Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wheelchair Back Packs

Amidst some links on line and a collection of soil resistant fabric samples that a friend gave me years ago I have started to make the tote bags for wheelchairs and walkers. I have about six completed so far. My favourite is one made in yellows with an oriental design in it, would have made gorgeous pillows. I also did a lot of paisley and light colours and now have about another dozen to put straps on and send along.

These are very basic and very simple to do. I do not like Velcro and I do not like ties as these can cause a hindrance to the operator of the chair or the walker so I measure about eighteen inches for each tie and put two on them so that they are secure.

Here is my basic plan according to the size of the fabric I cut my fabrics so that there are no raw edges and the writing on the cardboard that is sealed to the sample fabric is removed, this usually leaves me about a 15 to 16 inch square to work with. I do not worry about both sides being the same as they can be used either or and gives each a reversible effect. I do try and match colour families for male/female, and as the nursing home where I am donating them has children I plan to use some cute children's cuts of fabrics and make some totes for them.

I will add some pics when I have finished the next set. I wanted to get these out to the residence so that they could tell me if these, are, in fact, of any value to these folks. I have designed them so that when they are removed they fold in half and can hang on a bed or a door handle. I have watched them try to navigate with books in their hands, knitting needles etc. and from my own personal experience know that a tote bag is a great solution to a lot of how we feel about getting from point "a" to point "b".

Materials:- 2 pieces of fabric , I chose curtain sample fabric's. cut according to size. I mine now, they are 15inches x 17 inches.

- serge or sew around three sides. I Serge so that makes it easier so that the threads to not strip, and if you don't serge, I suggest sewing with right sides together, trimming back the seam and then french seaming from the wrong side. In other words. Press the seam flat and encase in another seam. It is very professional looking and sturdy.

- I then take and measure in about an 1.5 inch from the top of the bottom corner and sew a triangle across. I do not cut this but lock it in place with a few stitches. Do to the opposite side, this is not necessary but it does give the bag a boxed corner and bottom look.

- I then measure in about 2.5 inches from each side and pin either a handmade strap or strong webbing in place. I stitch this on one side, then flip and stitch on opposite sides. I then turn the top edge down, stitch close to the bottom, then top stitch.............voila' a beautiful little tote bag.

- I plan on doing some smaller ones for those who just carry a book around with them as it is easier to hold onto a few strips of fabric than it is to carry a book and balance a walker.

- I will share some pics tomorrow.

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