Themed I-Spy Bags

In case you missed my guest post at Blue Cricket Design here are my I-Spy bags!
It might be the teacher in me, but I adore the idea of I-Spy bags!  What a clever idea to keep those kiddos quiet and happy in church, at the doctor's office, or in the car.  Plus they are educational!  That makes Mom happy, too.  My Little Man can always use some fresh ideas to help keep him quiet and occupied.  

You will need:
* Vinyl.  Just a few inches will be plenty.
* Fabric scraps.
* Poly pellets.  
* Small toys or items to be "spyed."
* Wonder Under (not pictured).
* Sewing machine and supplies.
First, cut out your fabric.  I chose to make themed I-Spy bags, so I cut out a barn to spy farm animals.  I folded my fabric in order to cut out a front and back for my barn.
To create the window, I folded the front part of the barn in half and cut a square shape.  You can make this as large or small as you choose.
Now cut out a piece of vinyl that is at least an inch or two larger than the window on all sides.  This will make sewing the vinyl much easier!

In order to hold the vinyl firmly in place while sewing, I ironed Wonder Under scraps all along the areas where the vinyl overlapped the fabric (shown by arrows).  Without the Wonder Under, the vinyl will simply stick to the foot of your sewing machine!  The Wonder Under will become your best friend.
Next, sew the outer edges where the vinyl meets the fabric.  I sewed a straight line and reinforced it with a zigzag stitch all the way around.  To prevent fraying, I also sewed the inner square right around the window.  Again, sew a straight line followed by a zigzag line.  You will need to do all of your sewing on the wrong side of the fabric.
Now for the fun part!  I decided to embellish the front and back of my barn.  I used some ricrac, ribbon, felt, and fabric scraps.
Let's make a barn!  Pin wrong sides together, and sew all the way around leaving an opening to turn the barn inside out.  Be sure to sew a ribbon scrap into the seam.  This will hold your "I Spy" list. To turn your bag inside out, use something long and pointy like a pencil to punch out the corners as much as possible.
Now, add your toys to the bag.  Be sure to keep a list of what you add because you'll want to tell your child what to look for!
Add the poly pellets.  I think the easiest way to do this is by using a funnel.  Less mess, less stress!  You don't need to fill the bag too full, but you do want to cover the toys inside!
Now, sew up your opening with a blind stitch.
Now create a list of items inside the I-Spy bag.  I laminated mine for extra durability.  Punch a hole in the corner and thread it through the ribbon.  Sew a ribbon loop to keep the list nice and snug!  All done!
This entire project took me about 45 minutes from start to finish, with a few "oopseys" in between and documenting the process as I went along!  This project was so simple and so fun, I had to make another one!  I made a fish I-Spy bag with ocean animals inside!  I already have plans to make an ABC bag and a transportation bag in the near future, too.
Helpful Hint
You can vary the difficulty of a I-Spy bag by varying the following:
*The size of your window 
* The size of the toys inside (very small toys and very big toys are harder to detect!)
* The amount of toys and poly pellets
Happy crafting!
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  1. oh my word, these are way too cute! My son would die for one of these! I might just have to get on that… 🙂

  2. Jenny @ Embellishing Life says

    These are so cute!

  3. These look fun! Would you mind sharing where you found your bags of spy toys? Were they a dollar store find? I like how they all came bagged together with the same theme!

  4. You could also use tissue paper to keep the poly from sticking.

    Another thought I just had, those specialty buttons you can buy would be perfect for this.

  5. Very cool! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

  6. How fun! This is going on my Christmas list of things to make for the kids. Where do you get the poly pellets?

  7. Beverly @ says

    I saw these at Blue Cricket but I just had to say again how cute and clever they are!!! Plus I love that they are something you can take along in the car or to the store. So stinkin' cute!!

  8. About how much did they cost to make? They are awesome!

  9. What a fabulous idea! I love how you've themed the bags to match the contents! Brilliant!!

    Thanks so much for linking to A Round Tuit!
    Have a lovely week!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  10. Maria@BubblegumandDuctTape says

    oh wow, thanks for the tutorial. My kids would love this, they are always playing I spy.

  11. These are amazing! They would make super cute party favors for an I Spy themed birthday!

  12. my mother-in-law made one of these for us and Xan loves it! Ever Sunday he and Daddy work on finding all of the things. Great theme ideas!

  13. Shayna @ Texas Monkey says

    OH I love this, you never cease to amaze me with your crafting skills. It would be perfect to link up at All About You Monday, the theme this week is ribbon so this fits perfectly! Would love to have you join in!

  14. LuckyStarErin says

    This is outstanding!!! I love the detailed tutorial. You're a great teacher.

  15. reasonstoskipthehousework says

    OMG – I LOVE these! What a fabulous idea!


  17. Hello Allison~ These are so darling, my kids had an i-spy … and to this day have no clue what happened to it. I love the ones you made and that they are themed, to darn cute. Thanks for linking up too. P.S. I feel a bit dry heaving icky right now… UGH, boo… Going to hit the hay now. Night, Jen

  18. NIce work! I love this concept. The Barn doors are genius. Really really cool Alison!

  19. I love the idea of themed i-spy bags! So cute!

    Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  20. Sassy Sites! says

    adorable!!! Great for church!! 🙂

  21. So cute!

  22. Love it! Thanks for sharing. I am excited to make some for my daughter and nephews. I was at walmart today looking for the poly pellets, but couldn't find them. Where did you buy yours or what section of a store are they found in? Also, where did you find your objects?

  23. These are adorable! My newborn just received a store bought version of these as a baby gift, and I was thinking that making one wouldn't be that hard to make one. Thanks for figuring out the details for me! I think I'm going to snag some shaped buttons when they are on sale

  24. Tammy@My Party FIle says

    What a fabulous idea! These are going to make great Christmas presents!

  25. These are both absolutely clever and cute! Nice job. Stopping by from Tatertots & Jello.

  26. What a great idea, I'm definitely going to make these for my kids. Stopping by from TT&J.

  27. Fantastic. I love these. Really great idea.

  28. Katie's Nesting Spot says

    You are beyond cute! I can't believe how you embellished that barn!!! Thanks for all the tips, I especially appreciate the one about the wonder under. I am too chicken to try sewing vinyl. I just got two I spy bags I ordered off Etsy. They are really nice but don't have all the cute additions like yours. Thank you for joining us at A Crafty Soiree! I hope you'll come back next week and link up again!

  29. alison is there nothing you can't do? my goodness you are SO creative

  30. pink and green mama MaryLea says

    So cute!! I may have to make some for my girls and my neice. We've only made eye-spy theme bottles so far but these look really cute! : )

  31. OMG! Absolutely love this! My almost 2 year old daughter would get a kick out of this 🙂

  32. These are so cool! I saw these right when you posted last year, but didn’t have an excuse to make any until now! Thanks for the inspiration! Here’s my post about it:

  33. tavette tavetta says

    CORRECTION to sewing instructions: Put RIGHT sides of fabric barn together (rather than wrong sides) and then sew it closed, leaving a section open for turning it inside out. An experienced sewer would realize this typo but maybe there are first time sewers who wouldn’t. The photo shows it correctly (with RIGHT sides together).

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