Birthday Present for a 1 year old: Easy Xylophone or Glockenspiel Gift Bag Tutorial

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Did you know that there is a difference between xylophones and glockenspiels? I sure didn’t, in fact I hadn’t ever heard of a glockenspiel until I started looking for a musical instrument for Baby Journey’s first birthday. I wanted something with a pure tone that would also stand up to a bit of rough play. I found this which is technically a glockenspiel. The name differentiates what the bars are made of. A xylophone’s bars are made of wood, while a glockenspiel’s are made out of metal and are generally smaller and higher pitched. Fascinating!

I love amazon for their selection and cheap prices. However, when we got the glockenspiels I was dismayed that the bags were cheap looking and warped. I think babies (and all children) benefit from beautiful, useful things surrounding them. I was also giving one of these away as a gift to Baby Journey’s birthday buddy Stella, and I wanted a nice presentation. The following is just a basic outline of the steps I took to make the bags.

There are lots of great bag tutorials and patterns online, and you might already have a favorite. If you don’t, I used the drawstring bag tutorial here as a starting point. Instead of doing the French seams inside the bag I just sewed up the sides and then did a zigzag stitch outside of the straight stitch line to add extra durability. I followed the instructions as written for the drawstring casing.

For the applique, I first sketched out an idea of what I wanted to do. I used a piece of notebook paper, and the lines made it very easy to keep everything straight and parallel. Then I traced the pattern onto a piece of freezer paper using my ruler. The outside lines aren’t at the exact same angle, but I don’t require perfection. If you’d like to do something similar the top line measured about 3″ long and the bottom line measured about 5 & 3/4″ long. In between the two there are 9″. As you can see, each bar was three lines college-ruled notebook paper lines in width and I left one line between each.

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After selecting the fabric I wanted to use I cut each into a 1″ strip. This is slightly larger than the strips I drew on the pattern. If this bothers you, I encourage you to be daring and welcome imprecision into your creative endeavors.

Next, I cut out the pattern and taped it to my cutting mat. 

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I then lined up the strips of fabric so that they were evenly spaced along the pattern.

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Then I used my ruler and rotary cutter to trim each side.

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After both sides were trimmed I set them aside and cut the fabric for my bag. Then I traced around the pattern piece, marking where the top bar began and the bottom bar ended.

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Once the pattern was traced I laid out all the pieces.

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I glue basted the pieces onto the fabric using plain old Elmer’s Glue. To glue baste, just dab a little bit of glue where you want to join two pieces. You can press the piece with a warm iron for a few seconds to speed up drying if you want to hurry things along. IMG_4070

Next I stitched each piece onto the backing fabric using a straight stitch and coordinating thread. I considered outlining the edges of the glockenspiel with stitching, but decided to keep it very simple. Once everything was secure I finished constructing the bag.IMG_4100

The result? Two fun birthday presents for two amazing little girls. And a lot more noise music in both our households.


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