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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sewing: Easy Multipurpose Goody Bags

easy sewing goody bags

I still remember the quiet smile with which my mom acknowledged the cushion cover I held up to her: My very first independent sewing project using my mom's old manual Singer sewing machine - the kind that requires rhythmic pedaling else the old brown belt would come off, leaving me cursing and trying to set it back in the wheel. The cushion cover had ruffles at the edges to boot. And I did it with no guidance or supervision. I was probably about 9 or 10 years old and had to sit on a low stool so my feet could rest well on the pedal... at least that is how I remember it now.

And as I beamed, I did not understand why my mom did not gush at my end-product. In retrospect, I am glad she didn't. Now that I have kids of my own, I catch myself doing the same naturally. I believe in praising where due, but, I'd rather not gush, "Wow! That is so pretty!" for that emphasizes the end-product. Praise is evaluative and spotlights on the achievement. Whereas Acknowledgment is not evaluative, rather it is descriptive and focuses on the process and feelings involved. Not that I put it to good practice, but, it is nice to know the difference, even if this piece of valuable information prefers to rest at the back of my mind...

Anyway, these goody bags took me back to those days when I hadn't ventured into any complex cutting and sewing - just rectangles and squares - hankies and pillow cases. I sewed a few of these goody bags for Ana's birthday party - for the kids to take back the little craft project, prizes they won for the games, anything else they felt like stowing away from the party...

I thought a bit about the fabric to use. My preference was for plain old white muslin so the kids could use fabric crayons and decorate their own bags to take home. But, since we already had DIY foods for the party, plus some crafts, I decided to sort through my fabric scraps to pick out various patterns and colors so that each one is unique and easily identified, even with no name on it.

100% cotton 18"x22" fat quarters would work well for these goody bags - simply finish the long edges, allow for the cording and sew the hems of the short edges; then fold the fabric in half, right sides together of course, and sew the side seams, leaving the cording edges free. Thread a ribbon or cord and knot the free ends on one side, repeat the same going the other way, so as to be able to gather the knotted ends and pull to close the bag. Takes about 10 minutes per bag, especially if I choose to leave the edges raw for a casually rustic look.

Nothing much to it, really. I liked the organdy ribbons rather than the usual cording... it gave the bags a softer look.

I've sewn several bags in my life so far. I am rather a bag nut. I don't care much for handbags and beachbags though, but, I love sacks, simple totes, and backpacks, with inner and outer pockets. This same goody bag idea, only larger, with canvas or thick cotton fabric, with adjustable back-straps sewn on one side make very stylish backpack purse/bag - used to be my favorite for casual outings until the kids came along...

Over the last 5 years my "purse" has evolved into a "hold-all" where anything from diapers, wipes, extra clothes, kids' water bottles, bag of cheerios, bananas (hopefully not mushed), hand sanitizer, assorted fruit snacks, hair accessories, kids' socks etc. can be found... "Be Prepared", as my Girl Guide motto says :)

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