Let’s Play Tag

By | January 19, 2013

A under-an-hour tag toy project!

One of my goals for 2013 is probably the same as many DIYers out there – “use up what you have”. For those of us with a yarn stash taking over a dresser, stacks of fabric fat quarters in corners, and a few little odds and ends we can’t even remember getting, it’s time to make some use of stuff. The night before a baby shower, I had just come down with a cold and was stuck at home when I realized I didn’t have a hand-made element of the gift for the mother-to-be…  it’s practically tradition to have at least a small addition to the present that I’ve made myself.

I went and surveyed my stack of stuff in my work room (aka the other side of the laundry room) and tried to remember what my son had loved the most as a baby. Of course; he still sits for hours rubbing the little tag from his blanky on his face, and then inspiration hit; a tag toy. You’ve probably seen them before – little mini-blankys or loveys with tags sewn all around them.

I think I might be spelling blanky wrong.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

Of course, the very next day I see on my Facebook feed, Prudent Baby come’s out with a little tag toy tutorial that is ROUND. And, has an anchor on it! Definitely, the next time I make a tag toy, I’m making it round – that’s genius. And adorable.

Anyway, I began by sorting through the fabric pieces I had left over from the various projects I’ve made for my son, who is now 3… so I had a few to choose from. I liked the way the bright green popped out in the below fabrics, and I had this spool of ribbon too; the fates have aligned!

I also choose two fabrics I thought had differnet textures… a nice warm flannel (the truck fabric) and a cool, thin calico (the robot fabric). Both were bought for $2 a yard at Jo-Ann Fabric. The ribbon was 50% off at Hobby Lobby about a year ago and was just a couple bucks.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

I set a one-hour goal for myself in making this and didn’t bother stopping to research tutorials or to think about it too much. I almost never use any sort of pattern when sewing, but usually am inspired by  a blog tutorial I’m following. In this case, I just decided to wing it! I flipped each piece of material wrong-side up on the kitchen table, and using a pen (I know, bad habits die hard) I measured out and cut a 12.5″x14″ square. That was just the size my pieces of fabric easily allowed.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

I squared them up together, right-side in (as shown below) and moved on to the ribbon…

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

I made loops (look at me trying to hide my chipping nail polish… geesh) with the ribbon, just to a length that looped good.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

I then cut that size of loop, and several others the same size and a little longer or shorter, for a table of 12 pieces of ribbon.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

I folded each ribbon piece in half, right-side out (if your ribbon has a right-side… mine did) and laid it in between the two pieces of fabric, with the cut ends of the loop sticking about 1/4″ outside of the material.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

As I placed each ribbon loop in between the fabric squares, I held it in place with a pin. Three loops went on each side of the square, being careful to alternate the lengths in a way that looked somewhat random, but good at the same time… you know what I mean.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

It is really hard to get a good picture of the mechanics of a sewing machine, isn’t it? I sewed a 1/4″ seam all around the square, being careful to keep it squared up, keep the corners nice  and round, and not have the ribbon loops slip out of place. It meant keeping the pins on the ribbon pieces until pretty close to them going under the needle.

The IMPORTANT PART: Be sure to leave a gap of at least 2 inches, un-sewn, after you have sewn around the edges of the square. This is so you can turn it right-side out.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

After you turn it right-out side through the hole you left (being careful not to tear the stitches), be sure all of the edges are completely smooth. I stick a spoon inside of the gap and push gently all around the edges to make sure they look nice and straight.

To close the hole that was left, I simply ironed it nicely so the edges were turned in the same 1/4″ as the rest of it, and sewed over the top. There is a name for doing that, but I can’t recall it now. You could also use an invisible handstitch to get it closed… I’ve never been good at those.

However, if I could turn back time (Let’s acknowledge the Cher song; okay, move on) I would do some things differently.

1) I would make it thicker and so the two fabrics didn’t slide against each other. I like the method Prudent Baby used in their tag toy this week – the wipe plastic would make a nice crinkle. Or, quilt batting, thick interfacing, etc… just something to stiffen and connect it.

2) I would try a more muted color scheme (I was just using what I had on hand) or make the ribbons different from each other so the baby can enjoy a variety of taggy-textures.

An Under-an-Hour Tag Toy Project - from Painting Sunny

I am not a competitive person, even with myself usually, but I was proud that this was finished in less than 40 minutes, even with my sewing machine acting up once. Anyone other baby shower ideas, that can be whipped up in less than an hour? I have lots of friends having kids…

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

PSS: This post was linked to One Project At A Time on A Bowl Full of Lemons, Take a Look Tuesday on Sugar Bee Crafts, Handmade Tuesdays on Ladybug Blessings, and Tutorial Tuesday on Hope Studios. Thank you! Gotta love a link party.

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