Category Archives: sewing

The “Boy on a Mission” Toddler Backpack

A week from Tuesday we’ll be taking a train to Santa Barbara, a plane to Seattle, and then a car to Lynnwood, WA. (yay) It’s going to be a long day. Since we’re not checking any bags, we’re doing some minimalist packing. This basically means that everything BabyJ & I need, including his travel diapers, will be stuffed into my backpack. (Dad can fend for himself.) I thought the easiest way to keep BabyJ’s books, toys, snacks and things from getting lost in the shuffle (read: lost in my overstuffed backpack) would be to give him his own bag–but there’s no way he’s going to carry one around all day. So, I started searching for a toddler backpack, which he can carry with no fuss, and which can easily clip onto one of our bags when he’s not wearing it.

First things first: the bones and muscle structures of very young children are still developing, and they shouldn’t be bearing more than their own weight. I know that 1) we will be carrying this backpack 90% of the time, 2) a soft book, a toy or two, and some mashed fruit don’t weigh much anyway, and 3) the point is for us to be organized and for him to recognize that he has his own place for his own things, not to turn him into a pack mule.

The backpacks I found at EcoBambino in downtown San Luis Obispo were ADORABLE! But, they were for age 3+ and I didn’t think that he’d be able to work the zippers reliably. So, in addition to being a little bit too big for him, they would probably frustrate him.

I started searching for patterns for toddler backpacks, and the simplest ones had drawstring closures, which I didn’t like. Finally, I found this pattern on the Indietutes blog, and I love it! It’s just a simple fold-over closure, but I think I’ll add some Velcro to keep things from tumbling out.

A toddler scooting around wearing a backpack, but no pants.
This boy is on a mission.

I put it on the boy, and he just took off around the house and continued to play. Backpack? Check. Pants? Who needs ’em?

The fabric I used is Dacron (Polyester), and while I usually prefer natural fibers, I have a soft spot in my heart for Dacron since sails are made out of it. This particular Dacron I purchased for about $5 a yard on clearance, for another project related to this trip. (More on that later.) I cut it in half right down the length of all four yards, and then realized that four yards were not enough for what I wanted to do. Too late! Now I have eight yards of 30″ wide fabric, which is basically useless for garments (adult-sized garments, anyway), so… it looks like I’ll be making several more orange toddler backpacks. Know any little people in need of adorable backpacks?

~Sarita Li

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Thrift Shop Finds May 2011 (Fabrics)

We found a great little thrift store a couple of blocks from the beach in Cayucos, CA today. I picked up some jersey-knit cotton, some cotton flannel, and some great wool and cashmere for upcycling.

I also made MrJ try on some of my finds. This is my favorite. He looks like Mister Rogers, even though it’s not a cardigan!


Trying On a Celery Green Lands End Cashmere Sweater

That’s MrJ in the Celery Lands End Cashmere Sweater. The grey Pendleton sweater has 4 or 5 moth holes in it; otherwise I would have been tempted to resell it. The flannels and jersey knits are for a new stash of cloth diapers, and I’m sure the Pendleton will become a diaper cover or two. Still not sure what I’ll do with the cashmere, but I have a hunch it will also be baby-related. Why baby-related, you ask? Oh, didn’t I tell you?


That's My Baby
This could be why I never blog anymore.




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Tiny Ocean Mat

Tiny Ocean Mat, originally uploaded by LandlockedSailr.

The Bosun made this tiny Ocean Mat the other day. He intended it as a mock-up of the larger mats he’s making for household use, but I can’t get over its adorableness!


I think it would be great as a door mat on a doll house or on the miniature Westport, WA Maritime Museum. I could also add it to a headband or hair clip, or use it to embellish a handbag.


What do you think? What would you use this tiny sailor art for?


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