I Spy a Super Quiet Toy

2 Apr

I Spy Bag

Ahhh, do you hear that?


It’s the sound of a child quietly playing with a favorite toy – a toy that doesn’t have flashing lights or music so loud you have to put a piece of tape over it to muffle the sound. That is my kind of toy.

I Spy bag

Don’t get me wrong. I believe a child’s work is to play, and play often and with joy and exuberance. It’s not the child I am hoping to silence, but the toy.

And one of the best quiet toys I’ve found is the I Spy bag. A while back I did a swap with a fellow sewing mom – her son received a crayon roll and my daughter an I Spy bag. This toy has lived in my diaper bag for well over a year and it hasn’t lost its allure. We bring it out at doctor’s appointments, car rides, and cart rides.

I Spy Bags

Recently I bought a new sewing machine (the Brother CS6000i Sew Advance Sew Affordable 60-Stitch Computerized Free-Arm Sewing Machine), which I love so far and would recommend if you are in the market for an inexpensive hobby machine. So I decided to break it in (and end my four-month sewing hiatus/babymoon) by sewing vinyl. Smart, no? I quickly found myself Google-ing “how to sew vinyl without driving yourself to the madhouse and destroying your project” and discovered this tip for sewing with vinyl. Hooray!

Essentially your standard I Spy bag consists of fabric of your choice (fleece from Jo-Ann), a vinyl window (I went with 20 gauge and also found it at Jo-Ann), clear plastic pellets (hmmm… Jo-Ann), and a variety of trinkets to be found among the pellets (fine, Jo-Ann was having its big weekend sale and I went a little overboard). I found a variety of tutorials on the bags using both cotton and fleece and tried it both ways. I found the fleece easier to work with since there aren’t fraying edges to contend with.

I Spy Bags

Here’s my ultra-basic tutorial sans photos. Use your imagination!
1. Cut two matching pieces from your fabric. Mine were around 6″ by 8″ to give myself some room to mess up pink the edges.
2. Trace a shape in the middle of one of your pieces and cut it out. This will be your window. It can be any shape but let’s face it, rectangles are far easier to sew around than circles.
3. Cut a piece of vinyl (larger than your window with at least an inch to spare around each side) and, using the tip above for sewing vinyl OR a teflon foot, attach the vinyl to the fleece. Be careful with your stitching – you do not want to end up with a bazillion poly pellets buried in your carpet or scattered across the floor at Costco. I double stitched for added security.
4. Cut the excess vinyl.
5. Place the two pieces of fabric wrong sides together and stitch around three sides. Fill partially with pellets and trinkets, sew the fourth side together. Don’t stuff it with too many pellets or it will be difficult to find the trinkets. At this point I added a second row of stitching around the first one, and used pinking shears to pretty it up.

These would be a fun addition to Easter baskets, don’t you think?

I spy bag

I Spy bag


One Response to “I Spy a Super Quiet Toy”

  1. Shannon April 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    That looks so fun. I would totally play with one. =) For those of us who are more lazy…. I wonder if I could fabric glue a cover with a hole for a heavy duty ziploc bag with all that stuff inside. That way, someone could theoretically change out the ziploc bag and the goodies inside once in a while? (I’m trying to avoid sewing vinyl.) =) It wouldn’t be as pretty though…

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