25 August 2010

Museum Sketchbook Tote

Before our big 2-museum tour, I wanted Abby to have a little bag to hold all of the things she would need, but couldn't find anything that fit the bill just right, so I made one for her. I am NOT a very good seamstress and I messed up a lot along the way so no tutorial. Here is a good one that gives instructions for covering composition books... I'm sure anyone could adapt this and figure the rest out from there. I used 4 fabrics: Blue paisley for the main body, brown floral for the straps and spine, pink for small embellishments and white for the lining. Here is the outside cover:
Here is the inside:
On one side, there's a flap for holding writing and drawing stuff...
...and the other side has flaps for holding tickets, maps and memorabilia.
A regular composition book was inserted...
...and everything closes up and fastenes with a Velcro clasp. There are a couple of construction tips I should add: First, be sure to add sturdy reinforcement to your handle-straps and second, it is a ton easier of you add all of your embellishments before you fold the flaps over and sew them. Here is the front all snapped up and ready to go...
...and here is the back.
It was so helpful to have this along. The day would have been a nightmare without it; it not only gave her something to do and somewhere to hold her things, but it also gave her something to hold onto so she wasn't as tempted to touch anything she shouldn't. We actually (VERY surprisingly) had no problems with that the whole day!!
I loved the way she didn't copy the paintings, but just used them as inspiration to make her own drawings.
Here is the painting she was most excited to see in real life so we bought a postcard to take home.
Here's the day's haul... Seriously, what a lifesaver. For an older child, I could see a plastic insert for an id or money. For a more serious artist, I could see a proper sketchbook inserted in here.


  1. It turned out great. My oldest child is a journaler extraordinaire. her birthday is coming up and I found a neat sketch quality journal with quotes but a hideous paper cover that I wanted to make a cover for. This fits the bill.

  2. Oh I love how this turned out. I want one for myself :) That would make a great gift too.

  3. I would love to make one of these for Savvy for her journal. That girl is a writing fiend. Too bad I'm sewing machineless. I love that fabric.

  4. I hope when you say "older child" you include "adult." :) One of these would be so handy for me! I love looking for inspiration and a museum is a great place to do that, well done!

  5. @Melissa- Ooh! You definitely need to cover the hideous cover! Let me know how it turns out!
    @Ann- Thank you! You should start to make one for someone else, and then keep it! Ha ha!
    @Jenny- She need one of these. Borrow a machine! Would you believe the fabric was from Walmart? I bought cute Moda fabric for it but was too afraid to mess it up with my sewing skills (or lack of).
    @Amie- OF COURSE I meant grown-ups! I agree, that museums are the best place for inspiration- artistic and otherwise!

  6. This is fantastic!! I am an Art Journal addict and have recruited all three of my girls! I can see this as a Christmas present for sure!

  7. It's fabulous! I want one! (and a trip to the museum!)

  8. Great idea!! She'll end up loving museums,not dreading them!! This is so cute! Stopping over from WW.

  9. Love this!!! Love the fabric you chose as well!!!!

  10. That is awesome! I wish I had had something so wonderful when I was young. I could use one now!

  11. I really like this idea. My kids bring along a notebook when we go for nature walks etc and I am always lugging around crayons in my bag and trying to find all their items. This would be perfect for them to carry their own all in one place!! thanks for the great idea


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