Saturday, December 30, 2017

Wheel Chair Tote Bag

My Mom just celebrated her 91st birthday and I decided she would truly appreciate a gift that I had made more than any store bought item.  She uses a walker and sometimes a wheel chair if we are out in public. I found myself needing to add a tote bag onto the handles of my Mom's transport chair.  You need both hands to push a wheel chair ! 

So, I'm going to make a custom tote!  The width from handle to handle is exactly 18 inches on center.   It took me about 5 hours to construct this creation since I didn't have a pattern.  I just sort of figured things out as I went along.  I decided to put a zipper across the top for privacy.

My first zipper placket was a closed bottom metal zipper.  After I had the zipper installed I realized it really needs to open up.   I decided to use a separating zipper instead.  I looked through my vast collection of zippers and found a plastic separating zipper.  Yes,  I had to shorten it.  It is sooo easy to use nippers on plastic teeth.  Then I  add the top stops. 

 I found this utility denim in my stash.  No lycra !  I decided to add fusible fleece to give more 'body' to the overall structure. 

I experimented with a few decorative stitches.   I wasn't all that pleased with the results. Heavier threads seem to affect the stitch quality. Oh, well. So,  I used a simple triple straight stitch.

Handles:  Cut two strips 4x12 inches. Fold raw edges toward middle.  Press.  I added decorative trim tape.  (Some items have been accumulating for 10 or 20 years! )


Here you can see why a separating zipper works out better.  It will allow you to open up the entire opening.

I added a nylon zipper to the inside pouch.  Fully lined.

The bag can stand up by itself due to the fusible fleece.

The loop handles should slide onto the chair handles nicely.   I think I will spray this denim tote with Scotch Guard since it may be exposed to rain or snow.  Should also help to keep it clean.

Everything was going along rather well until I tried to stitch around the upper edge through the handles.  I got an error message on the machine telling me I needed to use thinner fabric and the machine could not sew through that denim !  Needless to say I ended up using my trusty Bernina 930 to stitch through the upper edge and handles!   Wow,  that is thick denim!  I have sewn wool braided rugs on the Bernina 930.  What a workhorse!!! I will never sell my 930. (Sorry,  during photo edit I erased the name for privacy.) I know my Mom will love it. I'm sure her friends will want one too!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Other than Sewing...

Many people who sew are also talented in some form of needle work.  Sadly, I do not crochet or knit like my Mom.  Every once in a while I will dabble in some sort of craft but I'm not terribly creative.  I have always been interested in crafting with nuts, pine cones, shells etc. 

We have many hickory nut trees on our property.  This year we had a high volume of hickory nuts.  I normally wash both the nuts and the shells in Pine Sol and allow them to dry a couple of days.  This will kill off any possible bugs or worms.

I start out by purchasing a slab of alder wood with the natural bark around the perimeter.   They generally run 15- $20.   I have found them at Marshalls and Home Goods.  Next I get a styrofoam cone from the craft store.   I use a hot glue gun to temporarily hold the nuts in place.  I also use the shells to cover the open spots between the nuts.  Hot glue is not particularly strong but it will hold the nuts quickly.  After that I use good old Elmers Glue.   It dries pretty clear and will hold forever.

I either use Minwax stain with a brush or the aerosol type.  Sprays definitely are easier.  Allow to dry at least 24 hours.  Then you can apply several coats of  semi-gloss polyurethane.  I tend to use at least 3 coats.

I normally add the synthetic berries for a pop of color and to fill in gaps.  Then another coat of poly.

To attach the finished nut tree to the alder wood base I use a very thin layer of Gorilla glue.  This glue expands so it must be a very thin coat. 

I added some Folk Art acrylic snow paint to cover any exposed areas of glue.   Since I also glued down the night light snow man I added more snow paint.

Well, other than my trees I really can't call myself a crafter.  This one is for my Mom.