Monday, July 16, 2012

Need a Sack for Your Back?

My kids are great travelers.  My son has been great since he was a little guy.  My daughter has come around this last year.  :)  We are planning a longish vacation this summer that will include car travel where my children will be strapped into booster seats.  While they travel well, we don't want to push our limits.

I had this idea to get them special bags in which I would put fun activities to amuse them and also for them to stash the treasures they will invariably attain along the way.  My mother made me such a handbag for a trip to Disneyland when I was just 4 years old.  She made one for my cousin too.  We loved those bags and traveled all over the place with them for years to come.

My bag was simple - just two rectangles with some handles and an applique' of my name.  I wanted my kids to have a special bag like that.  I thought of the pre-made handbags that one can purchase at various craft/fabric stores and decided that I would start there and dress them up with a pocket (maybe from old denim jeans).  My mind was spinning.  I had my project all planned out!  And then, I didn't.  :)

It turned out this way instead:

All tricked out and ready to travel.

I went into my local Joann's looking for just the right bag.  There were several great options from which to choose, but then I spied THESE.  Well, they weren't those exactly, but that link is the closest thing I could find to these...

Green for my son, and black for my daughter.
This style of bag is called a "sackpack."  I abandoned my handbag with a pocket idea as soon as I spotted these for several reasons.  First of all, they are bigger than the handbags that I was looking at.  Second, once the top is cinched shut, they are more secure than the handbags.  And third, once the packs are on their backs, the loose ends are long enough to tie around my children's hips.  AWESOME!  These were WAY better than my crummy handbag idea. :)  These sackpacks will be perfect for schlepping (my son's new favorite word) around souvenirs and such on our trip.  I certainly wouldn't recommend using these for hiking or purposes like that. 

I decided to sew a liner with pockets to the inside of the bags complete with pockets and secret hiding places.  To begin, I turned the bags inside out and drew a pattern on freezer paper.



I designed the configuration of pockets to be one large pocket with a flap on one side.  The flap stays closed using a magnetized purse clip that I had in my stash.  The other side has a triple pocket.  The small sections are perfect for pencils, a bookmark, sunglasses, or any long, thin item.  The center pocket is held closed with Velcro.  I cut the liners from more of the leftover sheet fabric from my project making Sleepy Shorts.  The bags are dark so the light fabric of the sheets really brightened up the interior of the bag, and I still have tons of fabric left for more projects. 

Here are the finished liners.  (Notice my "helper.")
You will notice that the original bag is rectangular in shape.  I cut the corners of the liner so that the liner would not interfere with the grommets at the bottoms of each bag.

Inside/outside view of the corners.

The magnetized purse clip, again with help!


This clip is very strong.  I reinforced the pocket and flap by sewing a circle around each side of the clip.  

I sewed the liner together completely with all of the pockets and fasteners before attaching it to the bag.  To attach the bag and the liner together I turned both inside out.  I pinned the seams of each together and sewed them together.  I sewed along the bottom of the bags and then along the sides.  I sewed in the seam allowances so that the stitching would not interfere with the stitching of the original bag.  To finish the top of the bag I folded down the top edge of the liner and stitched the liner to the bag along the seam of the drawstring.  That way I didn't interfere with the ability of the drawstring to tighten.  I did have to be careful to keep the strings out of the way of the sewing machine, but it wasn't difficult. 

The top edge.

Look at how bright the inside of the bag looks!  It is a real change from the dark original unlined bag.

I think it looks a little like flower petals.  The top of the picture shows the large pocket with the flap.  The bottom of the photo has the segmented pocket. 


Before I sewed the bags together, I decorated the outside.  For my son's bag I made a stencil out of freezer paper and colored in the space with Sharpie marker.  I wanted a weathered look for his initial because I was looking for a military duffel bag look.  My daughter got some iron-on bling and pink paint for her initial.  Her initial was so much more difficult than I thought it would be.  I got the template from HERE.  Isn't it cute?  I love it, and so does she.  I went over the "C" three times with paint pen, but I had to pool the paint in a small plastic bowl and use the paint pen like a brush to apply the paint.  The silver paint pen was much more cooperative.  I'm not sure what the hang up was.

I LOVE the finished bags!  (And so do they!)

Travel ready!

Here they are ready to go exploring!

Here she is, ready for adventure!

Check out the tie!  ( I had to get the shoes in the picture.)

I love the faded look from the marker, and the stencil made the lines very crisp.

Tie Close-Up
I can hardly wait to stuff these cute sacks full of road trip treasures! 

I purchased the bags for $4.99 each, but everything else to make this project came from my stash of stuff.  What fun things can you make from your stash?  I'd love to hear about them!










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