Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An “Etcetera” Kit

You know how sometimes you are driving in your car after you go out to eat and you are thinking to yourself, “Man, I wish I had some floss.”  Or there are a million other scenarios where you just really wish you had some small item that would make your life better in particular moments.  I give you the etcetera kit.  I made one for my mom for mother’s day.  This one is to go in the glove box of her car.  However, you could store them in a million places: work or school lockers, a purse, 72 hour kit, in luggage, etc. 

Here’s what the outside looks like: 

This is idea is recycled from an activity that I went to a long, long time ago.  Many years ago we made these but we made them out of square hot pads.  The loop for the hot pad was in the center, so we just sewed a button on the outside and the loop reached around to connect to the button.  We sewed snack size Ziploc bags down the center, sewed a ribbon over the main middle seam on the Ziploc bags just for decoration, and then we filled the individual bags with first aid items.  It was EASY and a super cute idea!  
I wanted to re-create that idea for my Mother’s Day gift; however…it is darn near impossible to find a hot pad with the loop in the top center.  Now days all the loops for the hot pads are in the corner and the hot pads seem to be smaller-that or the snack Ziploc bags are bigger…?
So I decided to create my idea, but I had to do it from scratch!  Making it from scratch gave me creative power to add things like side pockets, pen/marker slots, and the option to stich a personal message.   
Step #1- Thread
I knew I was going to be sewing lots of different colors and through different textures, so to make my life easy, I used clear thread on the entire project!
Step #2- Sewing Snack Size Ziploc Bags
Plastic is not hard to sew through, but it is hard to make sure it doesn’t move around.  So to help out, I first sewed 2 bags together at a time.  Then I had 2 sets of 2, I sewed them together to make a set of 4.  When I had 2 sets of 4, I put their seams together and sewed down the middle of them.  I have a total of 8 bags, 4 on each side. 
Step #3- Cut and Design
With my Ziploc bags sewn together, this gave me an idea of how big I needed to make the cover.  I measured my fabric and cut a top and bottom piece out.  Then, I needed to design and think about what I wanted on the front cover and the inside cover. 
On this project, I knew I wanted to write the message, “Happy Mother’s Day” on the outside cover---so I stitched that onto a different color of fabric, and then sewed it to my outside piece of fabric.  I also knew I needed a button, so I stitched on the button.
On the inside cover, I knew in the front I wanted a slot to hold a pen and a permanent marker, and on the back, I wanted a pocket and elastic to hold a note pad.  I also knew I needed to sew the Ziploc bags to my inside piece of fabric. 
I did everything to the individual pieces of fabric first, before I sewed it all together!   
Step #4- Sew it all TOGETHER!
With the front and the inside put together, it was time to sew it all together.  I used a piece of white flannel for some inside padding, and for my loop I used an orange hair tie. 
Step #5- Hide your seam
Once it is all sewn together you can open your Ziploc bags to the middle and choose to hide your seam.  Usually I would use ribbon, but I was making this away from home and I didn’t have any ribbon with me.  I covered my middle seam with left over white bias tape.  I think it looks fine. 
Step # 6- Fill your bags
Depending on what the purpose of your kit is will help you decide what to put in the bags.  This one is going in the glove box of the car so it has: a pen, permanent marker, safety pins, finger nail clippers, tweezers, band aides, feminine hygiene items, Ibuprofen, Allergy pills, floss, cough drops, and a writing note pad.    
Here are some pictures of the finished product: