Jr. Collector
A Project for our
Junior Collectors
A Back-to-School
Messenger Bag
Clip the corners of the flap before turning right side out.
Center the flap onto the main
bag fabric and stitch in place.
Press down pocket edges on
all sides before sewing.
Design by Nicki Burley
t’s fall! One of the most popular doll play themes is school, and
school days are always more fun when they begin with a little
style. This colorful messenger bag is large enough to hold your
doll’s notebook and folders, and even has a pocket for her pencils
and snack money. Design it however you like: sporty, classic,
vintage, or trendy. Choose at least three different fabrics for each
bag to make it interesting; matching buckled ribbon closures will
hold everything snug. Lacey Burley, a teen collector who also loves
digital design, has included a tutorial so you can design the bag’s
flap on your computer. If you like other crafts, the flap could also be
embroidered, appliqued, or quilted. Because this bag is just made
from rectangles, it’s easy to resize for your other dolls, or adapt to
other types of bags like a clutch purse or roomy tote. It makes a
quick project for the intermediate seamstress or an adult helper.
Three coordinating fabrics: main body of bag, lining, and flap/
pocket/strap; thread to match; coordinating 1/4” ribbon; two 5/8”
buckle sliders (found in scrapbook or wedding supplies); cardstock;
materials to decorate bag flap if desired.
1) From cardstock, cut 3 rectangle templates as bag patterns. Main
bag: cut 8-1/2” x 6”. Flap: cut 5” x 4-1/2”, and round the corners
on one 5” side. Pocket: cut 4’ x 3-1/2”. Iron your fabric so that it
is very smooth. Draw around the templates and carefully cut the
following pieces: 1 each of main bag and lining. 1 each of bag
flap and lining. 1 pocket of flap fabric. Cut two straps, 1” x 15”,
from any of the three fabrics OR from 1/2” coordinating ribbon.
If fabric tends to fray, zigzag along short edges of main bag piece.
Use 1/4” seams throughout.
2) Right sides together, sew flap to lining around two short edges
and on long edge with rounded corners. Trim down the seam,
turn, and press. Topstitch 1/8” from sewn edges. Center flap on
one short edge of main bag piece and sew in place, right sides
FALL 2013
3) Turn edges of pocket under 1/4”, then turn top edge under 1/4”
again. Sew along top edge only. Center pocket, face up, on lining.
Pin in place and sew very close to three lower edges. Back stitch
at upper corners.
4) Pull flap up and away from main bag. Fold main bag piece in
half, right sides together, and sew along short edges. Trim away
corners and press open the seams. Fold the bag corners down on
themselves and sew across, 3/8” from the point, making a square
“box” shape. Trim away the corner. Repeat for the lining. Press
under the seam allowance along the edges of both bag and lining.
Turn main bag right side out.
5) Right sides together, sew strap pieces together down long edges
and across one short edge. Trim seam, turn right side out, and
press. Center strap on seam of main bag piece, about 1/2” down
from top turned down edge. Repeat for other side of bag, turning
back raw edge of strap 1/4” before sewing in place. Be careful not
to twist the strap before sewing it in place!
6) Turn main bag inside out again, and fit bag lining over it. Pin into
place, keeping straps out of the way. Slipstitch bag and lining
together, using thread to match lining. Turn bag right side out, and
press into a squared box shape.
7) Mark two places on the flap where you will put the ribbon and
buckle closures. Sew a 4” length of 1/4” ribbon to each spot, so
that ribbon hangs down toward bottom of the bag. Directly below
the ribbon, sew a buckle on a short loop of ribbon. To close the
bag, thread the ribbon through the buckle, like a belt. The bag
could also be closed with Velcro fasteners, or snaps.
Now what goes inside? Start with these items, then see what else
you can find online. Once you get started, you may want to make an
entire school!
Center pocket onto right side of lining and stitch around 3 sides.
Fold lining together and stitch along short sides.
Press down the corner and stitch across it to make a squared corner.
Slide the lining into the bag, wrong sides together.
Stitch the strap in place over the bag seam.
Thread small ribbon loops through buckles, and stitch onto main
bag about 1” from each outside edge.
Print out some folders: http://dolldiaries.com/doll-play-day-82make-doll-folders-and-school-supplies/
Make a journal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f8BFpkqRk&noredirect=1
Craft a binder: http://www.myfroggystuff.blogspot.com/2013/08/
Or try these with an adult helper: http://the-room-mom.
