Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Preschool Prep 2

As I wrote about yesterday, K starts twice-a-week preschool next month. The school day lasts from 9 to 2, which means he will eat lunch at school. Once a week he will have the school lunch and once a week I'll make him his lunch (bento).

Because of this, I had to make his bento bag, as well as his cutlery/apron bag. I decided Thomas fabric for both bags would be cute.

K's school is quite lax in exact sizes and styles, they just ask that the bag be a bit bigger than necessary as kids sometimes struggle if the fit is too perfect. I had no idea what style bag to make, so I asked one of my best friends here what she did for her children. Their school has much stricter guidelines and even provides a pattern, which I ended up using. It was so simple!

Start by cutting two squares/rectangles of the same size - one for the outside and one for the lining. Round two of the corners (the rounded edge will be for the flap). Sew the opposite end together, fabric right sides facing.

Then flip the fabric over, so the wrong sides are together and top stitch over the seam you just made.

The trickiest bit of this bag comes now. Holding that seam, pull the rounded end of the fabric up, creating an overlap - this will be the pocket. You have to fold each side up so that the right sides are facing again. If you were to spread your folds apart, you would end up with a "W" shape. Make sure you have it all lined up perfectly, pin and sew a seam from the folded pocket part, up around the rounded corner and onto the top of the flap. Stop an inch or two from the middle. Then continue leaving a couple of inches for turning, all the way down to the other side of the folded pocket.

This is what the folded pocket part looks like after sewing, but before flipping.

When you flip the bag right-side out, you have a perfect little pouch with a flap. The next step in the pattern is to fold the bag so the lining is showing and square off the corners. Depending on what you plan to use this pouch for, however, this step isn't even necessary. The final step is to add a velcro closing. Just sew the soft half to the top of the pocket and the bumpy half to the top of the flap.

I wanted to use the dot fabric somehow and I thought the bag was a bit lacking, so I cut out two rectangles of the dots to add a little bit of excitement to the flap. I sewed the velcro onto one of the dotted rectangles. I also added a bit of interfacing to give the rectangle some strength. Then I sewed them together, halfway up the short ends.

Next I sewed the rectangle onto the middle of the flap. Finally, I cut out one of K's favorite trains, Gordon, and appliqued him onto the outside rectangle.

As I mentioned yesterday, every item they take to school needs their name on it. I added the name tape and the bento bag was done!

Next up was the cutlery and apron bag. I found this style of bag to be simple to make, so used the same idea to make the second bag. I made this one slighly longer since the cutlery case is a tad on the long side. Also, instead of Gordon I appliqued Hiro (another favorite) to the flap of this bag.

K seemed pleased with these bags as well and keeps wanting to use his new bento box. He likes practicing putting the bento box in and taking it out. I let him practice a bit for a day or two, but then I decided to take them away as they are for school - one more thing for him to get excited about seemed like a good idea.

Bentos are a big deal here and lots of moms go all out making them cute for their kids. I totally plan on doing this, but I am a tad worried about how to do it/making them look cute, but not too cute. Also, I really have no idea if K will even eat cute food - he is really quite funny with this food. On Saturday we went to the bookstore and I bought two bentos-for-kindergarteners books. They are SO CUTE! I figured it would be a good idea to see how K would react to cute food, so on Sunday I made him a cute-ish lunch.
He was stoked on the mini hotdogs and onigiri, but a bit hesitant on the quail eggs. That being said, there are a million cute things to do with quail eggs - I think I'm going to keep pushing them! He ended up eating one, but gave the rest to me. I also gave him carrot sticks and a banana, but they weren't cute, so I didn't take a photo of those bits. Eeek! The possibilities for cute bentos is so super exciting to me. I'll likely post about them once they start up (probably not until May, as he has mostly half days until then). I'm so excited!!

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