Monday, January 14, 2013

Toy Bag & Play Mat Tutorial


As a mom I’m always looking for ways to keep my home clean and organized and kids toys have always stumped me. I’d organize their toys and then get frustrated when they didn’t put things back where I assigned. Guess I’m a little too organized, but the thought of a “toy box”, a free for all dumping ground for toys makes me break out in a rash. Anybody else? This is my solution- A toy bag that converts to a play mat and then back to a storage bag. Since making this one for brick building blocks (aka Legos), I thought this could work for so many other toys; especially ones with small pieces. You could even make small individual play mats, 18x18” would be a perfect fun size. Constructing it would be the same just smaller measurements. I’ll have to play with that and then let you know, on with the tutorial-


Toy Bag and Play Mat tutorial - great for Legos!

Toy Bag & Play Mat Tutorial
by
Trisha Weekes

Supplies Needed:
42-44” of 2 Fabrics (depends on your WOF (width of fabric) without selvedges) Measure that, and then get that amount in inches, LOF (length of fabric).
1/3 yard of fabric for drawstring casing
4 yards of 3/8” Cording
4 2/3 yards of Fusible interfacing for light weight fabrics (or less if you only want it on the liner fabric)
 
Step 1-
Square up the fabrics and remove the selvedge from all fabrics.

drawstring toy bag tutorial

Next, we’ll iron on the fusible interfacing to the fabrics designated for the bag body.

*Note- I decided to apply the fusible interfacing because the bricks have sharp corners and I thought it wouldn’t take long to wear a hole in the fabrics. You can apply it to only the liner fabric or go without entirely, it’s up to you. Also the interfacing isn’t as wide as the fabrics even doubled, so it’s still a good inch or two shorter. I’d make sure my interfacing matched in the middle instead of on the sides of the fabrics. (As shown in the photo)
 
drawstring toy bag tutorial
 
Step 2-
Now we’re going to cut out our circles for the bags. The way I decided to do this step was, fold the fabric into fourths, pin a string to the folded corner and take a string to the edge parallel to it. I marked the string; you can cut if that works for you, I didn’t want to cut this string because it was for another project. Then I took my fabric pencil and held it to that mark on the string and then guided it from corner to corner, allowing the pencil to drag on the fabric. I did have to hold the corner with the pinned string, pull the string tautly with the other, and then proceed to make the mark. This worked for me; any other suggestions for this step are welcome. Then cut on the line made by the pencil.
 
 
drawstring toy bag tutorial

drawstring toy bag tutorial

My circles ended up being 42” round. I cut out the first one and then just laid it on top of the other folded square to make sure they were the right size.

 
drawstring toy bag tutorial

Step 3-
To make the casing for the drawstring, cut up the third of a yard of fabric into 3” strips, you should get 4 strips out of the third yard of fabric. Remove the selvedges, if you haven’t already.

drawstring toy bag tutorial

Then sew the strips end to end. Once that’s done, quickly measure the full circle by laying the strips on the circumference of circle and then cutting the strip to fit the circle.
 
drawstring toy bag tutorial

Turn a ¼” hem on each of the short ends.
 
drawstring toy bag tutorial

Then fold in half lengthwise and sew a 1/4” seam the length of the casing.

drawstring toy bag tutorial

Step 4-
Pin casing to liner fabric, sew using a ¼” seam. (You will have a 1” gap on the casing, but this is fine and needed for the drawstring to work properly.)

drawstring toy bag tutorial
 
Then lay the two circles on top of each other, line them up and pin- right sides together.

drawstring toy bag tutorial
 
Sew a ¼” seam all around both circles, leaving a 10-12” opening for turning, opposite the opening for the drawstring.
drawstring toy bag tutorial

Step 5-
Sew closed the opening used for turning the fabrics.

drawstring toy bag tutorial

Pin, then topstitch close to the edge, all around finishing the body of the bag.
 
