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