“Adult colouring in” is a real thing now, and my wife loves it. I decided to make her a bag to keep all her colouring stuff in. Here’s how I did it.
The first step in any project like this is planning. I needed to work out how I was going to put it together and what material I needed. The plan showed me how much I would need (the plan has to have measurements) and also what order I’d need to sew it together to ensure that it doesn’t look sloppy.
The first picture is the overall plan – what the pieces will look like, how they’ll fit together and the measurements. The second picture is how I could fit all of the pieces into one piece of material and how I’d need to cut it up.
Once I had cut all the pieces out of the material (which my wife chose), I had to make sure I didn’t get them mixed up. This project also took a number of days to complete, so I had to be able to pack it away if needed. My workbench is also the dining room table!
With all the pieces cut out, I then could start sewing. I wanted to make sure the bag was padded so that nothing would get damaged inside. To do this, I used some left over calico material I had to double up the pieces I cut out of the main material. I then cut out some wadding to use as padding. With the pieces padded, it also added stability to the bag so that the bag could stand up and not be floppy. Once the parts were all cut out, I just had to sew around the edges to keep it all together. Later on I’ll put bias binding around the edges to ensure it won’t fray and keep the bag nice and strong.
I wanted the pencils to be kept in the bag, but not just in a tin. I decided to get a little fancy and sew elastic onto a couple of walls of the bag so that the pencils could be kept there. I sewed across the elastic at about 1.5cm spacing so that once the pencils were put in place they would stay there. I also decided during the planning that the front of the bag would fold out so that the pencils could be used individually, rather than having to get them all out at once. It’s important to remember to sew the elastic onto the material before the wadding and bias binding is added so that you can’t see where the elastic has been sewn.
The next step was the bias binding. It takes a bit of practice to work out the technique, but it’s worth it. It looks great and keeps the bag strong.Every single piece has bias binding added to it before the bag was sewn together so that it looked good and stopped fraying. The big tip here is to make sure you have enough bias binding before you start – I had to run to the shops half way throgh only to find out they had run out of the colour I used! I found a colour similar, but it was quite annoying.
Here’s a finished piece with the bias binding around the edges. This is the side piece that folds up at the front and forms the side of the bag once it’s finished. I have also sewn a line along where the bag will fold so that it will move easily once it’s done.
I hadn’t made a bag before so I tried to design it from scratch. The method I decided to use was to build the inner sections and then have one long piece of material wrap around the middle – this would form the front, back and the flap over the top. I had to test constantly that the pieces were going together in the right order and with the pattern.
The next three pictures show a) the bottom piece that wraps around, b) The middle part sitting on the wrap around piece for testing, c) with the bag closed to make sure the material is long enough before sewing.
Once I was happy with the test, I then sewed it all together – the handle is integral to the stability of the sides and the internal part.
Once finished and cleaned up, I put the bag on the couch to take some final shots. Overall I thought it turned out really well. However, it’s strong and it’s functional and any imperfections are not noticeable at first glance. My wife was very happy with it – which is the main measure of success.
Overall the project took about 3 ten hour days, not including the planning. The overall cost in just materials is around $30.
The design ended up achieving everything I had wanted it to. The handle is double padded and able to be tucked into the bag itself for storage. The pencil part folds out nicely held in it’s folded state with two buttons. The top flap has large wooden buttons on the front to hold everything in. The rear section of the bag holds an electric lamp so my wife can do colouring in anywhere. The middle section holds the colouring book, the front has the pencils. With the middle section having it’s own floor, it means that when the wrap around piece goes on, the bottom of the bag has a double padded bottom.
I really enjoyed the project as a whole and got a great sense of accomplishment when it was done. It’s nice to see a project finished and I was really happy with how it turned out. I wouldn’t make the same bag again as it is really time consuming. However, I learned a lot of this during the project.