Friday, April 11, 2014

"J" is for Jake

Yes...we made the pumpkins...go here or here or here to see our yard displays from 2011, 2012, & 2013.
As part of my endeavor in the A-to-Z Challenge, I allowed myself a couple of luxuries. One of these was that I gave myself permission to use two throwback posts. Since my plethora of projects is a little low in the "J" department, today is one of those throwbacks. It also happens to be one of my most popular. 

(Apparently there are a lot of people out there looking to make themselves an Adventure Time costume. Who knew?)

The Jake Bag was originally presented during the Halloween season of 2011. It was the year that the blog first took off with the posting of the Pumpkin Massacre. I made it as part of Darian's Halloween costume (he was Finn). Since the original post was on the entire costume, I'm only hijacking a portion of it today.

Though I made an error in my judgement for strap placement, it turned out pretty good. Even better? He still loves the bag to this day. 

** Original Post 10/27/2011 **

I have to say, this is my favorite part of the costume. Why? Because I made it all from scratch and I think it looks pretty awesome.

To make Jake, I purchased a yard of the yellow-orange fabric. I ended up with some leftovers and probably could've gotten away with 3/4. But I tend to panic about the possibility of running out of fabric, so I always buy a little more than I think I need.

One BIG tip before I tell you how I made him. Don't be an idiot like me and let the face scare you. It is probably the most difficult part of the project, but you need to DO IT FIRST. Reason? It's really a giant pain in the butt to try and sew circumferentially on a bag. Cut your front square and THEN place the face. this is how I made him.

Fold your orange fabric in half and cut two 12 x 15" rectangles. Make sure you end up with four separate rectangles when you unfold. Two of these will be used for the outside of the bag and two will be used for the lining.

Take the two lining pieces and sew the two long sides and one of the short sides together. DO NOT sew all four sides, you need to have a top opening for the bag. Flip this bag inside out and set aside.

(This is where I should have sewn the face on. Do it now.) Sew the other two pieces together the same way in order to make the outside of the bag.

Create a pattern for the legs. I drew out an "L" shaped pattern on a piece of index card and cut this out. Using this pattern, cut out four leg shapes. Separate into pairs and sew together. Flip these tubes inside out and stuff with batting. (If you don't have batting, you can use cotton balls or other fabric.) Sew the tops shut.

Take the pattern for the legs and cut it off diagonally at the ankle. This will make the pattern for your ears and arms. Yes, I could have created a new pattern, but this kept everything proportional. You'll need to cut out eight of this new shape. Proceed the same way you did with the legs. Flip them inside out so that the seams are on the inside, stuff, and sew shut.

Now it's time to attach the appendages. Similar to both the backpack and the hat, cut slits at the seams in the locations for the feet, arms, and ears. I cut the slit for my feet to the back of the main seam and the ones for my arms and ears to the fronts of the side seams to give him a little depth. You could probably put them all on one side or another, but make sure that you are consistent. You don't want one leg on the back and one on the front. 

Push the sewn appendage pieces through the holes you've created. Flip the whole bag inside out; pin and sew the appendages into the seams. Based on your sewing machine, you may have to sew these by hand. I was sewing machine is the bomb.

This is the time that I chose to make my face. Again, I repeat, I am an idiot. Don't make the mistake I did. Cut these out and sew them on BEFORE you sew the outside bag together.

Take the black felt and cut out two circles and one oval. I used a 3" diameter for the circles and my oval was 1.5 x 2.5". These will be the outsides of Jake's eyes and his noes.

Take the white felt and cut out two 2 1/4" diameter circles. These will be the inside eyeballs.

Then cut out the muzzle. This was a pain in the butt...I'll be perfectly honest. I drew a pattern freehand, using an online picture of Jake as a guide. My piece ended up being 9" wide and 9" tall at the widest parts. Using the pattern I had made for the black piece, I took the edges in by 1/2" all the way around and used this as the pattern for my orange piece. To create his little, what I'm going to call moustache, I cut 1/2" slices out of the orange fabric at the corners of the mouth.

