Before we embarked on the Great 24 Hour Rail Journey of 2011, I put a lot of thought into how I would keep a 2 year old occupied in a confined space for such a long period of time. The felt car play mat and a couple of cars and trains were a good start, but I needed more than that!
I love the crayon rolls that are all over craft blog land, but crayons (or markers) aren’t much use without paper. So I made this Travel Drawing Kit:
Designed to hold a pack of 8 washable markers and a small notebook/drawing pad.
Made in a nice dark fabric (Michael Miller Retro Mod, Hoopla Dot in Lagoon) to hide any, ummm, over-creativity.
It kept my toddler occupied on the train, in restaurants, at shows and tour presentations, and now lives in my handbag for those moments when I need to occupy him.
Here’s the full tutorial:
Small Art Pad or Notebook (I used A5 size - 14.8 x 21cm/5.8 x 8.3 inch) Pack of 8 Washable Markers
1/2 yard of fabric (Michael Miller Retro Mod, Hoopla Dot in Lagoon)
30cm / 12inch Bias tape in coordinating colour
Iron-on interfacing (Medium or Heavy weight)
2 pieces of Cardboard 18x24cm (7×10 inch)
Small piece of thin elastic
Cut two pieces of fabric 26x40cm (Note: dimensions include the notebook, a 1.5cm border around the notebook, 1.5cm for the spine and a 1cm seam allowance).
Cut one piece of fabric 12x30cm for the crayon/marker pocket. Cut one piece of bias tape 30cm long.
Cut two pieces of iron-on interfacing approximately 1cm (1/2in) larger than your notebook.
Cut another piece of iron-on interfacing 2” high and approximately an inch wider than your sketch book.
Draw a rectangle approximately 1/2cm (1/4 inch) high and 1/4cm (1/8inch) wider than your sketch book.
Pin this piece of interfacing with adhesive-side up onto the right side of one large piece of fabric in the location where the sketch book will slide in.
Sew all the way around the previously-marked rectangle with a straight stitch. Cut a hole with scissors or a craft knife down the centre of the rectangle.
Clip the corners of the interfacing (being careful not to get too close to the stitching!).
Pull the interfacing through the slit to the wrong side of the fabric, fold it along the seam line and pin into place.
Carefully iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric. Note: as there are pins in there, just press down onto the fabric and don’t move the iron from side to side to avoid scratching your iron.
Top-stitch around the hole.
Iron two larger pieces of interfacing onto the wrong side of the other large piece of fabric, leaving the seam allowance around the edge and spine allowance in the centre.
Attach bias tape to the top edge of the smaller piece of cut fabric.
Fold the right-hand edge of the fabric under and pin to the right side of the fabric piece with the hole, aligning it with the edge of the spine section and the bottom edge. Sew along right hand side, reinforcing the top section by sewing over it 2-3 times.
Pin 8 pockets (one for each of the markers). As the markers lined up are approximately the same width as the sketch book, the top fabric is wider than the bottom for each pocket and wraps around each marker.
I tested each pocket as I went to make sure the markers would fit!
Sew along each of the pinned lines to create the individual pockets, reinforcing the top of the pocket by back-stitching.
With right sides of the two large pieces fabric together, sew around three sides. I sewed around the two long sides (top and bottom) and one short side.
Clip the corners and turn fabric right side out.
Cut two pieces of cardboard slightly larger than the sketchpad (reuse those nappy boxes!).
Slide one piece of cardboard into the opening, and then sew two rows of stitches to hold the cardboard into position and define the spine of the folder.
Insert the second piece of cardboard. Fold the edges of the fabric in and pin together. Pin a loop of elastic into place.
Sew the side closed.
Hand-sew a button onto the front.
Insert your sketch pad and markers…
…and give to your budding artist!
This has been a sanity-saver for this Mum, and lives in my handbag.
If you use this tutorial, please let me know in the comments or by sending me an email.