seam allowance. Next, I sewed the edges all around with a 1/2" seam allowance. I will tell you that working with this fabric is very challenging! So don't expect a perfect seam! The final result is so cute that I didn't mind that it was more pucked than I would have liked.

  I next used the existing 1 1/4" wide straps from the red bag for the backpack straps. I cut 2 pieces 11 1/2" long, which was longer than I needed. I then pinned them onto the unfinished backpack, pinning the top of the straps first at slight angles as shown in the photo at right. I then put the backpack on the doll to get a good fit and to check the angles of the straps. Then I pinned the straps at the bottom of the backpack and trimmed excess fabric.

  Then, I basted the straps in place to the back seam as shown in the photo at left.
  This photo shows the straps after the straps were basted in place. Next, I partially unzipped the zipper and pinned the back of the backpack to the sides with right sides together, and  I sewed with a 1/2" seam allowance. I turned the backpack right side out and I was done!

  Here it is all finished! I also added a pink cord to the zipper pull for fun. You can see how I "made" the water bottle on a previous post. and I put the mini calculator in the front pocket with the chain hanging out for an extra detail.

  So, there it is, all of the Back-to-School clothes and accessories! I think that all of the details that make them more realistic, also make them more fun to play with. And listening to my daughter's ideas for the things she wished to include in the backpack, made her part of the process and I knew I was making for her things that she would never be able to buy in any store or catalog!

  Even though these are Back-to-School items, This would be really fun to make and give as a gift for Christmas or any time of year!

  Thanks for stopping by, I hope to inspire you again real soon!

Creatively Yours,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back-to-School Supplies

September is:
Today I will show you how to make everything you will need for back to school!
(I had planned to have all of September actually posted in the month of September, but well... my life keeps getting in the way!- Anyway, I hope you enjoy my ideas!)
My daughter was a great inspiration for many of the items you see below! She wanted a "homework folder", and a "water bottle" so I had to get really creative to figure out how I was going to make a "water bottle"! Check out below to see how I did it. My son even got into the act and suggested "chocolate chip cookies", which we all made together. Actually, many of the items can be fun crafts that you can do together.
11/26/12- I just want to announce the opening of my new etsy shop! I am offering an easy to follow pdf pattern for a School Backpack and bonus Lunch Bag. It is especially great for those who are interested in making the backpack from store bought fabric rather than recycled items. I also have for sale a few upcycled doll items. Please check it out at: A Doll For All Seasons- etsy shop
Backpack includes everything on her "Back-to-School" Supply List:
Backpack, Lunch box, Sandwich, Apple, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Water Bottle, Pencil Case, Yellow Pencils, Box of Crayons, Pencil Sharpener, Calculator, Spiral Notebook, Spelling Sight Word List, Homework Folder with Homework, Library Book, Composition Notebook, and Legal Pad.
Before we start, I want to mention that many things that I show here for the backpack are tiny and may not be suitable for small children! Please, keep this in mind. 

I found this mini tin at a thrift shop for 75 cents!
It was the perfect size for a lunch box- 2 3/4" x 4 1/4".

And for lunch she has a bologna sandwich..

For the bread, I used a sheet of 1/8" thick craft foam in Tan color for "whole wheat" bread.
You can also use white craft foam for "white" bread.
I made a pattern out of cardboard, 1 5/8" high by 1 1/2" wide in the shape of a slice of bread.
Using a brown waterproof marker I  traced around the pattern. Do not use a washable marker as this will rub off!
I made two and cut them out with scissors.

With the same brown marker, I drew a thin line on the back edge and along the side edge to create a "crust". 
For the "cheese slice" I used 1/16" thick craft foam in a yellow orange color and cut a 1 1/4" square.
For the "bologna slice" I cut a 1 3/8" circle out of a 1/16" thick craft foam in a brown color.
To make the "lettuce" I used 1/16" thick green craft foam and drew freehand two leaf shapes about 1 3/8" around in a waterproof dark green marker.  I also added veins and some squiggly lines along the edges of  the lettuce for a little added realism.
I used a white craft glue to glue it all together- the more the better because the glue dries to look a bit like mayo!

To finish the look I used a mini zip lock bag, the kind you get when you buy beads or jewelry at craft fairs.
 I used one that was 3"x 3 3/4".

"Chocolate Cookies" anyone?
These were my son's idea and we all made them together.
We started with 1/16" craft foam in a tan color and cut out 3/4" circles.
Next we used a dark brown waterproof marker for the "chips". Make random dots of Brown on both sides of the "cookies".
I added a mini zip lock bag and you have the perfect afternoon snack!
See notes for sandwich for the zip lock bag.

So, when my daughter wanted her doll to have a "water bottle" for her backpack, I thought "HOW AM I GOING TO MAKE THAT?"
As it turns out, I didn't have to!
I searched the house for something the right size(3 3/4" tall by 1 1/8" wide) and I hit the jackpot!
I had some travel shampoos and this one was the perfect size and (a bonus) the top works like many water bottles with a snap shut top!
So I used up the shampoo, rinsed it out, soaked off the label and let it dry out.
Then for fun, I added an over sized sticker from my daughter's collection to the front and Ta Da! A water bottle!

