First Day of School!!

I am a procrastinator and an overplanner, quite the deadly combination. Because I make K weekly outfits, I uncharacteristically haven’t been thinking too much about school clothes other than the first day outfit. We got the requisite new shoes, snacks and lunch food, and her school implemented a new system involving cash donations for supplies (e.g. pencils, notebooks, etc.) which I finally got around to doing, so I was feeling pretty prepared. Then I realized: backpack!! And then: lunch box!! I plumb forgot about them.

Today is the first day of second grade for K, and thirty hours ago I embarked on making her school bag and lunch sack. I could have re-used last year’s, of course, and I had some vague notion about doing so at the beginning of summer, but my little K is hard on her things and they were looking woefully shabby when I pulled them out. Plus, I have this pesky mission to make as many things as possible if I can get away with it.

Now, there are so many fantastic backpack tutorials and patterns out there that seem quick and yield good-looking results. Did I go that route? Of course not. I decided I had to absolutely make the Oliver + S messenger bag from this book. Friends, the tracing of the pattern pieces and cutting of the fabrics alone took me three hours. Granted, it’s been so hot in our bedroom and I haven’t been sleeping well so multitudes of mistakes slowed me down, but still.

I think Liesl deserves a Nobel Prize in sewing. Her instructions are so thorough and well-written! The details of the bag make it look extremely professional and as always with O + S patterns, I felt like I was back in school in the best way. Once I got everything cut and ready, the sewing was actually very easy, even if all that basting made it somewhat time-consuming. I stitched up the larger size and it’s perfect for her homework folder and some pencils and an extra sweater. The back view:

I’ve had this printed canvas for a few months, and I’m pretty sure I got it from here. The aqua lining is the same corduroy I used for these pants. And the grey shoulder strap and binding is a linen blend. I love this color combo! Okay, it could possibly pass for a diaper bag, but K adores it so we won’t go there. Oh, and I got these cool (faux?) leather buckles from Nancy’s as well, and I think they really step things up a notch. I purchased some extra buckles to make a messenger bag for myself because this pattern is amazing.

I also made a lunch sack using this book, and this one was a super fast project. Especially since I did away with the bamboo batting. K’s school doesn’t start until 9:30 and her lunch is shortly after 11, and I rarely pack her food that needs insulation so I felt it was unnecessary. I’ve added her name with a Sharpie since taking these photos.

I have to point out that in my sleep-deprived state, I managed to sew the ticking stripes fabric incorrectly. You can see the difference in the stripes above. I ended up liking the way it looked and called it good. The white fabric is a linen blend — in fact, unless I specify the fabric, you should assume that it’s linen or a linen-blend. I use it for everything. The bag is quite big for a lunch sack – 11 x 13 inches, and it fits her water bottle and bento box with plenty of room to spare.

I’ve learned from the past, and asked K which fabrics she would like for me to use – by sheer coincidence, she chose exactly the two fabrics I had in mind. A girl after my own heart. I may not have gotten much shut-eye, but I finished these in the nick of time and now K is totally ready for school. I wish I could have snapped a photo with her with the bag, but she wasn’t in the mood. My second grader….I hope her first day of school goes well today!

13 Thoughts on “First Day of School!!

  1. Lovely, and so refreshing that you didn’t make the whole bag in under an hour. Those kind of projects take me forever too!

    • Thanks Shelley! I was shocked at how long the bag took; but in the end it was worth it. Oliver + S consistently hits it out of the park when it comes to construction quality and beautiful finishing touches!

  2. I could not agree more with Lightning McStitch’s comment! Bags take forever, don’t they? And I too always procrastinate on them.

    • A well-made bag is a thing of beauty, I have to say. And this one is going to last the whole year, I’m sure of it. Of course, it will also remind me of sweating profusely in my sweltering sewing room while making this…

  3. Lucinda on September 5, 2013 at 9:26 am said:

    The coincidence of your posting is funny . . . I just came here from searching the internet for backpack tutorials! After one week of kindergarten, we are realizing that the O & S penguin backpack (from the same book you used) is not big enough. Love this messenger bag, and I agree that the teal with grey is a winning color combo! Good for you for having the patience to see the project to its completion – esp. in your sleep-deprived state (hope that’s improving). And did you know I’m a huge fan of blue and white ticking? So classic!

    • I’ve seen some great tutorials for backpacks! We’ll have to swap notes. :-) I made the penguin backpack a few years ago too, and we came to the same conclusion about the size when K started kindergarten (congrats to L, by the way – what a big milestone!). And yes, ticking stripes are the best!

  4. I love the bag you made! My kids laugh at me because I have a lunch bag obsession along with a lunch container obsession. I had to restrain myself from making any new bags this year :)

    • I’m crazy about lunch containers too! Especially the ones made out of metal – so cool! I need to check out your blog to see your creations! :-)

      • Lol my creations are nothing like yours! I love your style and really wish my own was more like it but it’s not :) Even when I start out with a sort of neutral pallet I end up adding tons of color and contrast. Oh well I guess we all have our own styles.

  5. Pingback: Sewing Trends with Rachael | Sew Mama Sew |

  6. I love the bag! Did you lengthen the pattern piece for the front flap? It looks fabulous.

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