Make a homework helper board: http://karenmomofthreescraft.
Cut 2-1/2” lengths of ribbon for straps and sew to flap directly above
buckle. Seal edges of ribbon with clear nail polish to prevent fraying.
All photos by Nicki Burley
A bag for everyone! Here is a pink and gold Indian-style paisley bag, a
Northwest Pendleton bag made with black corduroy and gold striped cotton,
and an Oriental teal print, with flowers outlined in gold.
Two bags in French style. The silk and linen Eiffel Tower
bag was designed on the computer and printed onto
specially prepared fabric. Both bags are made with
drapery samples from design stores.
After choosing the Scotty bag, Nellie sits down to pack up her
school supplies. Let’s see…purse, art supplies, book of manners… With her bag all packed and buckled, Nellie is excited to see her
friends at school.
what?!? Did Mom pack that?
FALL 2013
How to Create a Digital Design
by Lacey Burley
his tutorial will teach
you how to use a
free online computer
graphics program, called
Pixlr Advanced, to design
your own flap for your
doll’s messenger bag. Once
the design is printed onto
special fabric sheets from
the craft store, it can be
used like any other fabric.
The images aren’t washable
and can’t be pressed with
a steam iron, but you can
protect the ink by using a
matte finishing spray before
you cut out the flap. Once
you learn to make these
designs, you can use them
for t-shirts, pillows, purses, and other projects for your doll.
Or resize them and make yourself something to match!
White printable fabric sheets
Matte finish spray
computer with internet access
Color printer
1. Think of a general theme you would like for your bag, and
then brainstorm ideas for images you could use on the
bag’s flap.
2. Open up your internet browser and go to www.pixlr.com;
a menu will appear. Choose the option that says “Pixlr
3. In this program, choose the top bar, which reads, “Create
a new image.” For width, enter 400, and for height, enter
300. Click “ok.”
4. You will be presented with a blank canvas. Open a new tab
in your browser, and go to Google Images. Search through
and choose an image that you would like to use for your
bag. Click on the image you like, then right click on it.
Choose the option that says “copy image URL.”
5. Return to the Pixlr Advanced tab in your browser. Near
the top of your screen, there is a dark grey toolbar. Find
and click on the tab that says “Layer.” Then choose the
option that says “open image URL as layer.” Once the
dialogue box appears, backspace and remove the http://
Right click in the dialogue box, click “paste,” then “ok.”
Your image should appear on the blank canvas. If an error
message pops up, you
may need to choose
another image, as
that one could be
subject to copyright.
Copyrighted images
also may have a
watermark when you
look at them online.
6. Once the image has
appeared on your
canvas, it may need
resizing; it could be
too big or too small
for the canvas. Go
back to the dark grey
toolbar. Using the tab
labeled “Edit,” choose
the option “Free
transform.” Use the blue boxes that appear to refit your image
on the canvas. Once it’s positioned correctly, click anywhere
outside the canvas, and then click the “Yes” button.
7. When the last step is complete, find the tab labeled “File,”
then click “Save” in the dropdown list. In the dialogue box
that appears, make sure your image is a JPEG and has full,
100 quality resolution. To change resolution, use the slider
found beneath the image file. Give the file a name and save
it to your computer’s image folder.
8. Close the internet tabs and open up a new Microsoft Word
document. Insert your image file Right click on it and
choose “Format Picture” from the options. Click the tab
that says “size,” then set the width of your image to 6.5”
and the height to 5.2”.
9. Set your printer to color printing, and choose the best
quality printing option. Place a printable fabric sheet in the
paper tray, then print the Word document containing your
correctly sized image. Your image will print onto the fabric
sheet. Be sure to follow the directions for setting the image;
some brands require heat and others use a finishing spray.
Place your bag flap template onto the image; there will be
extra room so you can choose the best placement. Draw
around the template and cut out the image; use as regular
10. OPTIONAL: You can also make your own printable fabric
sheets using freezer paper instead of buying them! We
printed an Eiffel Tower design onto unbleached muslin
for a French vintage bag design, using these instructions:
printable_fabric_sheets.php. Be sure to seal the image so
that the ink doesn’t run later.