customizing the lunch box tee: adding a pocket toy

We are happy to welcome Johanna to the blog today. She has a very clever project to share with us involving sewing a little toy into the pocket of the Lunch Box Tee. This idea is not limited to only this pocket. Just think of all the other Oliver + S pockets where toys could be added; like the Hopscotch Skirt, the Puppet Show Shorts, the Music Class Skirt, the Ice Cream Dress, the Jump Rope Dress, the Book Report Dress, and the Carousel Dress. Thanks so much for showing us this cute idea Johanna!

A while back, I was a tester for the Lunchbox Tee + Culottes. I loved the little hidden pockets on the front of the tee, and my daughter loved to dig her hands deep into them, and then give a little jump for joy. It reminded me of some overalls my oldest daughter had around the same age that had a small stuffed animal attached on a string, sewed into the pocket. My oldest daughter would spend her day stuffing the toy in and out of the pocket, and giving that same little jump for joy. So, I decided that my next shirt would have a little animal in the pocket, and I set about making it work.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

The first step was to find a pattern that was free, and was pocket sized.

After some trial and error, my best search terms were “ornament” “stuffed” “pattern” and “free.” I found one that was perfect, and extremely cute.

Meet the Narwhal ornament.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

My first step was to make up the ornament. I changed two things about the construction. I added a silver piece of elastic that was about 7” long to one of the side seams, and I used a twist tie from my bread to keep the tusk straight, since I didn’t have any copper wire hanging around the house.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

I also hand stitched the tusk with a blanket stitch, because I couldn’t get my felt to turn right side out. After I stuffed it, I sewed the last side seam by hand, and added French knots in black for the eyes.

After the ornament was made up, it was time to prep my shirt. The directions call for interfacing across the top of the pockets, but to make sure the seam didn’t stretch too much, I added interfacing to the bottom of the pockets as well.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

In chalk, I drew my 1/4” stitching lines, and I’ll show you where that comes in handy in a minute.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

My daughter is left handed, so I pinned the bottom of the elastic to the middle of the bottom left pocket.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

I stitched the two layers together, and then steamed and ironed them into shape. Once everything looked right, I set my machine to baste, and stitched on top of my lines through all the layers of the tee.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

I ironed it again, and then used my basting lines as a guide, and used my triple straight stitch to stitch the pockets down.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

This does two things, it reinforces the stitching of the toy to the shirt, and ensures that each time your child tugs on the pocket, it doesn’t go inside out. After using the triple stitch, I pulled out my basting stitches, and re-ironed.

I followed the rest of the instructions as they were written, and my daughter was pleased, and gave that little jump for joy.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

When I was searching, for my ornament to put in my daughter’s pocket, I found a lot of patterns that would work, if only a little bit smaller. The first two times I tried this, I had to reduce the size of the pattern to make it fit into a pocket, and I wanted to walk you through the steps for this.

First, find your pattern. I used Scientfic Seamstress’s “Owls for All.” It has nice straight lines, and very simple construction methods.

My first step was to print off the pieces at full size, and then remove the seam allowances.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

Once I had that done, I colored the edges of the pieces without the seam allowances with a Sharpie, and put them down on our “all in one” copier/scanner. I reduced the pieces to 40% of their original size (and could probably have even gone to 35%) and printed again.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

I put the new, smaller pieces onto my freezer paper, and then re-drew the 1/4” seam allowance.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

I cut my pieces from quilting cottons, and found a nice piece of coordinating bias tape. I used a 7” piece of bias tape, so it would be long enough to come out of the pockets, but not a strangulation hazard. I edgestitched both sides of the bias tape. I attached it to the bottom of the owl, curled the bias tape up so it wouldn’t get caught in any seams, and then put right sides to right sides, leaving an opening on the side seam of the owl instead of the bottom, as that is where I had attached my “string.”

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

I wanted the strength of the machine stitch, as my hand stitches tend to get a little sloppy or loose, and I didn’t want to re-do this seam. I eliminated the bottom feet for simplicity. I traced around a small button to make the whites of the eyes from felt. I thought the heart eyes were darling, so I just drew those onto some fusible web, and then bartacked them onto the white part of the eyes.

 

Adding a pocket toy to the Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee

 

After cutting them out, I attached them to the top part of the owl with a narrow zig zag. I attached the owl the same way that I attached the narwhal ornament. And my daughter gave her leap of approval.

 

Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee with pocket toy

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8 Comments

  1. Chicmamainedh

    Such a cute idea! Love the narwhal pattern. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my goodness look at how big T is getting! Such a cute idea!

  3. Rebecca

    She certainly approves!! What a great idea!

  4. This is brilliant!

  5. That last photo sums it all up…such happiness and excitement in her expression! I love the idea of a hidden toy in the pocket. Great idea, Johanna!

  6. So clever Joh and what a gorgeous wee girl!

  7. Gorgeous little tot, I love her expressive face, so joyful! What wonderful sewing and a really, really clever idea! This will be great for making a garment a bit fancier of a gift, mama can always snip out the toy if desired and hang as ornament or from a crib. How about a mouse with a ‘tail’ of string?

  8. Such a good idea Joh! You can tell T just loves it too.

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