I am not a person who sews. I have never been a person who sews. I have always been a person who, when sewing was needed, either discarded said item or enlisted the help of a person who sews.
My nine-year old decided about a year ago that she wanted to learn to sew. As luck would have it, Santa showed up with a sewing machine this past Christmas. The only problem was figuring out how she was going to learn to use it.
So she didn’t.
It sat in the box in the living room for almost a year.
Then, when her birthday rolled around this past October, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to not have wasted Santa’s hard-earned money and get the kid some sewing lessons.
I discovered that the local yarn shop owner teaches sewing so I signed the two of us up for a class in the basics of sewing. It was pretty great. In an hour and a half, we learned how to set up the machine, trouble shoot, sew a basic stitch, and general stuff like that.
All of a sudden, a whole new world was opened up to me. I wasn’t even the one who’d wanted to learn to sew, but here I was making little pillows and plans for bigger, more exciting pillows. And then, I got an idea.
I thought about the Tremendous Stack of empty feed sacks in the garage. The pig feed, goat feed, chicken feed, and cracked corn all come in 50 pound feed sacks. Every time we empty one, we add it to the Tremendous Stack. We don’t throw them away because 1) we are reluctant to throw anything away that might possibly have some use for something someday and 2) I once learned that people made tote bags from the plasticky ones and thought that maybe one day I could be one of those people.
Well, Ladies and Gentleman, that day was today.
I made the grievous error of starting with my cutest feed sack. Since my sewing skills are dodgy at best, I should’ve started with my less-beloved sacks and gotten the mistakes out on those. But I didn’t. I started with Adorable Chicken Feed bag and wreaked stitchery havoc all over it.
But it doesn’t even matter.
All that matters is that the end product is a bag that holds stuff; so I sallied forth, tangled thread, crooked needlework, and all.
Making the totes is a pretty simple endeavor. If you are even marginally experienced with a sewing machine, it will be a piece of cake. If you are like me, you can totally do it too, it will just take LOTS more time, a Sisyphean level of patience, and a willingness to accept mediocrity with open arms.
I started by measuring the sack and cutting away the top and bottom of the bag. The bottom of the bag was discarded, but the top was measured and cut to form the tote handles.
I followed the instructions laid out by the woman in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiKRNb_3MEs
Her instructions are very clear and easy to follow. She irritated me with all of her straight lines and disaster-free project completion, but I let that go because she was teaching me how to make a bag.
I ended up making three of them and I have to say, they’re pretty darned cute. I will return to the Tremendous Stack again and work on improving my skills, but for now I will use the marginal tote bags with pride. There is a real satisfaction in making something useful out of what would otherwise be garbage.
Heck, I might even try to hem those pants I was getting ready to throw away.