Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sewing: Oilcloth PreSchool Bag

Update: The PreSchool Bag worked just fine on the first day of school!

Audrey needs a big bag to take to preschool. Big enough to carry all her snow gear in the winter, and to bring home any projects throughout the year. The school sells such a bag but that means the whole class may have identical bags. So I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do something cute with oilcloth. Audrey and I looked at all the oilcloth patterns online and picked this cute cherry on acqua at Mendel's. Lucky for us it was even on sale! I selected a red and white gingham to coordinate because I wanted to do an oilcloth liner.

I used one of the bags the school sells as a reference to get the size right but basically figured it out as I went. Not too difficult really. I created this little zippered pouch for the inside in case I send her with something small or more valuable, added another little pocket on the outside for a fun contrast as much as anything, and bought some belt webbing to make the handles.
It was a little tricky fitting the bag under the needle to sew some of the seams because I didn't plan it perfectly but I'm thrilled with the result.

One added benefit I didn't realize is that the bag stands open on its own so that will make it easier for Audrey to pack up and unpack.

The bag is about as big as she is. Should be a pretty cute sight to see her walking into school with it.
PATTERN (Instructions)
Simple Bag (No zippered inner pocket--just outside pocket)
  • Yardage: 1 yard if self lined OR 1 yard of outside and 1 yard of contrast lining
  • Notions: 60” belt webbing for handles
  • How to: Cut out two pieces of oilcloth 20.5"x36"(one is for the outer bag and one for the lining). Fold outside piece and lining piece in half, aligning long edges, with right sides together. Stitch. Turn outside right-side-out and place lining (which should be wrong side out) inside. Turn raw edge ¼” to the inside (toward lining) and stitch. Turn inside (toward lining) 1” and stitch down to hem finish mouth of bag. Top stitch top edge of bag. To “square” bottom, form triangles on bottom sides of bag about 5” high, fold up along side seams and stitch points down.
  • If you want to add a pocket to the front as soon, cut an extra piece of contrast lining 5.5"x8". Fold under (hem) a 1/4" on long sides towards wrong side of oilcloth and stitch. Pin in position on bag so pocket is centered top to bottom and will fit under the webbing straps. Stitch along sides and bottom of pocket leaving top open.
  • Cut webbing in two pieces; zig zag finish raw edge. Pin webbing to bag so finished edges align with bottom edge of the bag as shown and straps cover the edges of the front pocket (straps should be about 9" apart measuring from their centers). Top stitch straps in place.

**NOTE 4/28/10: I just went to one of my oilcloth resources, Mendel's, and read this warning on their site about using oilcloth for children under twelve. "There is no lead in the oilcloth, but the levels of Phthalates are too high to comply with the new standards for items which are going to be sold and are intended to be used by children under 12 years old. So you can still make and sell bags and other things created with oilcloth but items like bibs and splat-mats cannot be sold." What a bummer. I haven't had much luck finding the perfect substitute in a more health and enviro-friendly form. I need to research some more!**


Kelley said...

So cute! Laminated cottons are okay for kiddos, you can find some by Amy Butler, and a lot by Echino ( see Purl Soho). Etsy is a pretty good resource, all in one spot.

Cupcake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cupcake said...

I'm not sure if you are still looking for safe alternatives to oil cloth, but my son has a bib made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). It's great! I can easily wipe it clean with a damp cloth. I'm not sure where to find the materials, but I will be looking for sure!! I know this is an older post, but I hope this helps.

Anneliese said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll have to keep an eye out for TPU and it seems there are more and more laminated cottons around--hooray!

Elisa said...

I think Amy Butler has phalate free laminate cottons, not sure if they are as thick

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