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Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

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In the corner of our family room is a red leather bag…a Storyteller’s Bag,  filled with items such as a wreath of Tibetan bells, a polar bear snow globe, felted toy animals, chopsticks, and our favorite story telling item of them all; a coconut shell half.

Some people might call this a memento bag or simply a place to hold items that inspire a tale from real life exploits. Whatever you call it, it’s a remarkable tool for conversation and connection.

About every six weeks I change the items in the bag. As friends come over it is a common occurrence for one of them to grab the bag and ask for a story. At first it was me telling them the stories from the unique items in our story bag but now they are the ones doing the telling and I am just there ever entranced audience member. Oh how I love how one person starts and another friend picks up the story. Our story bag has led to many wonderful and creative moments of adventure, sorrow, and celebration.

Inspired by the poet and author, Hans Christian Andersen, I’ve created a child-friendly off the shoulder felt story bag that can be your family’s Storyteller’s Bag. I hope your Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag of tales holds as many wonders for you as ours has.

Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag
Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

What You’ll Need:
• 2 10 x 12 inch pieces of Wool Felt
• 2 3 x 36 inches of wool felt for the straps
• 1 8 x 10 inch sheet of wool felt for the appliqué
• Pins
• Needle
• Embroidery Floss
• All Purpose sewing thread to match
• Sewing machine

Step 1: Pin your appliqué pattern to your 8 x 10 piece of wool.

Step 2. Cut out the appliqué pattern.
Step 3. Fold your felt piece to cut out your 10 x 12 pieces of wool. The fold becomes the bottom of your bag.
Step 4. Cut out two 3 x 36 inch pieces of wool for the straps.
Step 5. On the front of the bag appliqué the felt cut using a whip stitch. Work from underneath the felt appliqué to get a nice hidden stitch.

Step 6. Using your sewing machine, stitch up the two felt pieces for the strap. Make sure to sew it all the way around.

Step 7. Placing the folds one on top of the other with the appliqué on the inside, sew up ONLY the sides. Leave the top and bottom open. This will create a nice tube.

Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

Step 8. Turn it right side out.
Step 9. Press seams
Step 10.Now fold the bag in half. You will have a 4 ply thickness of felt. The four layers should be completely open at the top.
Step 11.Let’s mount the shoulder strap. Place one end of the strap in the right-hand corner of the front appliqué panel.

Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

Step 12.Mount the other end of the strap in the back left corner. This will let the bag hang nicely from the shoulder.
Step 13.Once you’ve pinned your strap in place. Sew up the top on both the front and behind sections
Step 14.Now it’s time to sew up the sides. A quilting sewing machine can handle this with no problem. For those of us who have older machines, you can take off the presser foot or you can sew it up by hand using small straight stitches.

Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

I hope you enjoy your new Storyteller Bag!

Creating a Hans Christian Andersen-inspired Storyteller’s Bag

If your family loves crafts and inspiration based on children’s classics, then you will love A Year in the Secret Garden; a book based on the classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.