This project has evolved gradually, over time, with bits and pieces added as we’ve gone along. I’d like to acknowledge the brainstorming and input of my sweet husband, who reminisced about his own favorite toys as I told him of my plans, and reminded me once again that I am not a boy–which is (one reason) why it’s so nice to have him around.
I’m really excited to be part of the Celebrate the Boy festivities again this year–thanks to Rae of Made by Rae for inviting me! Initially, I’d planned a (very cool, in my mind) bow-and-arrow set for our boy. The construction of the arrows and quiver was quick and super cute, but the bow kept letting me down. And by letting me down I mean: it totally tanked. Nothing I could come up with was an adequate boy-sized bow that would shoot an arrow without putting out an eye. I tried paint stirrers, giant rubber bands, you name it, and nothing was quite right.
So my husband and I are talking and I mention this project, and I say I’m about ready to scrap it all. Problem is, I can’t let Rae down, and I don’t want to phone in some lame craft. So I started thinking about what our boy, Captain Destructor, might actually need. Which immediately led to me thinking about food–because that child can EAT, let me tell you. So, what he really needs is some kind of snack delivery system, some way to tote his snacks at the tips of his fingers. A snack bandolier.
If you’re anywhere close to my age, when you hear the word “bandolier,” you think of one thing: Chewbacca. Which is what my husband thought of. He told me when he was little, one Christmas he got a Chewbacca bandolier that was designed for him to carry his Star Wars action figures across his chest. He had the exact same sound in his voice he gets when he talks about the new Audi R8 or 6000″ wide flat screen in-home theater system. I was at my sewing machine quicker than he could wipe the nostalgic tears from his eyes. I think I left him wistfully dreaming of all the games he and our boy could play together (probably in their matching bandoliers).
Our boy completely loves this thing. I made loops for his favorite cars and his favorite snacks, and a small gusseted pocket for the itty bitty things that seem to always find their way into boys’ pockets. I could easily have put more loops on the back, but was so excited to see him wear it that I didn’t take the time–an older boy, I expect, would benefit from more loops. He can carry granola bars, fruit snacks, cheese sticks, bags of snacks or his very own personal Goldfish container everywhere he goes–a dream come true.
Snack Bandolier Tutorial
This is a quick project with straight seams and basic supplies. Figure it will take you around an hour of sewing, not counting cutting time.
- 1/2 yd cotton fabric (I used a mid-weight twill for strength)
- 1/2 yd fusible interfacing
- 1 yd elastic, 1″ wide
- matching thread
- snaps or buttons (optional)
Cut 2 strips of fabric for the body of the bandolier measuring 3″ x 30″. *I based these measurements on our 2-year-old–you might need more length depending on your child’s age.
Cut 1 strip of fabric for the loops measuring 2.5″ x 24″.
Cut a square of fabric for the gusseted pocket measuring 4″ x 3″.
Make the Body of the Bandolier:
Apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of one of the 3″ x 30″ cuts. Trim edges.
Stitch the two body pieces right sides together along the two long edges, leaving the short edges unstitched.
Turn right side out and press. Topstitch close to each of the two long edges using a zigzag stitch.
Make the Loops:
Press in each long edge of the 2.5″ x 24″ cut approximately 1/4″ using a hot iron.
Fold in half lengthwise (like a hot dog, not a hamburger) and press again, keeping folded edges even.
Topstitch along both long edges, close to the fold, using a straight stitch.
Insert elastic into the opening at one end using a safety or diaper pin to guide the elastic into the channel.
Continue guiding the elastic into the fabric tube by scooching the pin forward, holding it tightly, then pulling the fabric back to allow the elastic to move along the channel. Keep going until the pin comes out the other end. Trim the elastic to fit the casing. You will probably find that the casing has gotten kind of “snakey” and gathered up some.
Attaching the Loops to the Body of the Bandolier:
Determine the placement of the upper-most loop–this should be more or less at the center of the 30″ body strip we just completed; the raw ends will be stitched together and be the bottom of the bandolier when it’s finished. We’ll attach the loop strip by securing one end, then folding it back on itself to trap that first raw edge under the strip as a whole. It sounds odd and backwards, but it totally works and gives a nice, clean finish. Place the loop strip so that the raw edge is pointing toward the body of the bandolier and the length of the loop strip is heading AWAY from where you want the row of loops to go. Stitch across the loop strip close to the raw edge to secure it in place.
Now, fold the loop strip back in the direction we want it to go. You’ll use the body of the strip to cover up that first set of stitches and hide the raw edge underneath it. Fold the strip over the last set of stitches, then stitch again across the strip close to the folded edge.
For each item that you’ll add, make a loop of the elasticated strip that’s snug enough to hold the item in place. I laid my boy’s cars on the bandolier to test them, but you can throw down a granola bar or some fingers–whatever you like. Just be sure to make it snug and ensure that the elastic is getting some stretch. At the bottom of each loop, stitch across the loop strip from side to side (I like to backstitch a couple times and really get it secure). Move on to the next loop until you run out of strip.
At the far end, you’ll make another clean edge like the first: stitch down the raw edge close to the end, then fold the strip back on itself and stitch over the fold.
Make the Gusseted Pocket:
This technique works for a gusseted pocket any place: cargo shorts, apron fronts, anywhere you want a pocket that has some real storage capacity. Begin with the square of fabric. With the 4″ dimension going east-west, press in the two sides by about 1/4″.
Open those folds out and fold the upper edge over, right sides together, about 3/4″. Stitch this edge in place NOT from side to side, but from top to bottom, on both left and right. Use the press lines as a guide.
Trim the corners off at an angle, then flip the folded upper edge back to the rear. You’ll see that it makes a nice, clean upper edge to your pocket, and also that it forces those sides to pop back into place along the lines that you pressed in.
Make two pleats, one on each side (left and right) of the pocket, including the folded upper edge in each pleat. These are the folds that will make the volume in the pocket. Press vigorously with the iron.
Now attach the pocket to the body of the bandolier using the same method we did for the loop strip: place the pocket right sides together and upside down on the bandolier body, making sure you’ve left enough space for it to fold up later. Stitch very close to the upside-down lower raw edge of the pocket to secure it in place.
Now, fold the pocket back up so it’s pointing up toward the shoulder of the bandolier (which is to say, toward the center of the body of the bandolier) and press the lower edge over the initial stitches. Stitch all the way around the three sides, securing sides and bottom to the bandolier body, leaving the upper edge open.
Finally, stitch the two raw ends of the body together, right sides facing, using an angled seam–this will make the bandolier hang better on his little body when you’re done. Trim off any excess close to the seam line.
Happy man, with his snacks and his cars, able to eat and play as soon as the need arises!