drawstring toy bag tutorial

Step 6- (is optional but highly recommended)

Sew on the folded lines of both circles, from edge to edge, making the 2 pieces a united whole. That way when you wash the bag shifting will not be an issue.

drawstring toy bag tutorial

drawstring toy bag tutorial

Step 7-
Thread the drawstring through the casing, starting at one end and going full circle until you come out the other opening. To do this I attach a large safety pin to the string and guide it through the casing gathering it up as I go.
 
 
drawstring toy bag tutorial


Step 8-
Make a knot in the drawstring and be finished! Or…
 
I made a little tag, inserted the ends and sewed the tag closed. I went back and forth a few times to ensure the string would not come out. It’s your choice. I like finishing details that make handmade items look like retail items. The tag sews like this: take a 3x3.5” piece from the strips used for the casing. Make a ¼” hem on the longer end, then fold in half and sew a seam down the side and bottom. Trim thread and corners, then turn right side out. Insert ends of string into tag and sew the tag closed.

drawstring toy bag tutorial

drawstring toy bag tutorial

drawstring toy bag tutorial

I hope this tutorial will help you with some of your toy frustrations; it’s certainly made a difference with mine! I love how the drawstring acts as a barrier to runaway toys while in play.
 
drawstring Lego play mat tutorial!

drawstring Lego play mat tutorial!

drawstring Lego play mat tutorial!

It’s so easy to clean-up, here is my four year old closing up the bag!

Toy bag and play mat tutorial



40 comments:

  1. This is the best idea and tutorial ever! We have legos from my son and little baby doll accesories from my daughter everywhere. Each of them needs one of these. Thank you for taking the time to write up a tutorial and share this!

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  2. Love it Trisha, especially the little tag so the cording doesn't accidently slip into the casing!

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  3. I love this! Did you ever end up trying a smaller version? I think I'm going to need both sizes. :)

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  4. Really clear instructions. Excellent pictures and the bag has turned out really well. Thankyou very much!

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  5. love this! Perfect for my DIY project for my boys' bedroom redo. Hopefully I'll remember to link back when I eventually post the after pics. Thanks so much! :-)

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  6. thank you for your tutorial! this is the best one out there! I just made a small 14x14 inch bag. perfect for a small set. Its a gift for my little friend. I plan on making several more in many colors for my son. He needs to have his legos sorted by color. This is so perfect!

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  7. I haven't touched my sewing machine in about 6 years, but I just made a small version of this as a first project back and it turned out very well! Thank you for a great tutorial!

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  8. YOU, sweet friend, are a genius! Thank you so much! Pinning!

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  9. Fantastic - thank you!

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  10. Very simple tutorial. Thanks for sharing

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  11. Love this. Will be making as soon as I get to IKEA for fabric. Thank you.

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  12. Love it and so does my Grandson.

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  13. thanks for sharing the project - I just finished a star wars one for my nephew's birthday, I know he's going to LOVE it!! will link to you for credit and share the link when my post is up so you can see it

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  14. Thank you sooooo Much this is a really fun project for a newbie sewer and it was easy. I found a homemade curtain at a thrift shop made of bright red light weight canvas material. It had another piece of material more like broadcloth sewn onto it royal blue background with motorcycle print. On another day I went back and found a twill material piece someone had bought and never used. So my lego bag is red canvas on the inside, royal blue twill on the outside and the casing is motorcycle material. On our way to the Birthday party for the 5 year old we will pick up some yellow cord and we will used some lego pieces for the drawstring. This was an awesome find and will cost me a total of $10 for materials. Thanks again I would post a pic but not sure if I can.

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  16. Hi

    Can anyone help me

    I'm cutting the fabric and it says I need 42-44 inches is that length? What does the width need to be?

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  17. I would guess you need 42-44inches for the width as well, as for the least waste a circle is cut out of a square piece of fabric (whatever the size).

