Monday, November 21, 2011

Le Grand 'Petit Prince' Sachet

I am a big fan of Katy over at No Big Dill. She has some of the most creative projects I've ever seen, she's an amazing seamstress, and is a mom to six(!). So when she announced a reprise of "Once Upon a Thread," a series of sewing projects themed around children's books, I knew I needed to make something. I mean, I love books. How could I not? But I needed a good book to start with, and a good reason to make something. Well, one of my very dear friends loves the book Le Petit Prince, or The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and it was her birthday last week, so I made her a zippered pouch based on the book.

I know The Little Prince is not really a kid's book, but it is actually one of the first books I remember reading. Somebody had given my parents a beautiful hardcover edition of the book, and being immigrants, they hadn't heard of the book, saw the colorful pictures inside, and stuck it in our bookcase. I remember reading the first section, about the elephant-swallowed-by-snake, and it resonated with me so much. I was definitely a weird kid who liked drawing, so I totally identified with adults who were bewildered by my drawings. I read the whole thing in early elementary school, but definitely felt at the time that the rest of the book didn't live up to the beginning. It wasn't until I reread it in college that I fell in love with its whimsical, heartfelt view of life and what it means to be human (and adult).

I tried to represent the central components of the book on my pouch.

There's the rose whom the prince loves.

There's the unhappy discovery that the rose is actually not unique at all; there are a whole bunch more elsewhere!

There's the volcano that needs cleaning, and the baobab tree threat.

Then, my favorite, the fox who was tamed.

All appliqued onto a large zippered pouch, big enough to hold...

an iPad2

...or the actual book!

I did the corners so that the whole thing could stand up.

The whole thing is made of heavily interfaced linen, to match the cover of my well-loved book. Yes, I know that not all editions of the book have this cover.

Here's how you can make your own grand "Petit Prince" sachet. All the appliques make it perfect for scrap-busting!

1) Find the following fabrics:
  • enough fabric for your outer pouch, preferably plain, as it will be the background (I used 14"x10" for each side)
  • heavy interfacing or fusible fleece to make the pouch sturdy
  • a rose print fabric, enough to make the lining, as well as one extra for the applique
  • a brown fabric for the planet
  • a tree print fabric for the baobab (just enough for the one baobab, unless you want three!)
  • a yellow fabric for the rose's sun
  • brown fleece for the fox
  • two tiny black beads for the fox's eyes
  • some kind of fusible web to stick the appiques to the background fabric
  • thread in the appropriate colors for topstitching (I used brown for the planet, baobab, and fox, gold for the rose and sun, and green for the grass; beige to match the linen for everything else)
  • a zipper long enough for your pouch
2) Cut out your appliques. The rose and baobab were just trimmed around the picture; the sun, planet and grass were just free-handed. Print this picture (right click, "save as" and resize before printing if necessary for the size of your pouch) for the fox applique.

3) Use the fusible web to attach the appliques, then topstitch, in this order: on one side, planet, then rose/baobab/sun; on the other side, grass then fox. Stitch on the fox's eyes at the place shown above. I freehanded the volcano since it was just an upside-down V. Here's what my pieces looked like.
Sorry about the bad lighting in my sewing room. This is the mess on the back of the fox panel.

The front of the fox panel. I added some little spriggy grass things.

The front of the rose panel.

The back of the rose panel. I opted not to sew the planet before placing the rose since the fabric was so thin, I didn't want the stitches to show through.

4) Iron on the interfacing/fleece onto the back of your appliqued outer fabrics.
5) Follow the directions in this awesome tutorial for the zipper ends.
6) I found this tutorial to be the most clear for the actual pouch construction.
7) If you want the bottom to be flat so that the pouch can stand up, you can pinch the corners, sew, and cut them off, as shown here.

I love that this project used up some scraps, as well as allowed me to use some of the other stitches on my machine.
I used #14 for the volcano, and #18 for the grass and sprigs. The tree was just the normal zigzag, #3.
If you make a Little Prince pouch, I would love to see it! And obviously, the story* and drawings and everything don't belong to me, they belong to Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Or his estate. You get the idea.

*My husband has never read The Little Prince, and when I tried to explain it to him, I realized it sounded like AdSE was on LSD when he wrote it. Here's what my summary sounded like: "This guy used to draw elephants eaten by snakes except adults always thought they were hats, and then he grew up and crashed in a desert and met a little prince, who was actually from another planet, where he had a rose that he loved and he had to clean out his volcanoes and keep giant trees from taking over, and then one day the prince decided to explore the universe and met a guy who kept drinking, and a lamplighter, and a king, and a business man, and then he ended up on Earth where he discovered his rose wasn't unique but a fox taught him it was because he loved it, and then he tamed the fox, and met the guy in the desert and wanted a sheep and then they were going to die of thirst except they found a well and then a snake bit the prince and he died anyway. It was a beautiful book and I loved it!" My husband: "Ummmm, right...why?"

Linked to Skip to My Lou, Craft-O-Maniac and Sew Can Do.


  1. Mrs. Chan, thank you SOOOOO much for the beautiful satchel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

    And haha the story does sound a bit bizarre when summarized. But it is so beautiful. Because of the colour of the wheat fields.

    Thank you for such a beautiful and meaningful and entirely useful labour of love!

  2. I stumbled on your photos through Craft on Flickr. How wonderfully quirky your projects are! I love them. :) Batman dresses and cloud dresses and Little Prince laptop cases. The lining for the laptop case is perfect!

  3. This bag is fabulous! I love your summary of the story... it is pretty crazy. I read it in English as a kid, then in my French class in college in the original French. I must say it seems somehow less bizarre and even more magical in French... or maybe that was just because I only understood about 70% of the words...


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