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At two years old, my oldest daughter is currently at the perfect age to jump head first into the wonderful world of arts and crafts (I couldn’t be more proud/excited!). This means that I spend a fair amount of time every day being asked, “Can I color, Mommy?”, “Mommy, where are my crayons?”. In fact, her current interest is so high that the coloring demand is not confined to just our own home. Wherever we go, she often asks to bring along her crayons.
Not wanting to stifle her creativity, I found myself grabbing a random bag and throwing her coloring books and crayons inside. While this got the job done, this also resulted in loose crayons and a bag that was too large for my daughter to conveniently carry herself (i.e. it became one more thing that Mom and Dad had to carry around).
A few brainstorming techniques, some Pinterest digging for inspiration, and some trial and error later… my version of a”children’s coloring bag” was a reality. Now, whenever we are on-the-go and my daughter has that desire to bring her coloring books and crayons along, she simply grabs her bag. Not only does this allow her to carry her own bag (size fits her perfectly), but it also cuts down on the time of having to pack an art bag. This particular bag stays put together in our household. She knows that these particular crayons and coloring books are just for on-the-go coloring; keeping the coloring books fun and exciting!
(TIP: I find the highest quality coloring books with the most relevant characters can be found at, drumroll please… the local dollar store! At the Dollar Tree I often can be found raiding their aisles and stocking up with coloring books. And the best part… they are a dollar!)
Looking to make one for yourself?… here is my step-by-step tutorial!
Don’t quite feel confident in your sewing skills? Don’t let that stop you! Check out my post on “How I Taught Myself to Sew and You can Too!” Or, simply, check out this ideal video tutorial of Sewing Machine Basics. Then step over to these Online Craft Classes (select “Sewing”) that include video demonstrations in order to learn more advanced techniques!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- sewing machine
- ruler/yard stick/measuring tape
- chalk (I prefer chalk to mark measurement cutting lines so I don’t damage the fabric)
- fabric (any pattern or design of your choosing. You will see that I chose three different fabrics to give a fun, childlike theme to it with bright colors. However, you can easily choose just one fabric for the entire project if desired. Also, keep in mind that this is an awesome project to use scrap material you may have lying around. I used up scrap material for my straps below.)
- Crayons and coloring books to include in your finished bag!
Begin with prepping and cutting your fabric…
1.) I recommend washing and drying (in the dryer vs. air drying) your fabric prior to beginning this project. This allows for any pre-shrinking. The reality of it is that this is a child’s product. Crayon markings, dirty fingers, etc. will all leave their marks on this bag. With that said, I wanted a bag I could easily toss in the laundry without risk of it shrinking and altering shape after all my hard work.
2.) Iron all the dried fabric so that fabric sizing doesn’t deceive you.
3.) Begin with cutting the fabric for the main portion of the bag. You will want to cut FOUR pieces. Two for the outside portion of the bag and two for the inside portion of the bag. In my case, this is the porcupine fabric (for the outside portion) and the green fabric (for the inside portion). All four pieces should be cut to 12″ x 13″.
4.) Next, you will cut the fabric for your straps. In my case this was the orange fabric. Cut TWO pieces of 4″ x 38″ fabric. (Note: in the picture above, you will see that my orange fabric doesn’t quite match these measurements. I chose to use up some of my scrap fabric for the straps and as a result had to sew pieces together to get to that overall 38″ in length.)
5.) Lastly, you will want to cut the fabric for your pocket that holds the crayons. I chose my pocket to be 8″ x 8″ in order to allow for the holding of larger crayons. This pocket can be customized per your desire. (Note: If you wish to have your bag hold markers or colored pencils instead, you will want to create a deeper pocket.)
Now that your fabric is prepped and cut, it is time to get to pinning and sewing…
6.) You will want to begin by pinning your outer fabric of your bag to the inner fabric of your bag. Make sure that the printed aspects of the fabric/the design is facing outward on both sides. Complete this same task on all four large pieces.
7.) Once pinned, you will want to simply stitch approximately 1/2 inch around your two joined pieces.
8.) Now that your two pieces are sewn together, you will be left with two reversible pieces of fabric as compared to your previous four. Find the top of your rectangular piece and fold over the top approximately 1/2 inch TWICE (i.e. two folds. This ensures that no frayed edges are showing). Fold the material towards the inside of the bag, pin and sew across the top. Do this on both pieces of reversible fabric.
9.) Now, we will move onto the straps. Simply fold the edges of your straps inward approximately 1/2 inch. Then pin and sew along the seam. (Note: You can see here where I sewed my scrap pieces together to get to the desired length.)
10.) Now that you have your pinned edges of your straps (see above picture) sewn, simply fold the fabric over (lining up your hemmed edges) and pin down the middle. You will then sew the folded edges together (sewing over the previous stitched line). I then chose to sew the same distance from the edge on the other side of the strap to prevent the fabric from bubbling up and to allow it to sit flat.
11.) Now, we will move on to the pocket. Similar to the straps, you will begin by folding inward the edges of your square and sewing them down.
12.) Again like the straps, you will fold over the fabric, lining up the hemmed edges. You will now sew along the top side of your pocket only (essentially sewing the two hemmed edges together) (Note: the sides of the pocket should remain open/not sewn shut.)
13.) Now, take the fabric from the front of your bag and center your pocket on the lower portion of the bag. Pin it in place. Now you are going to sew around the sides and bottom of your pocket so that it secured to your bag. Be sure to NOT sew the top of the pocket so that you can insert crayons inside.
14.) You will now want to create your slots for the crayons to fit snuggly inside. These openings may vary based on crayon size, whether you are using markers/colored pencils, etc. However, I made my openings spaced approximately 1.5 inches apart. I simply sewed a straight line down from the top of the pocket to the bottom.
15.) Time to sew on the straps. Below you see the front and back portions of the bag. The two straps should be laid out as shown. Place the bottom of the strap on the bottom of the bag and slightly overlap the side of the pocket (to hide the seams). Sew along the left and right side of each strap so that it is securely in place. For extra security, sew a criss-cross within a square pattern where the strap meets the top of the bag on both sides.
16.) Now that the straps are secured in place, turn the two sides/pieces inside out (or so the two outward pieces are now on the inside). In my case, you’d see the green fabric on both sides. Pin along the sides and sew approximately 1/2 inch around all three edges (obviously not sewing the top edges together so items can be placed inside).
17.) You bag is now complete! Simply turn it inside out once more so that your outer pieces are showing! Insert your crayons and coloring books and enjoy!
Now that you have mastered your very own “Children’s Coloring Bag”, are you inspired to keep the sewing projects alive for your kiddos? If so, be sure and check out additional Sewing For Little Ones projects. Complete tutorials included!
Enjoy these FREE mom and Mother’s Day themed coloring pages!
Fill up your coloring bag with these Free Coloring Pages from Crayola!
Let the sewing and coloring begin!