Book Bags and Goldilocks

Can you smell the pencils being sharpened?  Yep, it’s that season again.  The start of school is around the corner.  This always brings feelings of excitement and nostalgia for me.  Have you done your back-to-school preparations yet?  We’re part-way there, but I got distracted when a custom request for a preschool book bag came my way.  Then I realized that Duncan could use a little newness to start his year off right!

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My quest for the perfect “preschool book bag” has been a bit like Goldilocks searching for the perfect chair:

too big… too small… just right…

Last year’s bags (Book Bag Fever) got the boys through the year, but improvements were needed.  As time wore on and washings were necessary, the bags required some maintenance and a few of the fabrics didn’t hold up as nicely as I would have liked.

Lessons learned…

  1. I’ve brushed up on my tote-making skills this year with a few amazing classes at make*do*mend, a wonderful sewing studio in Ballard, run by the lovely and talented Keli Faw.  First, Keli is wonderful – she is just someone you want to know.  I guarantee you will want to move in to the comfortable and hip crafting space Keli has created!  If you are in the Seattle area and curious about sewing – take an intro class!  Or, if you already sew, but want a little community – go to their open sewing times!
  2. My favorite bag from last year’s selection was the Kokka Elephants, so I learned that using a little heavier weight fabric works a bit better than quilting cottons for an unlined tote.  It happens that the fabric I am using this year is also a Kokka fabric that I purchased last year without a clear plan in mind, but look for any home decor weight fabric, or canvas.
  3. Handles were another source of frustration.  I didn’t love how my fabric handles became wrinkly over the course of the year.  A much better solution is cotton webbing for a durable and attractive handle.
  4. And lastly, thank goodness for Pinterest, where my friend, Adriane, happened to pin a fantastic simple tote tutorial by Purl Bee.  Purl Bee has a tutorial for The 20-minute Tote that just might be “preschool book bag” perfection (as well as many other uses)!  I love this tutorial.  Although it took me a little longer than 20-minutes, the instructions are clear and all worked according to plan!

I’m really excited to think we’ve got a winner to start Duncan’s preschool year off just right.  Duncan is excited because his new school bag is blue and has “race cars”.  Thankfully my preschool age audience isn’t too picky (about some things at least)!

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