Mail is happiness.
My best friend also happens to be named Rebecca. We met at an end-of-summer volunteer week for incoming Boston University students. Together we spent these late summer days on the outskirts of Beantown in gardening gloves — weeding, moving rocks, and turning the soil. At the end of each day, we'd bus back to our urban-situated student center and sat in a circle to reflect upon ... trowel techniques? Soil varieties? How volunteerism helped us cement friendships? My memory of these discussions are vague, to say the least, and I can't say that I recall a single other face in that group. But, 20 years later, my dear friend Rebecca is still the real deal: a true friend and now the godmother to my kids.
She's been writing letters and short postcards to my 5-year-old daughter since her birth. I'll never forget that very first Valentine's Day card that Sophie received in the mail, not even one year old. Becky broke it down like this, and I'm paraphrasing:
Valentine's Day is all about sending and receiving letters.
Which is really the best approach to V Day I've heard, yet. (It's up there with Leslie Knope's February 13th celebration, Galentine's Day: "It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus, frittatas!") Take the most sticky-sweet, overrated holiday, worst-night-of-the-year-to-go-out-to-dinner and make it about... snail mail.
Ever since Sophie received her very first letter from Auntie Becky, I've been saving some of the special cards and notes she gets from friends and family members. We love to pull these out when we play post-office and pretend to deliver mail to each other. It's great because we actually look at the notes and re-read them together instead of just letting them collect dust in the closet.
This pretend play was the inspiration for the Hudson Mailbag. I figured it was about time Sophie gets a real-deal mail-carrier bag to go with that real-deal godmother of hers.
Here's the full tutorial if you'd like to make your own:
What You'll Need
The Pattern Template available here.
Tools: a good pair of scissors, ruler, all-purpose thread, hand sewing needle, and a fabric marker
Fabric Requirements / Materials
1 piece of Lavender felt, 1 MM thickness (this is the first felt color) from Purl Soho, cut to 6 x 9"
1 piece of Magenta felt, 1 MM thickness (this is the second felt color) from Purl Soho, cut to 6 x 9"
1 piece of White felt, 1 MM thickness (this is the third felt color) from Purl Soho, cut to 1.75 x 5.5"
Black + White wrapped ribbon (this is the first ribbon color) from Studio Carta, cut to 32"
Black + Gold Metallic tight-weave ribbon (this is the second ribbon color) from Studio Carta, 32" total, cut to two strands, 16" each
Use a diagonal parallel stitch along the edges of the bag and along the straight edges of the letters to evoke the look of air-mail.
The finished piece measures 6 x 9 inches, not including ribbon length.
This is a great pattern to try if you have limited sewing skills. This video from the Crafty Gemini is a great place to start if you are brand new to hand sewing. She covers basic tools, how to thread a needle, and how to do basic stitches.
How to Make It
Prep your pieces.
Cut-out the pattern pieces from the PDF template.
Using a fabric marker, trace the rectangle-shaped pattern piece once on the first felt color and once on the second felt color. Trace the letter pattern pieces on the third felt color. If your fabric marker does not cleanly erase, mark on the back of the felt by reversing the pattern piece face down before tracing.
Create the front of the mailbag.
Center the letter pattern pieces on the front of the mailbag (the first felt color) to spell "POST". Pin the letters in place.
Starting from the backside of the first felt color, stitch the first letter and the first felt color together, continuing with stitches about 1/8" apart. When nearing the end of thread, tie off the thread with a knot on the reverse side of the first felt color. Stitch the rest of the letters in the same fashion.
Lay the first ribbon color on top of the front of the mailbag and curl the ribbon inside the letter "O." The ribbon should extend about an inch over each edge of the bag. Pin the ribbon in place.
Starting from the backside of the front of the bag, stitch the ribbon and the first felt color together in a tight running stitch.
Add the strap and put it all together.
Arrange both strands of the second ribbon color between the first and second felt colors like a sandwich, with the outside edge of the ribbon against the edge of the two felt pieces. Both strands of ribbon should continue down about 1" in between the two felt pieces. Pin in place.
Starting from the interior of the bag, stitch the 4 layers (felt, 2 strands of ribbon, felt) together. Tuck the wrapped ribbon (the first ribbon color) in-between the two felt layers and stitch in place. When nearing the end of thread or once you finish the left edge of the bag, tie off the thread with a knot in the interior of the bag, between the two pieces of felt.
Repeat this step on the opposite edge of the bag by stitching the straps to the interior of the bag in the same fashion.
Stitch the bottom edges of the first two felt colors together to complete the bag.
And there you have it. Go find your young mail carrier and get mailing!
I hope you and your little ones enjoy post office play as much as we do!