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Customizing Kid Gear the Second Time Around

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If you’re like many parents these days, you find yourself wanting to give your children the best of everything, but not quite being able to afford it.  With a first child, certain material things might have seemed attainable.  The second time around, reality sets in.

When my preschooler became school-aged and needed a bigger backpack, I made sure we scraped up the funds to buy one that is supposed to be pvc-free and should last through the elementary years.  That left me wondering if personalizing the preschool set of backpack and lunchbox had been such a good idea after all.  Soon I’ll have another preschooler who would like her own pretty packs that she can call her own.  So, I’ve been customizing kids gear the second time around.  Here’s how I’m helping her to personalize her “new” items:

I purchased a half-yard of good quality cotton fabric called duck cloth that coordinates with the bags.  I would suggest purchasing a minimum of a one-third yard for this sort of project.  I set out to get my youngster’s initials monogrammed on the fabric.  The monogram or name should be sewn across the grain of the fabric so that it doesn’t stretch.  I trimmed the excess stabilizer backing, leaving at least a quarter inch around the lettering.

I used a plain sheet of paper to create a simple leaf shape that coordinated with the floral print on the bags, allowing a quarter inch for finishing the edge, then cut out the patterns.  I chose to angle the leaves, so I marked a line to show which way the monogram needed to run.  I aligned both the pattern and the line over the new monogram on the fabric and cut the fabric into my leaf shape.
I carefully used a hot iron to press around the edge of the leaf shape as I tucked a quarter inch of fabric down all the way around.
I had to ease around the curved edges.  I used matching thread to stitch around the piece close to the edge, securing the raw edge underneath.  I found a decorative stitch from the limited assortment on my old Kenmore 10 Stitch that looked a little like a feather, and used that to give the edges a more finished look.
Then the leaves were ready to hand-stitch to the bags.
Although I purchased new fabric and paid for the monogramming service, you could do this project for next to nothing.  This would be ideal for using fabric leftovers, as long as the fabric is wide enough to stretch onto the hoop frame for monogramming.  If you can’t stitch the lettering yourself, check with friends or businesses that have the decorative stitching machines.  You can save big over paying boutique monogram prices.

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