Friday, October 24, 2008

What to Do with Old Pants: Special Bags

My boys all have to wear khaki pants as part of their school uniform. Three of my oldest son’s pants had been worn through the knees (or cut with “safety” scissors). Rather than just getting rid of them, I thought I’d alter them in to khaki shorts. No problem… just snip, snip and hem. I hated to just throw out the bottoms of the pants, but I couldn’t justify adding to my “scrap fabric for creative projects when I have the time” pile.

I got the idea to turn the pants legs into a “special bag” for each of them. Kids, especially ones with siblings with whom they must share everything, love to have something “special” made just for them. Here’s how I did it
  1. Turn pant leg inside out.
  2. Sew a Seem down the un-hemmed side
  3. Optional: (to give it more depth) Rotate to the side and sew a line forming a triangle (do the same on the other side.

  4. Flip right-side-out. Cut 2 slits in the existing hem on the inside of the bag
  5. Using a yarn needle, take some scrap yarn and work it all through the hem and out the other slit. This will form your draw string
  6. Tie a knot in the string and voila, you are done!
You could also finish them off by needlepointing their names on the bags – or even just writing them with a fabric marker.

These bags can be used for snack bags or storage. They are a great reusable alternative to Ziploc bags for that kind of thing. But, when we are going somewhere and the kids want to bring toys, I like to tell them “Get your special bag and you can bring whatever can fit in there.” They love to spend time choosing the toys they want to bring with them and gathering them all up. Last time we went hiking and rock climbing as a family, they brought their special bags full of dinosaurs. My 5-yo did not like to have to carry the bag, so he had the idea of getting a stick and hanging the bag on the stick while resting it on his shoulder. Of course, as soon as he had done this, his little brothers wanted in on the action. Before you know it, we had a parade of boys Tom Sawyer-style hiking up the mountain with their sacks. We got a lot of adoring looks on that hike!

  • Keep Puzzle Pieces Together - Those cardboard boxes don't last long in my house. Using these little bags lets you throw multiple bags of puzzles into a drawer or a basket without getting all the pieces mixed up. Plus, it looks nice.
  • Lunch Sack - this is a great reusable little lunch bag for bringing on hikes or to the park or even to school.
  • Toy Sack - Let your little ones stuff as many toys as they can into the bag to bring with them to a friend's house or their brother's soccer game or rock climbing!
  • Travel Organizer - When packing for a big trip (or even a little one), these little drawstring bags are great for putting like things together. For our annual trip to the beach this year, I packed up one bag with all the spices we would need (so I could save $$ on shopping while I was there). I put all the kids toiletries in another one.
  • Gift Bag - Rather than buying a gift bag at the store, these make excellent gift bags for smaller items. And it is something that the new owner can reuse or re-purpose.
  • There are infinite uses. Do you have some other ideas?

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