I-Spy Bags

Some of the simple gifts I made this year were I-Spy Bags for some of the littles in my family and church. A few years ago I made some of these for Lily and her cousins Mason and Max, and they were a huge hit among the recipients.

A few weeks ago I happened across one at the thrift store made of fleece. Rather badly made, actually. The window was reeeeeaaaallly crooked, and the seams were super wonky. Not judging – my first sewing efforts weren’t any better, and it was functional at least. Functional, but not very pretty. But it was only a dollar, and I knew I could use the filling, so I snatched it up. The last ones I made were from corduroy, and I finished off all the seams and made them look really nice. But I really liked the idea of using a non-fraying fabric to make these a quick project, and I knew that they would look great in felt too.

I chose patterns that were a bit I-Spyish themselves, which stretches the entertainment value of these.

Since I did these as gifts rather than as an actual blog project, I didn’t take step by step photos. So this isn’t really a tutorial per se, but it’s a very simple project. Here are the basic steps:

  • Cut two pieces of felt to the same dimensions. I just cut mine into squares the size of the width of the piece of felt, but you can really do any shape/size you want. 
  • Fold one piece in half and cut out the inside of the shape, leaving at least an inch border all around. This is your front piece.
  • Cut a piece of clear vinyl the same shape as your opening, but about an inch bigger on all sides. I got my vinyl at Walmart, but you can also reuse a piece from the sorts of bags that sheet sets come in. The thicker the vinyl the better, but really any thickness is fine just so long as it’s actually vinyl/plastic and not say, a Ziploc bag. 
  • Sew the vinyl over the opening of the front piece with the vinyl against the wrong side of the felt. It’s okay to pin the vinyl to the felt to keep it in place, but ONLY if you keep your pins at the edge of the vinyl. If you put pin holes in your window, you will be able to see them, and it could eventually cause a tear in the window. Plus if you’re anything like me, it will bug you forever and you’ll never be quite happy with the finished project. Ahem. 
  • If you don’t want to risk getting the pin holes too close, you can hold the felt and vinyl together with wonder clips while you sew them. I actually just bought these (not an affiliate link) with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas, and I love them! Way cheaper than Clover Wonder Clips, and they worked awesome holding slippery chiffon in place on some curtains I recently hemmed for a lady at church. 
  •  Also, vinyl tends to stick to your presser foot, so you can either switch to a Teflon foot or walking foot for this step, or you can stick a piece of scotch tape to the bottom of your presser foot to help it slide.
  • Clip the edges of your vinyl 1/4 inch from your seam.
  • Place your front and back pieces wrong sides together and sew with a 1/4 inch seam all the way around, leaving 2-3 inches open for filling.
  • Fill your bag about 2/3 full with the filling of your choice. I always use poly pellets just because they won’t mold or decay if they happen to get wet. When I gave Max his, he was Sawyer’s age, and he promptly chucked it into the lobster tank at Red Lobster. We pulled it out and rinsed it out very well, then laid it out to dry and it was good as new by the next day. But if you don’t want to use poly pellets, you can use rice, beans, lentils, corn, or even pony beads. 
  • Add your treasures. These can be anything tiny like buttons, Barbie shoes, dollhouse miniatures, coins, mini seashells, toy soldiers, etc. I made one for Lily, and hers included mostly girly/princessy stuff, like Barbie high heels, tiny dishes, mini baby blocks, etc. I made one each for Sawyer, my nephews Lawrence and Levi, and my friend Melissa’s little boy Jackson. Theirs had things like buttons, miniature animals, a tiny pirate sword, small wood cuts shaped like mustaches and cameras, toy coins, and skull beads to name a few. If you’re making several, you might want to hit up the baby shower section at Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby for cupcake toppers like mini teddy bears, baby figurines, and pacifiers. Or you can find an assortment of trinkets on Etsy. 
  • Sew your opening shut. Either go slowly to make sure your filling is not getting under your needle or move it all to the opposite side of the bag from the opening and pin the bag shut to keep it out of the way. All done!
Jackson was a fan of his. 🙂
These are a super quick sew, and they’re great for keeping little ones quiet in church. 
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