Just a short post about a project I’ve made once in the past, and one that I hope A & I will revisit this week. Before I started the blog, a smallish friend of ours turned 2. This is such a special birthday. I feel like 2 is when the world goes from being big and somewhat unreachable to being confidently conquerable. The book Little Things to Sew, by Liesl Gibson (the genius behind Oliver + S patterns) is where I found the perfect project for such a momentous occasion. I’ve sewn a few other things from this book, but it was this penguin backpack that really pulled at my heartstrings every time I leafed through the pages.
I added some decorative top stitching to this one, including some detailing on the flippers. For the exterior, I used a navy blue fashion denim, and I ended up just using D rings from my stash for the straps. It’s a sturdy but collapsible bag. I’ve read others’ comments about adding batting and interfacing to create a very firm and “stand uppable” backpack. Personal preference, I think, but I can see advantages to both styles.
For the “big goggly eye” look (as we say in this house), I used a circle of white wool felt and then a circle of blue felt for the iris, and I zigzag stitched around both of the circles in the same lighter blue that I used for the top stitching. The rest of the fabric is quilting cotton. I looked and looked for a yellow polka dot or a yellow in general at JoAnn’s that I liked and had no luck. Then I walked past this salmon colored dot fabric and just knew it would work. I added our little friend’s initials to the front and lined it with some happy little octopuses.
I like to think that unzipping the dark simple exterior to discover a sea full of happy fishes and octopuses is a thrill that puts a smile on the little man’s face. This project was a joy to undertake. I have a few other projects that have fun and cuddly faces, I have no idea why, but I find these projects giggly and less tedious. I will joyfully seam rip my mistakes out of a project with a snuggly face! I also learned a number of new skills through the experience of sewing my penguin friend. The lining is hand stitched with a blind stitch. I’ve never done that before. I also put in my first zipper. I think these tasks would have been a lot harder if I didn’t have such cute goggly eyes to cheer me along!
The future part of this post is the result of a funny story. A was SUPER excited about Mama making this gift. She was telling everyone, “we’re making a penguin backpack for Theo!” So the day finally came where I put the final stitches in it and packed it up to take it to the party and all of a sudden she started crying. “What’s the matter honey?” A: “I want a penguin backpack! I don’t want to give it to Theo anymore!” So we had a 30 second chat about how we could go to the fabric store and she could pick out her own fabrics to make her very own penguin backpack. Smiles.
So here is the result of that promise. A chose owls for her lining fabric. Hmmmm. Well she wanted a penguin backpack. Do I make an owl backpack, or do I make a penguin with some cute lining fabric inside that happens to be a different avian species? I could easily do little ears and make the wings more like an owl’s. But the simplicity of the penguin design appeals to me. I’m hoping we can sew this up this week, so maybe A will decide and I will just go with it. I will keep you posted!