Today I’m bringing back an oldie-but-goodie! The I Spy Bag has been around for quite a while but the most recent tutorials that pop up on my Google search are from 2011. It seems the trend to make these has died down. When I went searching for a tutorial for this myself it was used to make gifts for the kids at my youngest’s first birthday party over 2 years ago! I went searching high and low through my bookmarks trying to find the same tutorial I used then and I can’t find it anywhere. So… I have made a new tutorial for you based on what I can remember with the usual “few changes” of course! (If you happen to find an I Spy tutorial made this way can you tell me? I’d like to give proper credit where it is due. Thanks.)

It’s amazing how quickly these go together. Once you have the supplies it only requires a few seams and you are good to keep your kids busy for a while! They make great party favours, easy gifts or stocking stuffers and are great to give with a new baby gift so any siblings don’t feel left out. Despite their ease, I have a confession to make. This is one of those projects that has been on the back burner for far too long. If I have calculated it right I promised to make these 2 years ago… oof… how did that happen? I’m pretty embarrassed about it, and feel guilty that I know the friend I’m making them for will be super gracious about it.  I am really relieved to have finally finished these. I suppose telling you this is a somewhat cathartic exercise for me – though I’m not sure I feel entirely “better” having confessed! It is just good to have finished.

I am always surprised at the number of projects I start that I have not finished even a year later (never-mind two!). I have a friend who will only work on one thing at a time and won’t move on until she is finished. How I envy her discipline! I’m curious how you handle your projects – do you finish everything you start? Or begin and end when the mood strikes?

Either way – here is the tutorial so you can finish a bunch, or leave them on your shelf for a year! (and “either way” – be sure to pin it so you don’t forget!)

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of 5 1/2″ square fabric
  • 1 piece of 5 1/2″ square clear vinyl – I used 8 gauge vinyl
  • 5″ length of ribbon or twill tape
  • mini objects for spying (beads, pom poms, buttons)
  • cardstock printed or laminated card with items
  • fabric glue for extra durability – I used Liquid Stitch
  • plastic pellets – I got mine from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon

Here we go:

(1) Make the cards with the listed items. I used a business card size and found a self-laminating kit at our local Dollar Store. Punch a hole in one corner. Feed the ribbon/twill tape through the hole and fold it in half. Stitch through the tape close to the card to hold it in place.

(2) Draw a 3″ square in the middle of the wrong side of one piece of fabric. Cut through the small square from corner to corner diagonally (see photo).

(3)  Fold each triangle back along your drawn line to make the I spy window. Centre and glue the vinyl on the wrong side of the fabric. Glue ONLY around the window area.

(4) When the glue is dry, trim the excess fabric “triangles” to approximately 1/2″ (see photo). Stitch twice around the window area. I used a decorative stitch. If the presser foot sticks to the vinyl try using this trick. Do not trim the vinyl, it adds extra strength to the toy.

(5) Glue the window (with vinyl backing) and outer back fabric, right sides together around the edge. Leave a 2″ opening in the top left hand corner for turning. ** Make sure the glue is only within 1/2″ of the outer edge so it is in the seam allowance when you sew it. When the glue is dry, stitch around the edge with a 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure not to stitch over your opening. Clip corners and trim all edges to 1/4″ except at opening (see photo). Finish your edges by cutting with pinking shears or use a zig zag stitch on all edges except the opening.

(6) Turn the bag inside out. Fold the opening edges to the inside. Iron the edges, be careful not to melt the vinyl.

(7) Fill with the plastic pellets. I used 1/2 cup. Fill with a funnel and be sure to insert your mini objects. (I usually double-check that I have the correct objects as I put them in, just in case!) Insert the ribbon 1″ into the opening and glue the opening shut.

(8) When the glue is dry, unpin the opening and re-pin around the edge of the bag, forcing the pellets into the centre. Top-stitch around the edge of the bag, this will also close the opening. Double-stitch over the ribbon to make it extra secure. All done!

I’d love to see your I Spy Bag! Post your project on Facebook and it might end up in a “You Made It” post here on the blog. I’d love to hear if you liked this tutorial or any changes you might make. Thanks!