When I started classes again this September, I began looking for a school bag. We have bags all over the house, so you’d think that would be an easy process. It wasn’t. Last year, I used a book bag given to me by my favourite English professor when I graduated with my BA. That bag is now my rock climbing bag. I tried other bags, but they were all too small or too big or the wrong shape, and I didn’t want to spend money on a new bag.
At Women of Faith, I noticed my friend Joanna had a nice shoulder bag. When she commented she’d made it, I thought, “I could do that!”
The Monday after we got back, when I was doing laundry and chasing the girls and trying to return to normal life after a weekend away, I dug out my fabric bin. Lily was napping and I was too tired to concentrate on editing stories. Plus, a DIY shoulder bag seemed like something I could do with Sunshine.
She oohed and aahed over the fabric—satin scraps from my wedding dress and my university grad dress; lengths of flannel I bought before she was born, intending to make sleepers; a piece of bright pink linen that might someday become a dress for me (or her). Nothing suitable for a bag.
As I stacked the fabric back in the bin, I caught sight of two pairs of pants I’d thrown in: a pair of jeans with a broken fly and a pair of cargo pants with holes in the bum. They’d once been my favourite pants, and still had a lot of good fabric, so I hadn’t wanted to throw them out. As I eyed them, an idea grew up in my head.
“Mama Bear did that for Sister,” she said.
“What?” I asked. She repeated the statement. It took me a minute to put that together with the Berenstain Bears DVD she’s been watching recently. Then I felt guilty. Apparently it’s been so long since I sewed anything that she only knows what a sewing machine is from a TV show. The only time I’ve gotten my machine out lately has been to do mending for my husband.
By the time I finished my DIY shoulder bag, several hours later, Sunshine wanted a bag for herself. My project had taken longer than I expected and I was ready to put everything away again, but I looked at the pair of jeans. It took me only a few minutes to transform the pant legs into two little bags—one of her and one for Lily, now up from her nap. (I’ve learned life is easier when everything comes in twos.)
For the next week, the girls carted their bags everywhere; Sunshine even insisted upon using hers as a snack bag for preschool.
I’m quite pleased with my bag, which is just the right size of my papers, holds my coffee cup upright (so it doesn’t even spill if it’s full!), and has space for my pens too. If you want to try making a DIY shoulder bag like this, check out my step-by-step article on the Untrained Housewife.
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