Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Spy Instructions You Can Read

I had someone logged in as "Anonymous" ask for clearer intructions for my I Spy Bag Tutorial last night.  Here they are.  For a full tutorial with photos, please refer to the pictures in the original post.  This is just to help if there were words you couldn't read due to my choice in fonts :0)
Sorry about that!

I Spy With My Little Eye Bag

I made my bags 7 3/4"unfinished, or 7 1/4" finished. I really like this size and it ends up just the right size for making 3 out of a quarter yard piece of fabric. I layered 3 different fabrics one top of each other. Each piece was 1/4 yard tall. 3 one quarter yard pieces will give you 12 bags. To start out, straighten the bottom, then cut a 2" strip that runs the length of the fabric. Move that piece out of the way, then cut two 7 3/4" squares, two 2" strips, and there will be a strip left over. Next, I took one of the 7 3/4" squares, folded it in half, then cut two more 2" strips from it. You will not need the rest of the scraps.

Now cut your vinyl. I ended up with a clear window that measured 4 1/4". In order to get that measurement in the end, you will need to cut your plastic 4 3/4" wide. For 3 bags, your plastic needs to be 15" long. That makes your total measurement for the plastic 4 3/4x15". If you are making just one, you need a square of plastic 4 3/4 x 4 3/4". Take that long 2" fabric strip and cut it at 15" as well. You will need two fabric strips 2x15". I read several craft forums on making these bags. Some people had a hard time sewing the plastic on their machine due to the fact it tends to stick. I laid my plastic, then fabric on the machine, on top of a piece of tissue paper. In the past I have used regular printer paper as well. Lay your fabric on top, sew as you normally would, then simply tear the paper off afterwards.*note* I was able to reduce the pressure foot  tension on this machine to the point that the tissue was not necessary, but it works great to slide it under the plastic if it starts to stick!!!

When doing more than one set, I don't even lift the needle. Simply lift your pressure foot, slide the next strip in there, and keep on sewing. This is faster and makes for way less threads to cut later. When you get the first strip sewn on, lay the next long strip on top of the plastic and sew in place. When you have the fabric sewn on, you can rip off the tissue paper from behind the plastic. Finger press the fabric flat, then carefully iron it down without touching the plastic :0)Take your time! Next, sew a top stitch over your fabric strips, about 1/8" inch away from the plastic. Trim off the end so you can start with a straight edge for measuring. Measure over 4 3/4" and cut. Repeat 3 times so you end up with 3 rectangles, one for each bag. 

Head back to your machine and stitch on a 2 x 7 3/4" strip like this... I should mention, as I was reading those forums on making these bags, several ladies recommended not sewing with too close of a stitch length. I would think a tight, short length would make it less likely the beads would come out. Not so. It actually perforates the plastic, causing a big hole. Instead, top stitch a little ways from your first stitch to reinforce without creating a hole. Now turn the project around and stitch the other strip on the other side! Are we having fun yet???  Once again, finger press the seams open. It helps when you go to iron them flat.  Here I am ironing very close to the plastic without actually touching it! It is possible!

I wanted to include pictures with my label of items in the bag. It helps little kids that cannot read yet to know what they are looking for. I thought it would be difficult, but it really wasn't hard to find pictures. Since I am not selling these, I went to Google, typed in something like... "pictures of a clothespin" and hit enter.  Magically hundreds of pictures popped up. I looked ‘til I found one I liked, right click, save to file, and tried the next object. I was able to find every picture I needed and it only took about 30 min. You are welcome to use mine if you would rather :0)

The whole process of making the labels was boring and fun at the same time. I use the bubble jet recipe found at the link below. You soak your fabric for 15 min., let it dry, iron it to heat-n-bond, then run it through your printer. It really works! I washed a test piece from a previous project. The colored ink faded quite a bit, but the black was just as strong as it started. I figured it would work fine for these due to the fact I don't plan to wash them. If I do, the words should fair just fine, we just might lose a few pictures. For the $$$$ savings, I am OK with that! Next step, peel the paper off the back of the label, iron the label to the fabric, and stitch it down (I used my machine and a zig-zag stitch because I am lazy).

Once your label is sewn onto the back, place your front and your back pieces together, right sides together, and sew around them. I like to start just in from the corner, sew to the corner, around the other three sides, and an inch or two after the last corner. You need to leave an opening for turning and filling, but by sewing an inch or two on each side, you make the closing lots easier and cleaner. Clip your corners, open the bag at the section not stitched, and turn inside out. I like to use a dowel or bbq skewer to push the corners out. It gives it that fresh, professional finish when your corners look nice and have shape.

***Note-found out the hard way you need to clip all threads at this stage or you will see them floating around in there the rest of your life!!!***

Now for the fun part! The Toys!!! Place a piece of paper down for each bag. It makes pouring into the bags way easier! Go down your list gathering each item one at a time-that way you won't forget any :0) Put one on each piece of paper.  When you have them all divided out, bend one end of the paper and pour the toys into the bags. I like to use my canning funnel for the pouring. It's mouth is wide enough for the toys, while the top is wide enough to catch all the beads. My bags held 2 cups of poly pellets. The bag of poly pellets cost me $7 at Joanns and had 7 cups of beads in it-definitely the most expensive part of the project.

Remember not to fill the bags too full. There needs to be space to push things around. Once everything is in there, it is time to sew it up! I used my machine, again with the lazy thing, but you can whip stitch it shut if you want to. Just watch out for loose beads when you are running the bag through your machine. I don't think beads and needles are very good friends :0)

The finished product!!!You can finish three of these bags in 2 hours or less, depending on how many children are interrupting you... and for somewhere around $5-7 a bag depending on what you put inside and if you are buying everything from the store. If you are attacking your toy box and your fabric stash, you can get away with it for much less! 

Thanks so much for asking!!!
With any other questions you can contact me at vanessa.cam5@gmail.com


  1. I love these bags. My kids have autism, and I used to have one that Sarah made me and we would take it to church. They would be entertained for all of Sacrament Meeting. :)

  2. I tweaked your pattern just a little, but I used your basic ideas to make these (we called them Mater's Fishin' Bags) for favors for my son's Cars themed birthday party. You can see my finished product and the other favors from the party here: http://azlabrat.blogspot.com/2011/08/party-part-two-favors-and-some-thank.html

  3. Wonderful tut! And aren't you nice to publish a link to just the text in a clear font. I have to say the self-deprecating way you handled the request for a simple font was so endearing! I would probably have gotten my feelings hurt at any criticism (even though it was not meant as such), but you displayed humility and charm. Thank you!

  4. Anonymous, thank you for that :0) What a sweet comment. You made my day!

    The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker


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