    Just wanted to say I have seen this idea for at least 30 years, since my daughter was born. And I HATED how they were made - the drawstring was held to the fabric by making buttonholes all around the edge and threading the string alternately to the front and back. It always seemed incredibly dangerous to me to have a long loop of string right where children were playing. Even more so for babies just at the rolling and crawling stage.

    So your idea of sewing a casing for the string is genius in my opinion! So much safer and tidier. A real "DOH" moment for me. I will now make one for my daughter's first baby, happy to save her work in tidying up and happy that the baby will be safe. Thank you.

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  18. I made this in under an hour and a half and it came out beautifully. I did not use fusible interfacing, however, as my two fabrics seemed very sturdy and I thought it an unnecessary step and would only add weight and bulk to the project. A suggestion if I may: I would notch both fabrics at the quarter-round mark (this can easily be done by snipping the two corners - not the center) and would match these when sewing the fabrics together. Because of the bias there was some stretching and the two fabrics did not match exactly which was a little frustrating. I did not bother to sew the casing before attaching it to the lining - it went together beautifully without that extra step. Great project - thank you so much!

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  19. Thanks! I have made a few of these in different sizes. I skipped the step of sewing the casing and just stitched it to the outside edge of the outer fabric (I have used a thick one and then a thinner one for the inside). Then I stitched the inside fabric to the outside fabric and turned (I sew it so the inside is on the bottom when sewing). I found it easier this way as I can pull the thinner fabric a bit and make it tight so I don't have loose fabric after I turn it and top stitch.

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  20. Hi,
    Quick question (probably an obvious one) - what the dimensions of piece or pieces used for the cord casing? I see that it's a 1/3yard in length but ... is there a width that I need too for purchasing the fabric? And when it's cut into 4 pieces, which way is this - what the dimension of the four pieces that are cut out?

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    Replies
    1. I just figure out the circumference of the circle I make. I have made a few different sizes. I don't bother with the small strips. I made large strips using a sheet. For a 17.5" diameter I need 54" for the circumference. For 26" diameter I need 81" for the circumference.

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    2. Making more this year for Christmas gifts. My new size is 29" diameter with a 90.5" circumference. Using furniture fabric for the outside fabric and sheet for the inside fabric. I got 6 circles out of a flat queen sheet. I get sheets at the second hand store.

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  21. hi,
    thank you for this tuto and scuse my english, i am french.
    I 've done one of thoses bags and it would be ok to send you a picture but i don't know your mail.

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  22. Hi, thanks for posting this tutorial, it is just what I need to organise the lego explosion in my house! I am so fed up with the big plastic boxes.

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  23. Great idea!! Thank you for sharing!

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  24. I made something like this year's ago for my children. When they had finished with it, I used it in my classroom. It was a great way to keep the logo tidy when the children were playing. It is also a lot quieter that chucking the bricks back into a plastic box..... Aaaargh!

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  25. I made something like this year's ago for my children. When they had finished with it, I used it in my classroom. It was a great way to keep the logo tidy when the children were playing. It is also a lot quieter that chucking the bricks back into a plastic box..... Aaaargh!

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  26. Thanks for the great tutorial.
    What fabrics have you used? I love the print.

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  27. it os fantastic... I made and it's perfeito !

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  28. Excellent idea ! Thanks for share. I made one. It's só easy .

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  32. where do you guys buy the string for the bag???

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    Replies
    1. Any fabric store will have the twisted/braided string.

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    2. Any fabric store will have the twisted/braided string.

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  33. I am trying to send this to a friend and it doesn't want to go through. Andy suggestions?

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  34. Great instructions. We just finished one for my nephew's Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars. We used fabric paint to put roads on the inside. It turned out well!

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  35. Nice tutorial! And if you aren't into sewing, please check out Swoop Bags! Simple, modern, durable toy storage bag. swoopbags.com

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  36. Really very interesting and very valuable information about the baby gym nice work.

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