The "Yellow Pencil" is actually made from a 1/8" thick bamboo skewer.
I measured 2 1/2" from the pointed end and cut with a sharp knife using a rolling action on a cutting board.
Then I sanded the cut end slightly to make it smooth.
Next, I painted the yellow in craft acrylic paint leaving the pointed end as bare wood. Then I painted the cut end with a red craft acrylic paint to create an "eraser".
To make the metal piece that attaches the "eraser" to the pencil, I used a small sweep of metallic silver paint about 1/8" in width.
To make the "lead" I used a black permanent marker and just dabbed the very tip of the pointed end all around about 1/8" up.
The "Pencil Sharpener" is actually a novelty button I found that was the perfect size- about 5/8' long.

I will show you how to make the "Pencil Case" as well as the "Backpack" in my next post.

Every Elementary school "School Supply List" includes a box of CRAYONS!
I took an actual box of crayons and carefully opened it up, took it apart at the side seam, and laid it out flat.
I scanned it on my computer @ 100res and printed it @300res so that it was 1/3 of the original size.
You can also color copy it @33%.
Then I cut it out along the edge.

Next I used a glue stick to glue it to a lightweight piece of cardboard.
Next I cut it out along the edge. This now looks like a mini version of the original box laid out flat.

I used a straight edge to help fold along all the places that were folded on the original.
I used the original as a guide.

This is how it looks ready to be glued.
Glue along the side seam same as the original box

Doll sized box of crayons shown with the actual size crayon box!

This is a very cute, very sparkly, little notebook that I found for $1.00.
To make this even smaller and perfect for a doll's backpack, I needed to cut it down to size.
First, I opened the notebook and I measured down from the top of the notebook 3 1/2" and drew a line straight across on the inside front cover.
I cut along this line using an X-acto knife.
Next, I closed the cover on the top only and clamped it together.
Then using the knife again, I cut through all of the layers of paper and the back cover using the cut edge as a guide.
Here you see the cutting in progress.
After I finished cutting through all of the layers of paper and back cover, I needed to cut the spiral wire.
I used wire cutters but you probably could cut it with and old pair of scissors.
You can save the cut away notebook piece as a fun extra notebook!
Next, I opened the notebook again and measured from the spine edge 2 3/4" and marked along outer edge of the front inside cover.
I cut along this line with my knife.
Same as before , I clamped the notebook shut and cut with my knife along the cut edge through all sheets of paper and the back cover.
 I saved the cut paper and used it as paper for a "spelling List". 
 It could also be used  for "mom's notes from home" to put in the lunch box.
The extra front cover piece makes a great sparkly book mark!

My daughter wanted a "Homework Folder" So I got to work.
Here you can see a full size notebook with the mini version!
First I started with an actual folder.
Whenever possible, I like to make things easier for myself and use what is already done for me.
In this case, I used the existing fold lines. This is not necessary, you can cut from any part of the folder and fold later.
Above, you can see how I measured 3 1/2" from the center fold line and 4" up from the bottom edge.
I then cut out this rectangle shape.
(If you are not working from the existing fold lines, you will cut out a 7"Wide  by 5 3/4"High rectangle.)
Next, I measured 1 3/4" up from bottom edge of mini folder and cut along inside portion only to create the pocket.
If you are working with a piece that is not already folded, you will need to first fold 1 3/4" up from the bottom, then fold the whole folder in half vertically.
Then I trimmed away 1/8" along outside edges of the pocket portion on both sides as shown.
Next, I folded the outer edges in by 1/4" on both sides. I used a straight edge to insure a straight even crease.
Next, I used a hole punch and made half circle cuts just above the top of pocket as shown above.
Using a glue stick, glue the folded back portions down and clamp with clips until completely dry as shown above
Now the folder is finished!
For fun, I copied and printed out a page of my daughter's homework and a spelling test and added that to the folder.
I also added a few sheets of notebook paper cut to 2 3/4" by 3 3/4".

I made a mini version of my daughter's Composition Notebook.
I started by making a copy of the original notebook opened flat and printed at 33%.
(I scanned it on my computer at 100 res and printed it at 300 res. You can also color copy it at 33%)
Next, I took several sheets of loose leaf paper and laid it next to my copy.
 I cut from the top of the sheets, a width slightly larger than the notebook copy width.
I also cut a piece of card stock paper in solid white the same size as the lined paper.
I placed the card stock on the bottom of the stack.
Next I used a stapler and stapled in two places as far in as the stapler would allow as shown above.
Fold along the stapled line so that the card stock is on the outside.
Add glue onto the back side of the cut out photo copied cover with glue stick.
Put the glued side of cover down onto the card stock carefully matching the center spine edge of the cover with the stapled fold line of the stack of papers.
Rub down the cover so there is no bubbles and press along fold line.
Carefully cut away excess notebook paper to match the cover size with an X-acto knife.
Finished notebook! Super cute!
I used the same technique to make a reading book only I used blank white paper instead of lined paper.

Here is a mini version of a favorite book, using the same technique as for the composition notebook.

The Calculator was purchased at Staples for 99 cents and it has doll sized buttons!
It is meant to be used as a key ring, so the chain and ring part look real cute when I put the calculator in the front pocket of the backpack! Plus- It really works!

The apple was a little wooden one that I already had from... well, who knows where?! It just happen to be the perfect size.( About 1")

The mini legal note pad was purchased at Staples. They came in a set of 3 for $1.00.
The size was close enough to what I needed (5 1/4" by 3 1/2").
One pad for the doll and two handy note pads for me!

Thanks for checking in!
I hope I gave you lots of ideas for your doll and "Back-to-School".

I will show you how to make the backpack and pencil case next time.

Creatively yours,

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