Monday, March 07, 2011

Play Eats: Make a shopping cart

So we'll begin our little segment called Play Eats with a shopping cart tutorial. You should probably shop and pay for your groceries before you begin cooking, right?

This project is a great way to reuse that perfectly good walking toy that your kid hasn't played with in ages and turn it into an awesome shopping cart.

thick canvas fabric (or home d├ęcor weight. I used that cheap stuff from Ikea)
cool cotton fabric from Spoonflower (or whatever quilting cotton you love, really. I used Paper Sparrow for this)
Pellon 809 heavyweight fusible interfacing
denim needle (or similar heavy duty needle)
The amounts will depend on the size of your walker.

1. Measure your walking toy. The Melissa and Doug alligator will need a basket 9.5 wide and 11” long. You’ll need a bottom too. Don’t forget to add seam allowances!  I like to use 3/8” because that’s the width from my needle to the edge of my favorite foot.

2. Cut your fabric. You’ll need two pieces of each shape.
Left side
Right side
Straps:  Our pieces were 3.25” X 2.5”  (That includes a ¼” seam allowance). The diameter of the bar is 1”.
You’ll need 4 of the print and 4 of the solid.
Cut your interfacing to the size of your basket. No seam allowances!
It is important to be very careful with this. If your interfacing is too small, your basket won’t stand straight (guess how I learned this!). You also don’t want to be sewing over that extra layer.

3. Iron your interfacing onto the Spoonflower fabric. Tip: Lightly press the interfacing to the back of the cotton, then turn it over to press more firmly. My iron does not like the Pellon at all.

4. Draw lines on your solid. I used a disappearing ink pen. The lines started to disappear before I was finished sewing so if you can, do one piece of fabric at a time.

I used my 1” and 2” rulers to make it easy. Start at one edge and use the 1” ruler to make your horizontal lines and the 2” ruler to draw your vertical lines.

5. Stitch. 

I used a reinforced straight stitch so that it would stand out and have a nice texture to it.  You might want to change your needle now. All that probably dulled it.

6. Sew together your four outer sides RST (right sides together). Then carefully pin your bottom on. Clip the bulky corners.

7. Do the same thing for your inner layer but make your seam allowance just a smidge wider so that it will nest inside the outer a bit better.

8. Pin your boning into the seam allowance of the canvas solid and stitch it in place. You can skip this step if you want. The basket will still stand on its own. The boning will just help it to last longer.

9. Stitch your straps RST, leaving one short edge open, clip corners, turn inside-out and press.

10. Pin your straps into the seam allowance as shown. (There is an additional image with the Velcro step that may be helpful). The straps need to be stacked. Keep your solid sides down and the patterned sides up. Stitch ¼” from the edge of the seam allowance. That way they’ll get reinforced.

11. Stitch the baskets together. There are two options:
a. Place your baskets WST just as they will be when finished. Turn your entire seam allowance in and top stitch the whole top edge closed.  If you choose this option, you can also cut a piece of cardboard to stuff in the bottom between the layers for support. This would not work for the Melissa and Doug toy – only one with a flat bottom (those pesky gators!).
b. Place your baskets RST and stitch 3 sides closed and about 1” in to the fourth side on each end. Turn inside-out through that opening. This can be difficult with the boning and can wrinkle up your fabric.

12. Cut your Velcro and sew it to the straps where needed.

13. Admire your upcycled creation! 

Please let me know if there are any mistakes in these instructions. I’ve tried to make them simple. If you’ve never sewn on canvas or denim before, don’t worry. The needle is what makes it happen. And definitely upload photos of your shopping carts to the Project: Project flickr group.