With plastic bags slowly disappearing from the grocery stores in many states, and paper bags costing 10 cents a bag, reusable bags are now frequently seen in the hands of shoppers. Reusable and washable bags are one way to reduce the plastic overload in landfills. Plastics take years to break down, if they do at all and plastic bags are littering our roadsides and polluting our oceans where they can do considerable harm to sea life. And with no formal recycling program on the Rez, the cost to set up one being a major factor, their land and landfills are covered with these items that off the Rez would be collected through such a program. Education about why and how to take care of our environment and save it for future generations , starts at an early age so cloth bags to carry items in, are a beginning in that process. People on the Rez are delighted to get a bag as not only can they carry their weekly grocery items but they can also serve as a diaper bag, toy bag, book bag, etc.
We all know that children are collectors of “stuff” and need something to carry their treasures around in. Pockets are really important and by age 3, I try to include them in the pants and shorts I make for my grandkids just because it provides that special place for those treasures found on a walk, digging etc. But a pocket can only hold a few things and kids that age are in the discovery stage of their lives and with so many things treasures to them, they need something bigger to hold it all.
At the beginning of the school year many organizations provide backpacks for the children but not everyone will receive one, older kids have more school work and carry more books so they will be at the top of the list. These bags will take a beating during the school year and may not be in good enough condition to be handed down to their younger siblings.
With an Easter party scheduled for April we thought this would be a good time to make bags for the kids, they can use them for the egg hunt at the party and afterwards to hold clothing, books, etc. Also March is National Reading Month and we want to encourage kids to read more so it would be good if they had something to put their books in that various organizations donate from time to time. If you have any books your children or grandchildren have outgrown, please include them in your next box.
Children, ages newborn through 14 years of age, will be attending the party. Mothers bring their babies and toddlers to hunt for eggs, kids ages 5 through 10 hunt on their own and the older ones 11-14 help the younger ones if they need it. And elders show up for the fun and the High Horses fill a bag with personal items they receive from NAHA donations. The High Horse family and friends will hide about 5000 plastic eggs (still needed), filled with candy, talk about a plastic overload! The party will be held, rain, snow or shine so guess the plastic eggs are a necessity. They haven’t been able to keep the eggs from year to year because the kids refuse to hand them over after the hunt so unfortunately they need to be replaced each year. It’s one more thing they can add to their treasure collection and my grandkids are no different in that regard, theirs ends up in the play food box.
So what kind of bags are needed? Well for mothers a diaper bag would be great to carry diapers and all the other things babies need. Some mothers like to use backpacks as their kids get older so they have both hands free to chase after busy toddlers. For younger children, ages 3-5, a smaller drawstring or tote bag with shorter handles or even a backpack style bag large enough to hold a book, pair of shoes, or stuffed animal but small enough to be manageable for a young child. Older children ages 6-10 can use the same style bags but in larger sizes as they carry much more such as heavy books and sports equipment. For the young teens helping out at the party consider making a fun purse style bag for the girls and drawstring bags with straps that can be worn backpack style for boys. They are expecting about 250 plus kids so we have a job ahead of us if we are to reach that goal.
The majority of the bags needed are for newborns (diaper bags) through age 10. Use fabric in bright solid colors or prints if you have them, raid your scrap bag and piece them together in fun designs. Some other fabric choices are denim, lightweight corduroy, canvas, poplin, ripstop nylon, drapery and upholstery. Knits and fleece aren’t suitable for bags unless you line them with a nonstretch fabric as they will “grow” and stretch out of shape when heavier items are carried. If you’re using the lighter weight cottons we suggest lining those too. Add pockets to the outside and/or inside of the bags for things that need to be retrieved quickly, especially handy for diaper bags. We’re striving to keep the bags simple, stylish and functional. My bags take me a about an hour to make once cut out, especially if you do assembly line style, if making more than one. You can also buy a plain bag and decorate with an applique, a fabric paint, embroidery etc
I’ve been adding pins on my own Pinterest site where you can find free patterns and ideas for making kids bags. Sew For Kids also has their own Pinterest site with a board for the March project along with many others. For crocheters and knitters there are some cute patterns under “Kids Bags” on Ravelry that you can make.
Please share photos of bags you make to inspire us all. Please send your finished bags here.
As always thanks from Sew For Kids.
Photos of bags I have made so far. Love to post yours to the site.