The school year is winding down, which means teachers’ gifts are at the forefront of my mind (along with excitement–and trepidation!–at the prospect of summer adventure day trips with all three kids). When Fat Quarter Shop invited me to join this Simper Zipper Bag Sew Along, I thought it would be a perfect teacher’s gift project. I stitched up three of the large zipper bags, added some chocolate and a personalized thank you note from my 3 year old son, and viola! Perfect heartfelt teachers’ gifts!
These zipper bags are SO easy to make, and Fat Quarter Shop has a very clear instructional video tutorial that you can find here:
The construction of the bags is brilliant, since the lining and the outer panels are quilted together and then simply sewn together and bound–so easy! I definitely will be going back to this pattern for future gifts, and I’m thinking of making a few more to stash coloring supplies for my kids in my purse for when extra entertainment is needed.
This is admittedly the first time I’ve made handmade teachers’ gifts, but my son’s preschool teachers have done such a fabulous job supporting and guiding him this year, that I felt I really wanted to express my gratitude. When I asked Max if he had any idea what colors might be his teachers’ favorites, he said, “Alllllll the colors!” That’s my boy. I figured I probably couldn’t go wrong with a rainbow-esque bag, especially for preschool teachers.
I decided on a gorgeous Amy Butler fabric from my stash for the backings and then used it to pull a coordinating rainbow of some of my favorite fabrics. You can see Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton + Steel–they’re all there!
I chose to use strips of fabric instead of mini charm squares, and arranged the fabrics in a way that worked with the three zippers I had on hand, making each bag unique while still having the same general aesthetic. I used the edge of my walking foot to space horizontal straight line quilting on the front, using my go-to thread, 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove. It blended perfectly with the “I love you” appliquéd hand while providing some subtle texture and interest to the rainbow fabrics.
I lined my bag with an appropriate Cotton + Steel print, Study Hall in Black and White from their Black and White Collection.
I love the neat detailing that results with the construction of this bag. Sewing in the zipper is made SO easy, and the top stitching frames it nicely.
More about that “I love you”; I think the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “I love you” is known pretty universally, but in case you’re not familiar with it, the appliqué on each pouch is a tracing of my son’s hand making the “I love you” sign. My son is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids (when we can convince him to keep them in), and so he has a communication facilitator in addition to his two amazing teachers. His communication facilitator was fantastic, signing to him all day to increase exposure and familiarity to sign, since we are all trying to learn ASL as a family, and ensuring he heard directions during the day. The entire preschool class learned some sign language throughout the year, and the three teachers worked so well together to help ALL of the children in class have the best experience possible. When Max gave the gifts to his teachers, the “I love you” appliqué of Max’s hand was met with “awww” and a few misty eyes. I think the zipper bags were a win!
How would you use one of these Simple Zipper Bags? Be sure to visit Fat Quarter Shop and the other bloggers’ posts to see their creative takes on the pattern:
Have fun making your zipper bags!