Sewing A Gift that Grandma Will Use
What Grandma Wants
The most important thing that seniors want is the gift of your time. Beyond that, are you wondering what to get for Grandma when a holiday or a birthday rolls around? If you're at a loss for gift ideas, this year, get a head start on making something that will be put to good use.
Perhaps you have a friend recovering from surgery who uses a walker to get around. One of the challenges is having a place to store small items and carry them when both hands are occupied.
This walker organizer is something you can make that will be used and appreciated every day.
Watch for Patterns to Go on Sale
Where To Start
Start by finding out which colors and designs are her favorite. Ask if she likes flowers, plaids or stripes. Maybe she's a candidate for an animal print; something to bring out the tiger in her. The fabric store is the best place to get ideas and now is the time.
For the dedicated and experienced person who sews, this project will take a couple of days. The lines are simple and the various pieces to make this organizer are few.
A Gift that Gets Used Everyday
Finding the Pattern
There are a number of sources where you can find craft patterns. My favorite is Hancock Fabrics where I get most of my fabric.
They run a special every few months where they sell patterns for only ninety-nine cents ($.99) each. That's a real bargain compared to the suggested retail of almost seventeen dollars ($16.95) for this walker organizer.
This Simplicity pattern was ordered online from eBay for around seven dollars ($7.00), arrived promptly on my doorstep and came with free shipping.
Laying out the Pattern to Match the Design
Buying the Fabric
Once you have the pattern in hand, you can check for the amount of fabric you'll need for the project. While you're at the store, pick up the notions like thread and the double-fold bias tape to match.
I was lucky to find a sale on notions where these things were marked half off. If you plan things ahead of time, you might just find the fabric on sale as well.
What I used was double sided, quilted fabric in a color that I knew Mom would like. Be sure to buy enough for matching any designs if you choose a fabric with an obvious pattern.
Reading the Instructions
Organizing the Pieces
Begin by ironing the pattern pieces flat using a warm setting on the iron to get out the creases and folds in the paper. It really makes things easier.
Determine the specific pattern pieces that you'll need for your project and put the extras back in the envelope. It's a good idea to cut apart the individual pieces that are printed on the same sheet. That helps when laying out the pattern on the fabric.
Cutting Out the Pieces
A good pair of sewing scissors is important when cutting through double thicknesses of this polyester filled broadcloth. Many fabric stores promote scissors on special pricing at the checkout.
A flat surface and good lighting helps the project move along. It's best to have an area dedicated to sewing that doesn't require everything to be put away after use. Putting it all out of sight demotivates me from finishing a project.
Nearly any model of sewing machine will work. There's no zig zag stitching required.
A good fabric marking pencil helps when it comes to marking the spots that need to be matched up. Even a number two pencil or eyebrow pencil will work in a pinch.
A measuring tape is useful in placing the pattern on the fabric evenly and straight pins are essential.
Notions are listed on the pattern consisting of thread and double fold bias tape, along with sew-on Velcro for fastening the straps.
Turning the Straps takes a Little Patience
The most time-consuming part of making the organizer is turning the straps after stitching. This takes a small amount of patience and a keen eye. There are devices made to assist in this part, although not essential. A heavy-duty needle can be used to help turn the fabric right side out along the narrow straps.
To accommodate the walker design in use, I cut out an extra strap. Rather than one fastener in the center, it was better for me to have one on either side of the center.
Straps for Holding the Bag in Place
After the straps are turned right side outward, Velcro is added and the straps are attached to the main body of the bag. Pictured above are the top straps and the side strap that holds the organizer to the leg of the walker.
Notice how the pattern of the fabric is matched to the pattern on the bag bodice.
The biggest obstacle in putting the organizer together was the lack of directions when it came to the side straps. A little bit of improvising was necessary to cover both of the raw edges around the strap that attaches to the leg of the walker.
Notice along the side seam where the strap extends outward from the main body. The instructions say to encase the raw edges with the bias tape. That proved to be difficult since the strap is in the way.
I cut an extra strip of double fold bias tape about two inches long to affix to the unfinished edge left after attaching the strap to the main body of the organizer.
There was no way to enclose both sides of the fabric surrounding the side strap without adding another small piece of bias tape to cover the unfinished edge.
Attaching this short piece of bias tape along the edge of the pocket insert will alleviate the issue.
The Joy of Giving this Organizer
This is one project that is truly worth the time invested. The walker organizer receives a lot of interest from the residents at the nursing home. Several people have asked if I would make one for them as well.
If you're looking for a worthy project to make as an act of kindness, this is one that will bring happiness to the both the receiver of this gift and to you as the giver. The cost to make the entire project is around forty dollars depending on the fabric pricing, buying the notions and pattern on sale and of course, not counting your time.
Walker Tote Bag - No Pattern Needed
© 2015 Peg Cole