August 2, 2010

one weekend, three birthday parties!

After finishing The Great Scrap Coat Challenge on Wednesday, I entered myself into an unofficial contest: The Great Birthday Gift Sewing Marathon! Charlie had three birthday parties to go to this weekend, and I was determined to make a homemade gift for each little birthday sweetie.

For the two birthday girls, I made backpacks like the one I made for my niece, Abby. I used MADE's Hobo Sack tutorial, and just did a few things differently to go from sack to pack:
(1) I added a pocket by cutting out a doubled-up (wrong sides together) piece of fabric using the Hobo Sack pattern, but only making it 8" tall from the bottom, then I added some bias tape to the top, basted the pocket to the front of the bag, and sewed up the middle of the pocket to divide it into two smaller pockets.
(2) I left a 1/2 inch gap at the bottom of each side of the bag (just next to the corner seams), which I later poked the straps through and stitched closed.
(3) I made the straps each 50" long (then adjusted them for a snug fit on my model before stitching them inside of the gaps at the sides).

Charlie is modeling Ella's backpack - Ella had a truly "dino-mite" party. I was so impressed with the creativity and organization her mom, Jaimee, achieved with so many kids there. Seriously, there were discovery centers set up and everything! Charlie had tons of fun, as did all the kids.

Marcus is modeling Anna's backpack - sweet little butterflies for my favorite little nature lover. Anna's party was super fun, too. Charlie took up semi-permanent residence in the sandbox, played basketball with his pals, and used giant bubble wands to make some pretty impressive bubbles. The thing I liked best about Anna's party was the gluten-free cake, which Karen (a fabulous baker) made (in addition to a white flour BEAUTIFUL ocean-scene cake) for the four of us GF guests. She's always so thoughtful.

I just had to include this picture of Marcus. He kept taking the backpack off before I could get a shot of him wearing it (which is why Charlie ended up modeling this one). Here he actually turned around and yelled, "HEY!" at me.

In addition to the bags, I made a birthday cape. This one was for Charlie's buddy, Charlie B, who had an amazing rocket party. Not only was this party fun, but the decorations and table arrangements were beautiful - I felt like I was inside of a birthday issue of Martha Stewart Living! Charlie's parents, Andrea and Jon, both have a sense of style and design that I would die to have.

Some of you have asked about my cape dimensions. This one is 13" wide at the top (with a 21" long collar strap), 36" wide at the bottom, and the length is 25" (Those are finished dimensions - I used a 1/2" seam allowance). I think this may be my favorite cape ever. I didn't intentionally try to make it have a retro look, but it totally turned out that way. I think Charlie B. really liked it, even though he had to wait a couple of days to get it, since his party was Saturday and I gifted this to him at a park playdate this morning. Such patience - maybe because he's four now!

Guess who else has a birthday coming up? That's right, my Charlie is turning the big 0-4 at the end of the month! I just scrambled to get his birthday party invitations out this morning. I hope I can come up with something as fun and darling as any of these parties we've been to this weekend! Wish me luck!

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