Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mr. Postman Mail Bag Tutorial

This bag is sure to make your child's imagination run wild! Here's the tutorial if any of you would like to try your hand at it.
You'll need:
  • Two pieces of canvas or linen 28x12 inches (the main part of the bag)
  • One old cloth belt cut to 36 inches long (the strap)
  • Four pieces of canvas or linen 9.5x2.5 inches (the sides of the bag)
  • Red and blue scrap ribbon 11 inches ling
  • One sticker from the post office
These are my rough sketches of the finished bag dimensions. I allowed for 1/2 inch seams. The idea is that you'll make one big flap, press it where you see the dotted lines in the picture below, then you'll sew on the sides. Let's go!
Start with your two largest pieces of canvas and stitch around the outside perimeter leaving a small hole to flip it inside out.
Flip it inside out and press (iron) the seams, then do a top stitch around the perimeter again.
You'll want to refer back to the earlier picture I drew and press creases into your canvas corresponding to the dotted lines on my drawing. Now set that aside.
Next we work on the sides.
Cut the clasp or buckle off of your belt and leave the length 36 inches. You want your finished length to be 34 inches on the bag, so this will give you 1 inch on either side to secure it.
As you did with the main body of the bag, you'll want to sew the two side pieces together, flip inside out and press (iron) the seams, then do a top stitch around the perimeter again. Before you finish off the top of this side piece, insert one inch of one of the ends of your belt in and sew it securely. I sewed it in a square pattern with an "x" to be sure the strap wouldn't pull out. Repeat this step for the other side of the bag.
Your two pieces will look like this:
Now just pin them together and sew the sides on. To embellish, sew the ribbon on the front and slap your sticker on from the post office! All done!
One of my friends saw the Mr. Postman bag and sent me this picture of her son's costume for Halloween a few years ago! I had to share it with you! Now that's one cute mail man!
P.S. For the letters, I used the wooden blocks found in the woodworking section of Michael's. They are normal postcard size and the thickness is about the same as foam board. The stamp, address label and return address labels are all true to size too and also small wooden pieces found in the same section. Each of the letter components attach to the letter with small pieces of Velcro to make it fun and educational!

12 comments:

The Harris Family said...

Thank you for the tutorial! My girls would have so much fun with this.
-Crystal

markandlouise said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this! I'm adding it to my to-do-list as I expand my son's dress-up wardrobe. Thank you!

Just Rhonda said...

love love love it!!! It totally rocks!

Anna said...

very cute Sarah! I think lots of kids LOVE the postman, I know my girls do. They'd love this bag. :)

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

This is so, SO cool! I loved playing mail as a kid. So much fun! Thanks tons for this, I'll be linking.

Mid-Craft Crisis said...

Thanks for posting this. Came over from One Pretty Thing. I made my kids a fabric mailbox from a tutorial I found online and this would be perfect to go with it.

Luv 2 Craft said...

Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas! We have nominated you for a Lemonade Stand Award! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas with us!

http://weluv2craft.blogspot.com/

Sarah and John Root said...

Oh I'm so glad you posted this tutorial. I am just in love with your mail bag. It is so darling. I am going to attempt this project for my 2 1/2 year old because he has become obsessed with getting our mail everyday :). Hopefully it turns out 1/2 as cute as yours.

Jenifer said...

I had a friend ask me to make 6 of these for her for a preschool class. I thought the project was really cute and looked pretty easy, but after finishing 7 of them in the last 7 days and breaking 7 sewing machine needles, I thought I'd post a few tips I learned.

If I were to do this again, there is no way I'd use canvas. I'd use a MUCH thinner material like linen or a quilting cotton to make it much easier to sew. Using multiple layers of canvas sewn together was really hard on my machine. It would have been worlds easier with a thinner fabric.

Also, it would be helpful to trim the corners of the two pieces of fabric that are sewn together before you flip them right side out. It would make the corners a lot easier to flatten out. And it would make for less bulk to sew through when attaching the side pieces to the main piece.

When sewing the side pieces to the main pieces, it was easiest for me to sew the 1 1/2" bottom (the part without the strap coming out) first, and then attach the sides. Just sayin'.

Anyways, thanks for posting a tutorial that is going to make a bunch of preschool kids happy this week.

Sarah said...

Jennifer,
Thanks for all of your tips. I'm so glad to hear that the tutorial has worked out for you. You're so sweet to make all of those... I can imagine that you're pretty sick of the Mr. Postman bag now!! :)

sue said...

I Love the tutorial and my kids love the bag. Blogged about it here:
http://wesandsue.blogspot.com/2010/02/delivering-some-love.html

Thanks again for the awesome idea

cookyousomenoodles said...

Thank you Sarah for this great tutorial - my 3 year old loves it. you're wonderful for sharing.
- Mariane