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Project Sixty Eight: A Messenger Bag with Button-On Flowers

July 16, 2011

Another birthday tomorrow, for a little girl who is turning ten and very excited about it! This little girl is feisty, funny, clever and witty; fiercely independent and opinionated; careful, caring and loving; and also happens to have Down’s Syndrome. She struggles a bit with her fine motor skills, and in particular with doing up buttons, and I designed her birthday present with that in mind.

Her favourite colours are dark blue and red, so I have made her a messenger bag using these colours, a messenger bag with a twist. I attached lots of buttons to the front of the bag and the strap, and then made fabric flowers with a button-hole in the middle to be attached to the bag via the buttons. I added a zip pocket to the back of the bag to store the flowers in. Hopefully the girl will enjoy customising her bag with the flowers, getting practice at doing up and undoing buttons without the pressure, and then frustration, that buttons usually give her when she is dressing herself.

I had a bit of trouble making the flowers for the bag. I wanted the fabric flowers to be double-sided, so at first I sewed the two bits of fabric together with th right sides together, then tried turning them the right side out, but they looked awful so I quickly abandoned that idea. I then thought I’d just use felt, so rummaged through the boy’s sewing stuff for his stash of felt, but the felt was nowhere to be found. Strange. I know he has a big bag of the stuff, I bought it for him myself. But it has mysteriously disappeared. I will probably find it in a few days in his Lego, or underwear drawer, or dressing up box or something, but for now, I had to abandon the idea of felt flowers.

I decided that I would just sew two pieces of fabric together, wrong sides facing, sewing a rough flower shape using a small zigzag stitch, then cutting carefully around the stitches to make each fabric flower. I made all the flowers using fabric from my scrap fabric mountain pile, and lined all the fabric first with stiff interfacing. I then just started stitching, moving the fabric as I sewed in order to give a flower shape. All the flowers are a bit different, and a few of them turned out looking a bit like Art Nouveau flowers. Nice. I then got to sift through my vintage button collection and actually use some of them instead of just hoarding them.

using the button-hole foot

The end result is rather pleasing, and I am pretty sure the recipient will be very proud of it. Hopefully attaching all the flowers and changing them around will help her practice buttoning up and unbuttoning, while feeling all grown up with her bag.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 1:14 am

    ohhh that is so sweet!

  2. July 17, 2011 5:59 am

    This is a very beautiful and thoughtful idea! The little flowers look so lovely.

    I am quite impressed with your sewing skills, and slightly jealous! It is a skill that I do not possess.

    It is very dilligent of you to find the time to do all of this. What a great project!

  3. July 17, 2011 7:10 am

    What a good idea. And well done for sacrificing some of your button stash!!

  4. July 17, 2011 10:49 am

    love the colours, i’m sure she will be delighted with it

  5. Cloud Spotter permalink
    July 17, 2011 12:06 pm

    Brilliant idea! I’m sure she’ll love it.

  6. Sonia permalink
    July 17, 2011 7:20 pm

    What a fab bag and I love the flower-button idea. I’m sure she’ll love it and treasure it.

  7. July 25, 2011 8:53 am

    From the mum of a 9 yr old with Down Syndrome, I really appreciate the concept of this beautiful bag. I am sure she will adore it! XXX

  8. July 25, 2011 12:16 pm

    so sweet and thoughtful! the bag looks really nice!

  9. August 12, 2011 11:26 am

    This is adorable. I might try to make one for my niece.

  10. November 7, 2011 8:02 am

    What a fantastic & very thoughtful present!

    I’m sure it went down a storm, and it’s now a much cherished bag!



  1. Button Bag « The Life You Want

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