Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lots O' Legos!

Legos are a big hit in our house. Bryan and his brother grew up playing Legos together. In fact, we have a couple book boxes full of Legos from when Bryan was a kid that will eventually get passed on to the Monkeys. While the Little Monkey is still a little too young for Legos, he has lots of Duplo, mostly gifts from Bryan's brother. So when I saw some Lego fabric at my favorite local fabric shop and showed it to Bryan, he said "You should make the Little Monkey a bag for all his Legos!"

The fabric is a very heavy, almost canvas-like fabric, making it perfect for a bag that will hopefully be used for years to carry lots of pointy blocks. Bryan wanted me to make it big so that the Lego collection will have "room to grow."

With nothing for scale, it's kind of hard to get a sense of size, but this bag is about two feet tall. Maybe taller. I chose the heaviest weight interfacing I could find (for durability) and chose a red lining fabric and drawstring. All the different colored legos in the fabric gave me lots of colors to choose from for lining and drawstring, but something about the red spoke to me. Or maybe it's just 'cause I like red :-) I chose to do a drawstring closure because I figured it would be the easiest for the Monkey to open and close himself.

As is typical of me, I just dove right into this project without too much forethought. After all, how difficult could it be to make a bag? Let's just say there were lots of "learning experiences" in making this bag.

Learning Experience #1: While circular bags are difficult (as I discovered making a yoga mat bag), ovals are even more difficult. Not only are the curves difficult piece and sew correctly, but the oval means it must be aligned exactly right to work. I think from now on, I will make square or rectangle based bags!

Learning Experience #2: Make the button holes for the drawstring BEFORE finishing the top hem. Otherwise, you end up going through the whole hem and there's no place for the drawstring to go.

Learning Experience #3: Keep seam allowances in mind when calculating how much fabric to cut, how much interfacing to cut, and where to place the holes for the drawstring. When it came time to finish the top of the bag, I remembered that the interfacing shouldn't be part of the drawstring pouch. So I had to cut down the interfacing to give me room to turn down the fabric the correct amount. Then, because I forgot about seam allowance when measuring for placement of the drawstring holes, I placed them a little too high. Fortunately, this did not ruin the bag, but it was a close call, and the drawstring track (Or is it a pouch? What do you call it?) is a little narrower than I wanted it to be.

Learning Experience #4: Drawstrings don't have to be that much longer than the diameter of the bag when fully open. I used a little (ok, a lot) too much cord. Not a fatal flaw, just something to keep in mind for the future.

In the end, this was a fun project. I love the fabric. I learned a lot from making it. I loved the smile on the Monkey's face when he saw his new Lego bag. But I really love seeing it get used every day, and knowing that it will continue to be used for years.

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