Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shark Treat Bag Tutorial

I've been busy gearing up for Halloween over at my place. Let's just say that it's a good thing that fake spiderwebs and paper cutouts are cheap because I tend to go a little overboard! And speaking of cheap. Check out this adorable shark treat bag that I whipped up out of some inexpensive felt.

Now, if this cute little shark treat bag looks familiar, that's because it was inspired by a product in a well known store catalog. I won't say which catalog, but I will say that it rhymes with Lottery Yarn. Let me just say (so I can't possibly be sued) that this bag was made completely by me, from a pattern I drew up myself which was inspired by a product that I saw, only visually. I do not intend to sell this product, nor the pattern and I'm sharing it freely for people to use solely for personal use.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's get started. You'll only need a few supplies:

Felt: I just bought small craft sheets of grey and white felt for the teeth and gums, but you'll need to buy it off the bolt for the body of the shark, 1/2 yard should be sufficient.
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, thread, sewing machine etc.
This pattern: Click here to view
Cut out the pattern pieces. In addition you'll need to cut the following:
2 strips of blue (or main color) for the handle: 16 inches by 1 1/2 inches
2 strips of grey (or gum color): 1 inch by 9 inches, and 1 inch by 12 inches
2 strips of white (or teeth color): 1 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches, and 1 1/2 inches by 11 1/2 inches

Now these pictures will seem odd because the bag is already mostly assembled. However, I learned the hard way that it's much easier to add the eyes and gill embellishments before assembly than after. So I would suggest that you do those first.

I simply sewed the black felt eyes on to the main head pieces and then marked chalk lines where I wanted the gills, and stitched a small tight zigzag.

Once this is done, take your two fin pieces and sew them together. Turn them right side out.

Sandwich the fin in between the two head pieces in the spot indicated on the pattern. So you'll have the head pieces right sides together with the fin in between.

Sew the side seams.

Turn the bag right side out and your shark is already taking shape (remember that your piece will already have the eyes and gills on at this stage).

Now, let's work on the teeth. Overlap the white strips with the grey gum strips. They should overlap by about a 1/2 inch. Sew in place.

Cut your teeth shapes. I just freehanded this but you could make a template if you prefer. I rounded the teeth but if you want a more realistic shark you could certainly make them smaller and pointier. Notice how the gum strips are slightly longer. I rounded the edges of the gums with my scissors so they would recede into the mouth.

Before we can attach the teeth to the head, we need to assemble the strap. Lay your two 1.5 inch by 16 inch strips on top of each other and stitch together.

Now place the strap directly on the edge of the shark's top lip, at the seam. Place the longer set of teeth/gums on top of the strap and pin along the upper lip. Sew in place.

The bottom teeth are a little trickier because you'll need to bring the strap over and around underneath the bottom teeth. See picture for a better explanation. Be careful not to twist the strap when pinning it in.

Once you have the strap and teeth in place it's a good idea to top stitch along the top and bottom lip of your shark to keep your teeth from wanting the fold back on themselves. I topstitched with a contrasting thread so you could see it, but you'll want to use a matching thread color.

Now all that's left is to turn your bag right sides in, sew on the bottom and then turn right side out.

Then you're done! Enjoy.

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