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House Shaped “I Spy” Bag with Free Pattern

Today’s contributor is Terra from Mama Says Sew. All posts written by Terra for Make It and Love It can be found HERE.

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Hi everyone, it’s Terra from Mama Says Sew!

You’ve probably seen “I Spy” bags before, but I thought it would be fun to do a different take on them by making this cute house-shaped I Spy bag. Instead of just a boring square, it’s shaped like a house.

House Shaped I Spy Bag with Free Pattern | via Make It and Love It
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 House Shaped I Spy Bag with Free Pattern

To do the spying with this I Spy bag, you open the windows and doors, so it’s a little fine motor skill building for little hands as well.

I’ve also included a free pattern for this I Spy bag, so you don’t have to do any guesswork or drafting. Just print it and you’re ready to go. All you have to do is cut it out and add seam allowances.

I just gathered items from around the house to fill the I Spy bag with. You can see the legs of a spider ring from Halloween in the picture below. I supplemented with a few toys from those quarter machines. I also bought a package of letter beads so that I could include the alphabet.

House Shaped I Spy Bag with Free Pattern | via Make It and Love It
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There is a list on the back of the bag of all the things to look for. These are such a great toy to use in places like the doctor’s office or on an airplane. They’re quiet and the pieces are all contained, so they won’t get lost!

I used some plastic pellets for filling, but for a more economical (and probably environmentally friendly) option, you could use uncooked rice instead.

I also added some decorative stitching on the door and window shutters to make the door look paneled and the windows to look more like shutters.

Since the pieces for the house are pretty small, this is a great way to use scraps that you can’t bear to throw away.

To make this I Spy bag, you will need:

  • Fabric Scraps
  • Fusible Interfacing Scraps
  • Button for the door knob
  • Scrap of 1/8 inch elastic
  • Ribbon
  • Clear Vinyl
  • Plastic Pellets (or uncooked rice)
  • Button for doorknob
  • Sewing Supplies
  • Free Pattern

First, print and cut out your pattern. You will need to add seam allowances when you cut out your pieces. The seam allowance is up to you, just make sure to add the same seam allowance all around every piece.

You will need to cut:

  • Back (main outline): cut 1 of main or coordinating fabric
  • Door: cut 1 of clear vinyl, cut 2 of door fabric, cut 2 of interfacing
  • Window: Cut 1 of clear vinyl (two shutters combined)
  • Shutters: Cut 4 of shutter fabric, cut 4 of interfacing
  • House (all the rectangle pieces surrounding the window and door): Cut 1 of each piece from main fabric
  • Roof: Cut 1 of roof fabric
  • Optional: Cut a 7×5 inch rectangle from any fabric and another 7 x 5 inch rectangle of clear vinyl. This is for the list of objects to find.


Fuse the interfacing to the wrong sides of the door and shutter fabric.

With right sides together, sew the door around two short and one long side, leaving the other long side open to turn. Clip corners, turn right side out and press.

Repeat for both the shutter pieces, adding in pieces of ribbon to tie the shutters closed. Heat seal or fray check the ribbon ends.

Optional: add some decorative stitching to the doors and shutters. I have a water soluble fabric pen that I used to draw my lines with.

Now it’s time to start piecing the house together. The pieces will go together like they did on the pattern, and you’ll add the door and shutters into the seams. Since this will get a lot of wear, you will probably want to reinforce your seams.

First, sew the vinyl for the door to the rectangle to the top of the door.

Then sew the rectangle to the right of the door to the vinyl, adding in a loop of 1/8 inch elastic.

Repeat for the rectangle on the other side of the doorway vinyl, adding the door into the seam allowance.

Sew on the top and bottom rectangles to the top and bottom of the vinyl window.

Position the shutters where you want them over the window. I tied them closed to help them stay where I wanted them.

Sew on the rectangles along the sides of the window, enclosing the raw edges of the shutters in the seams.

Sew the window piece to the door piece, as shown below.

Add the roof and the front of the house is ready to go.

Now it’s time to add the list of things to find. If you don’t want to add that, you can scroll down past these next instructions.

Draw a rectangle approximately 4×6 inches on the back piece using something that will come out easily. Draw an “X” through the rectangle.

Cut along the “X”. Don’t cut anywhere else!

Press the flaps made by cutting the “X” to the wrong side of your fabric.

Trim off the extra fabric so that there is about a 1/2 inch left. This is the window for the list of things to find.

Print or write a list and place it in between the 5×7 fabric and vinyl pieces and sew around all the edges. Make sure that your list will be visible through the 4×6 rectangle you cut into the back of the house.

Place the list behind the rectangle and sew around the edges. I did a straight stitch, then reinforced it with a zig zag stitch.

Place the house front to the house back, right sides together. Stitch all the way around, leaving an opening to turn. Reinforce your seams. Turn right sides out.

Fill the bag, using the pellets and the items to find. This is what I used, and I needed almost two bags to fill my house. The “BIG” on the front of the package, is, in my opinion, misleading.

Hand-stitch the opening closed, making sure to do a good job, and make little, tight stitches so none of the filling leaks out.

Enjoy! I hope this I spy bag leads to hours of quiet enjoyment on your next flight with your child.


Find Terra at Mama Says Sew, here Facebook page, or follow along on Instagram.

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Making toys for our kids is not only economical but can be SO MUCH FUN!

Check out these other fun DIY toy ideas:


Terra has contributed 15 articles on since May 19, 2015.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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