Book Bag Fever

Apples on the trees, school in session – seems like the perfect time to start making some book bags!

I will admit that this project began out of necessity.  The boys’ new preschool does not like the kids to bring backpacks.  Curious.  Apparently, the cubbies are just too small.  They were being overwhelmed by backpacks.  I love the image of backpacks pouring in from all corners, filling the room!  Be that as it may, the kids are bringing stuff home every night – artwork and papers everywhere!  Hence, the need for a slimmer, more streamlined bag to keep the mama from losing her head.  Ideally, it would be appropriately sized for a preschooler to carry.  Where does one find such a thing?  “Hmmm…” I say, (with a closet full of awesome fabric…) “I’ve seen a book bag before, I bet I can figure this out.”  And so the bag-making frenzy begins at the Poole house…

Why do school supplies evoke such lovely memories?  Even though I don’t need to buy myself #2 pencils or lined paper anymore, these book bags make me feel like a kid all over again!  This little project was not based on a pattern, so if and when I refine my process, I will post a tutorial.  Also, I am feeling a bit obsessed with monograms, if you haven’t noticed.  You will be seeing more of them in items soon to be listed to the shop.  In the case of the book bag, there was a dual purpose for the monogram; easy preschool identification and style.  Here is Duncan modeling his new tote (I find his cross-body-carry especially hip).  My personal favorite, to date, is the elephants!

Poole Party Designs :: OPEN for Business

Based on the all the fun I have been having sewing and the positive feedback from both Inspiration and Product Testing, I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell my handmade items!  We’re pretty excited around here!

Click on the above page titled Shop to see what we’re up to!

Thanks for visiting!

~ Lesley

Placemats, please!

In an earlier post, after the baby shower and onesie extravaganza, I was saying something about a new sewing project.  As happens quite a bit in my life, I got distracted.  But, I’m back at it and ready to show you my first stab at a really great (and simple) placemat design.  This design definitely showcases the fabric.  As I have kept things pretty straightforward and without much detail, it is important to choose a fabric you love!  I went with Gotcha in Summerland in grey and natural.  It gave me just the modern and sophisticated, but unfussy look I was going for!  All in all, I feel successful!  I think these placemats will look gorgeous on a summer evening with lots of bright white and maybe some yellow flowers (or orange, or pink, any color really…) to punch it up a bit.

The quick and dirty on how these were made is below if you are interested in trying to sew some fun, mod pacemats of your own!  I would not call this a full tutorial, as it is not quite perfect yet.  I learned a few things in the process, so those thoughts can also be found below.  As you will see in the photos, they turned out well – even if baby doesn’t know the difference between a sophisticated placemat and her usual burp cloth!  At least they are reversible!

Now, that I have scratched this itch, I think I need to start getting out my canning equipment!  Summer has finally arrived in Seattle!  To pickle or preserve, now that is the question!  Any requests?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Notes:

This project used 1 yard of fabric, almost exactly for four placemats.  Next time I would give myself a little more fabric to play with, as I would like my mats to end up larger and I could be a bit choosier with the print layout.  The mats I made measure approximately 17.5″x13.5.”

First, I measured out my fabric.  I just looked at a placemat that I had bought along the way and used that as a rough guide, adding a few inches for seams.  I cut my fabric to be about 20″x30″ (this is a guesstimate – I promise to take better notes next time!).  The main idea is to sew this like a pillowcase on three sides, while the fabric is inside out.  Then, I turned the fabric right side out, pushed out the corners with a chopstick, and finished the last seam with the top stitch that goes all the way around.  I went with a ¾” seam, but choose what looks right to you.  I pressed the fabric with an iron at every stage and that worked well.  I didn’t remember to wash the fabric beforehand, which I will do next time  (to take care of shrinkage) and I had a hard time keeping things completely square.  Again, something I will be more diligent about next time!