Birding Bag for Dad

Happy New Year everyone!

As promised, here’s another one of my handmade Christmas gifts, this one for dad who needed something to carry his binoculars and birding book in whilst birding.


I used the back sides of an old pair of cargo shorts that Mr Rae had spilled bleach on. I was especially pleased with this recycle because it meant I didn’t have to make the outside pockets.

I thought Alexander Henry goldfinch fabric (which is, oddly, available at JoAnn as well as many other nicer places) would be appropriate for the inside.

The front and back are stenciled with fabric paint. I used the freezer-paper technique oft referenced on this blog. MSH are dad’s initials, by the way.


The orange trim around the outside is prepackaged extra-wide double fold bias tape. I basted all of the outside pieces to the lining pieces before beginning, and then just sewed everything together using the bias tape to cover the raw edges. I don’t really recommend this to beginners, since even the wide bias tape has a tendency to fall off the edge really fast. I have to admit there was a fair amount of seam-ripping and re-sewing on my part, but that sort of rip-it-out and redo-it kind of sewing is par for the course around here.

I kindof wish I could do things more carefully; certainly if I thought about things more before I started and proceeded in a very organized fashion I might spend less time undoing projects. What kind of sewist are YOU?

17 thoughts on “Birding Bag for Dad

  1. I love that lining fabric. And so neat to hide it inside an otherwise serious looking bag! πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh, I love this! And I’m certain your dad did, too–what a thoughtful handmade gift. I especially like the orange of the binding–very gunless-hunter-on-the-trail.

    πŸ™‚

  3. The bag looks super. I can’t believe the bird fabric was at JoAnns. I’ll have to take a better look when I go back next. πŸ™‚

  4. Now that is a very, very stylish bag! And very neatly done, seam-ripping notwithstanding. I’m a seam- ripper, too. Not the most efficient use of my time, I know, but I am so impatient to get to the actual sewing! I should baste more. And iron. But back to your bag – I love how masculine and yet upbeat and current – instead of just navys and greys and plaid or whatever. Love it!

  5. I love the bag! And it sounds like I’m a similar sewer to you….with the seam ripper handy at all times. πŸ™‚

  6. This is awesome, I hope someone picks it up and features it somewhere. Such a good idea, esp. since it’s always tricky to craft for gentlemen πŸ˜‰
    I have the same problems with bias tape, it’s hard to sew sufficiently close to the edge without having the fabric “escape” here and there. So frustrating.

  7. Gorgeous and I bet your dad just loved it!

    I am the same as you. I get a bug in my bonnet to do something and its off to the races…no forethought really. I end up undoing and redoing a lot. I don’t lament the fact that I am this way. That is the only way I would ever get excited about something. The overwhelming thought of planning would probably keep me from making anything:) It would also remind me that I don’t know what I am doing at all and that would be a real bummer.

  8. Amazing. I bet he loved it. Wasn’t it last year that Elli gave him birdwatching gloves? Very cool and manly presents.

  9. That bag looks fantastic. And I hate to say it, but I’m exactly the same type of sewer. Sew – Rip – Sew again. I’m too enthusiastic to pin things all the time and that’s just how it happens.

  10. Okay that bag is probably my favourite thing I’ve seen on line in a long time! Repurposing brilliantly – perfect colour, the lining is to die for and even great stencils. Plus the thing is really cute without being too girly for a man to carry! Lucky Dad! Clever daughter!

  11. I LOVE the birding bag!

    My grandma always said “so shall you sew, so shall you rip!” She made all of my clothes for me when I was a child, so she knew her way around a sewing machine. I take comfort that she had to rip all the time, because I rip all the time…

  12. As the recipient and user of this bag, I can say that I like it very much. I especially like the bright colors and crisp stenciling. I normally keep two field guides and a pair of binoculars in it, as well as lens cleaners in the pockets. I may add a strap pad for when it is on my shoulder, unless someone wants to make one for me (hint, hint)

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