Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dual Purpose Ballet/Lunch Bag

While I still have yet to tackle the coveted "elephant apron", I have finished another special project that I had decided a long time I would make for Little Miss: her very own ballet bag!

She's entering her first dance class ever on Thursday and although she quipped the other day, "But I don't need dance lessons, Mom, because I already KNOW how to dance!" she is very excited to go and hang out with all the "dancing girls."  (And basically won't stop talking about how she is now a "Bana-reela.")

Being the super inexperienced new dance-mom on the block I had no clue where to go about town collecting all the dance gear.  Thankfully I had a brainwave about Zappos and ended up finding suitable ballet and tap shoes on there for a pretty reasonable price.  (The free shipping back and forth were they to not have fit properly was totally worth it when I considered the alternative of schlepping the kids all around town looking for the proper foot gear.)

So now that we finally had her tights, leotard, ballet, and tap shoes in hand, I wanted a place we could keep all these things so that when it came time for dance class we wouldn't be running around wondering where we left them.  We recently installed some hooks by our front door as a little launch pad (we have no coat closet) so now the bag has someplace to live as well.

I used this free lunchbag pattern I found over at The Long Thread awhile back.  I made sure to measure the contents of the bag first to be sure they would fit (Little Miss is 3 and wears size 8 shoes . . . and everything stores away beautifully with room to spare.)  The pattern is very straightforward, so anyone looking to make this pattern should know it is very easy to modify larger or smaller depending on the size of your average lunch (or the size of your tap shoes.)

Does it seem odd that I chose a lunch bag pattern to make a dance gear bag?  The truth is, it is hard to say for sure how long Little Miss will participate in dance . . . this year's lessons were a gift from her generous grandparents.  So whether for economic reasons or reasons generating from her own interest (or lack thereof), I didn't want the bag to be too one-purposed.

So I made it a lunch bag.

A few modifications I made: longer straps and velcro instead of a magnetic snap (I didn't have a snap so I used what I had).  Since I was using that special Kokka Peter Pan and Tinkerbell fabric for the front and back I decided to stabilize it a bit by ironing some craft fuse to the back.  This stiffened it up quite a bit and gives the bag much more shape and stability than the dobby cotton would have on its own (the pattern itself calls for canvas, I think).

The sides and the inner lining are made from Erin McMorris Weekends Oilcloth in Saturdays Pink.

I very STUPIDLY cut my main piece of fabric too short and didn't have enough left to re-cut a new piece, so I ended up MacGyvering the thing together with some scrap muslin I had that matched the shade of the Tinkerbell fabric and covered my tracks with some ribbon from the stash that actually coordinated pretty well with the colors in both the fabrics.

It was only upon completion of the bag that I realized that the muslin cover-up made a nice border I could have used to personalize the bag with her name.  Oh well.

Overall I'm very pleased with how the bag turned out and can't WAIT to see Little Miss twirling and tapping away with all her "dancing girls."  ;)

I'm linking up to some fun parties this week.  You can check them out and join in on the fun RIGHT HERE.  :)


Jessica September 7, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

Super gorgeous, I love it! I thought your muslin MacGyvering was totally on purpose until you said something ;) Super cute! I think my little Miss would love something similar once she starts dance (she is two and also a size 8, omg).

Love the fabric!

Skooks September 7, 2010 at 1:04 PM  

Jessica - Thanks! Yes, some accidents are happy ones. In my case it was nice to re-discover that ribbon because it helped tie the 2 fabrics together better (and when I say 2, I really mean all 3). Had I seen the oilcloth up close in a store before purchasing it (as it was, both the Kokka and the oilcloth were bought online), I would have never probably thought to pair them in such a way. As it stands now, I think they work together quite well!

Ronni and Sean September 7, 2010 at 8:05 PM  

The ribbon is a PERFECT cover. Love it!

Skooks September 7, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

Ronni - Thanks! :) It's tempting sometimes to trip and say, "I meant to do that." Good thing it worked out or I would have been majorly grumpy over the wasted fabric.

Kathy September 9, 2010 at 8:36 PM  

Aahh yes, sometimes "mistakes" make the best creations -- great looking bag (and loved that Tinkerbell fabric when I first saw it). Great way to use it for sure. What a lucky girl is Little Miss.

Sara @ Sew Sweetness December 18, 2010 at 12:17 AM  

Beautiful bag! I know my daughter would certainly love it! Hopefully the dancing is still continuing! :-) Thanks so much for entering my handbag pattern giveaway!

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