So here was the other craft inspiring moment of panic from the first week of preschool. I had, by the first day of school, been given no fewer than five copies of the supply list. I dutifully purchased each item and sent it to school on the first day in a big reusable grocery bag. Ieven thought to ask if I should leave the bag to bring home her sheets to be washed at the end of the week. My simple question was met with a look that told me I had missed some vital piece of information.
Apparently, it was common knowledge, to everyone but m,e that preschool students need backpacks to haul their sheets and papers and what have you each day. Considering that at Lydia's school, ALL the kids in her class are new to the school, it would have been nice if they had included the words BACK and PACK on the multiple copies of the supply list! So rather than spend the summer searching for the PERFECT backpack, I was left stopping on my way home at every school supply store I could think of. I discovered that the measurements and prices for a standard backpack are both HUGE! As in $76 for something that came down to Lydia's ankles... AND they were ugly! Luckily on my 4th stop, I found that Office Depot sells a really cheap backpacks. In fact,it is so cheap they were even giving it away FREE with other purchases for a short period of time. I missed that deal, but was happy to pay only $5 for the plain pink thing pictured above. It is big enough to hold standard folders, one of the requirements having to do with preschool homework assignments. However, being no frills, it doesn't have any extra space meeting the second requirement, that Lydia be able to carry by herself.
So the size was OK, and the price was right, but the styling was not. I am not a fan of pink and especially dislike the light baby pink color on this particular pack. When the free lunch is removed from the front of the pack it is just a whole lot of Pepto pink. Plus, Lydia needs to be able to identify her bag before she can even worry about carrying it. She will begin her day in before school care in the main building, then take her backpack to the ECE house across the playground, and then bring her back pack back to the main building for after-school care. I needed Lydia (and the staff) to easily recognize which pack was hers. It was time to customize! I settled on the fabric pictured above because it had hints of the pink, but lots of teal and purple to play down the Pepto.
Next I cut out a rectangle of fabric that would fit nicely on the front of the pack and then cut that into 5 sections, one for each letter of Lydia's name. That way I could cut out her name without too much measuring and still know that they would be the correct size. I used a zig zag stitch to sew the letters of her name directly onto the top of the backpack.
I suppose I could have stopped there, but I had some pretty teal and brown ribbon, so why not cover up a little more of that pink? There is a dark pink stripe almost in the middle of the pack. I placed her name above this line, but decided to add the ribbon to the middle of the line to break things up some more.
As long as I had the ribbon our, the zippers had some white cording on them for zipper pulls. Why not replace them with the same teal and brown ribbon? In the end, I was left this big empty pink space below the dark pink line, in the area that is covered by the lunch box, should I ever attach it to the backpack. I decided a front pocket would be helpful, so I used a large square of the coordinating fabric to add one. This was the easiest step, but has already been REALLY helpful for leaving notes that I want her teacher to see.
Here is the finished, customized backpack. I am SO proud of the results and so glad that I found such a good, basic, small, cheap backpack in my hour of need. Mr. Horsie, who rides to and from school everyday in the new bag, seems to agree with the results, too.