Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tea Party in a Bag (Sewing Instructions)

Valentine's Day is a big deal at my house.  Because it falls right at the end of what always is a long, cold winter, we are happy to have anything to celebrate. We cut out hearts and decorate the house the way only a 1.5, 3.5 and 6.5 year old can.  It is a day full of joy and love!  Daddy always comes home to streamers, balloons, food (all red, heart-shaped or deemed someone's favorite).

Every year we like to get each of our kiddos a something they will love!  It usually ends up being a toy of some sort.  This year, I decided to do things differently and make them each something.  I did get a puzzle for my youngest and a set of edging scissors for my older two, but I would have ended up getting those anyways.  So, I'm still declaring this a home made Valentine's Day!

I saw an item online that was like a giant floor mat that turned into a sack that carried the toys.  It was $60, but looked easy enough to make.  I bought some fabric and made one for my son to carry around whatever set he was building at the time, Lego, K'nex, Erector..etc.

Then I had a great idea for my 3.5 year old girl.  She is always having these elaborate "picnic tea parties," so why not jazz it up the mat to look like a garden; my little sweetie could carry her tea party wherever she went.  Here is the finished product.  I think she is going to love it!

What is great about this, is you can make it any size you want.  this one is about 1 yard (3 feet) wide.

To start you will need to note the diameter of your project:
I bought the following:

1/2 yard red checked material (for the "picnic blanket")
1 1/4 yard flower cotton material
1 1/2 yard duck cloth (shown in pink--note, this is 54 inches wide, rather than the usual 45 inches)
Matching Thread
Ribbon or paracord (3 times your diameter in feet + 2 feet)

This will be broken into the following steps:
1. Cut out circle from duck cloth and flower fabric.
2. Stitch circles together
3. Make bias tape for edges
4. Make button holes on backside of bias tape
5. Attach bias tape to circle
6. Pull ribbon through edging.

Below, each step is broken down with pictures:

Step 1:
Lay out your duck cloth and make a small clip at your diameter (I did 36 inches)
Fold the clipped section so it makes a triangle (if you are looking at the tape measure above it will be where is says 35.5 inches to the end of the clipped section).

Now continue that fold all the way up.  You can see on the picture below you will make a big triangle with the long fold being your diameter.
Cut along the short sides of the triangle (which will result in a square of fabric folded in half).

Take your triangle and fold it in half from left to right meaning direction, not the 90 degree angle.
Now fold again, from top angle to right directional angle.
Repeat this process of folding in half until you end up with your fabric looking like the following two pictures:

Flip over your fabric if necessary so it looks like the bottom picture and cut off the top part:

Okay, now get rid of that top section and  cut the bottom so it has a slight curve, unfolding and adjusting your cut until you have a nice circle (it can be slightly bumpy, you are going to cover the edge)
 Unfold and behold your circle!

Next you want to lay your inner fabric (I used the flower print) down under your circle and cut out the same size circle.

Step 2:
You will now need to clip your circles together (I ended up adding some pins the center as well). 

Sew a design or whatever you like (kind of like quilting) so both pieces of fabric stay together.  
Follow with a simple seam right along the edge.

Don't forget to remove all your clips and pins!

Step 3:
You now want to make a really wide bias tape.  This can get a bit tricky and you absolutely must use an iron.  I hate ironing, so if even I'm pulling out mine, you'll want to follow suit.

To start you want to take note of your fabric (we'll be using the duck cloth for this).  If you pull it with the grain (or stitch) there isn't much give.  Same with pulling it side to side.  Now, if you pull from corner to corner you get a bit of a stretch.  This is the bias. 

If you made bias tape before, you may have chosen not to cut on the bias.  For 1/2 inch bias tape, that give may not have mattered.  Here it absolutely does!

To start take a big rectangle or square of your material and fold it like a triangle (or a triangle with another rectangle on the side, if you are using a rectangle).
Continue folding as shown below
 You'll end up with a nice triangle.

Fold it again and place on a cutting board as shown above. and cut from top to bottom 6 inch strips.
Unfold the strips.  If some look like below, cut on the diagonal line.
 Now line up each piece as below:
 Note: remember right side (right side up), left side (wrong side up)
 Now draw a line from where each piece meets from one side to the other.
Sew along the line and unfold.

Continue with this process until you have at least your diameter times 3.2 inches length strip.
Cut all of the seams close to your stitchin
Press this tape flat and then bring up one edge about 1/2 inch and press the entire length of the strip.
 For the other length you want to measure 4.5 inches from your folded edge and press this entire length (constantly keeping the edges 4.5 inches apart).
Fold from edge to almost edge, leaving the bottom side slightly higher than the top side. Press the entire length.
Step 4:
You are now going to make 2 holes for the ribbon to go through so you can tie up the circle.  Pick a spot on the backside of bias tape and make a straight line.
MAKE SURE YOU UNFOLD your bias tape and make the button holes through only 1 layer.  Using your button hole setting on your machine, make two button holes

Step 5:
From the center of your bias tape, with the wider side down, measure 1.5 inches and pin just the underside for the first 2 pins

After the first 2 pins, continue to measure and pin both the top and bottom of the bias tape 1.5 inches from the edge of the circle. Until you get to your last 6 inches.(Note: the outside edge will stand up, just make sure your center circle is flat).
  Now, your bias tape should meet up and you should have a little extra.  Clip off the extra

Now unfold the bias tape completely on the edges.
Fold both sides of the tape so the inside edges just touch.
 Mark that spot, make a line and sew it RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
 Trim off the extras.
Fold the tape back up and repin either side of the stitch so both layers of tape are pinned on ALL pins.

With the inside up sew all the way around the tape using a strong stitch.

Now, you can see the whole thing pops up, but since of bias tape was cut on the bias, we have a bit of give and can iron it nice and....

Step 6:
For the last step you are going to need something that is solid that you can tie your ribbon to.  I used a mechanical pencil.

Tie the ribbon on, and pull from one button hole, around the edging all the way to the other one.

You are done!
(You can make a picnic blanket like I did.  It is just a pillow with no stuffing.)
When you are done playing, just pull the ribbon and it all cinches up for the next tea party!

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