I pinned all of the pieces onto the front of the bag and then sewed the edges down. Make sure you are switching your thread colors for the individual pieces so that you can hide your seams as much as possible. Oh, and make sure you're only sewing onto the front of the outside bag. If you screwed up and made the bag before you put the face on (would you PLEASE take a hint) then you don't want to sew the front and back of the bag together by accident. This would really suck. (I'm proud to say that, despite my other failures in this process, I did NOT sew the front and back together. Go me.)

Once I had this done - after a lot of cursing for being so dumb and having to arm wrestle my sewing machine to get the face fully finished - I sewed in the lining. By this point, I think I was getting pretty fired thanks to the face debacle, so it took me a bit to figure it out. The lining is WAY easy. Turn the outside bag (the one with the face) inside out. Leave the lining right side out. Line up the edges and pin. (It won't matter which side of the outside bag you lay the lining onto.)

Sew the edges (don't sew the top seam) and flip inside out so that the outside bag now contains the inside lining. Now turn the WHOLE thing inside out so that you're looking at the right side of the inside lining. Flip the top edge over by about 1/2", pin, and sew around. Cut the remaining seams to make the top edge look pretty.

Lastly, it's time to do the straps. Cut out four 2" x 10" strips of the yellow-orange fabric. Separate these into pairs and sew the two side seams together. Flip the tubes inside out and sew the remaining edges. I recommend ironing these two tubes before you attach them to the bag.

Line each strap up 1" from the outside edges and pin. Sew the handle edges from the inside of the bag. Cut the seams to make them look pretty, and you're done.

Tada! Jake bag.

Things I would change about this process? Other than the obvious face malfunction, everything went pretty smoothly. I think this finished product should be pretty durable.

*** and now a return to the present... ***

So, the bag did indeed turn out nice and durable. little change. The placement of the straps was a terrible idea. I don't really know what I was thinking. If you make this project, place the straps horizontally across the front and back of the bag, don't make them join the two. The way I did them makes the bag very annoying to carry. (I originally did it this way so that he could stretch the two straps sideways to open the bag for candy. In the long run, it really wouldn't have mattered and placing them correctly would've made packing it around much more simple. Lesson learned.)

But...3 years later, he still loves the bag I made for him and still brings it up now and then. I call that project success.

Thanks to all of you stopping by from A-to-Z Challenge! I love new readers. Make sure to leave me a comment below so that I can return the favor by visiting you. 


  1. oh, that's good. My son loves Adventure Time!

    Visiting from A-Z Challenge

    1. Thanks! Darian loves Adventure Time as well. We own the whole first season. My brother actually got me hooked on it when it was just an internet cartoon.

  2. Soooo, I had to Google "Adventure Time." My kids' costumes were more She Ra Princess of Power and Jem and the Holograms.

    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

    1. Awesome. I was a HUGE fan of both SheRa and Jem.

  3. You know i am totally distracted by that pumpkin LOL, did you make that? What an amazing pumpkin..hah..Lovely blog btw, hello from another a-z blogger x

    1. I DID make the pumpkin! I actually added links in the caption of the first photo for you. All of our Halloween pumpkins are featured on the blog. We do a yard display every year. It's one of my big annual projects. Halloween is my favorite holiday. :)

  4. This along with your other projects look like a lot of fun. I have only been sewing for a few months but I could probably make something like this for my niece some day.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

    1. Thanks for visiting! It was a pretty straightforward project. I don't see any reason a beginning seamstress (sewer just doesn't look right, does it?) couldn't figure it out. :)

  5. I got the hint--order is everything! What a fun bag! Jake is a fun character. My husband bought our two-year-old a Jake backpack (that's more of a stuffed animal with a small zipper compartment) on Amazon last Christmas. She loves it.

    (I love the jack-o-lantern in the photo. Funny.)

    Carey from abundance in the boondocks


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