Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wheelchair bags

This weekend has not turned out as planned. Instead I have been fighting a huge sinus infection and have had little motivation to get off the couch unless its to get rid of all the fluids I have been pushing. One thing I have done, a bit at a time, is that I have figured out how to make wheelchair bags, just in time for our Bee meeting tomorrow night. We will be donating them to the local VA hospital when the Quilt Guild donates wheelchair quilts to it this fall.

Wheelchair bags hang from the handles of a standard wheelchair so that medical staff have a place to put medical charts and patients have a place to stash small tiems like books, magazines and such. I tried a lot of configurations and here is a picture of all the samples I tried out:
Most of them were from stash mid-weight upholstery fabrics while the lime green one is out of straight quilting cottons. Tomorrow night we will probably be using quilting cottons because we have so many yards of it that have been donated to the Bee.

And here are the instructions I think will work the best:

Wheelchair Bags

Finished Size: 18” wide by 15” deep


Using Quilting Cottons:
4 pieces approximately 19” x 16” – for the body – 2 for the exterior, 2 for the interior
2 pieces approximately 13” by 5” – for the straps
2 pieces approximately 8” by 19” – for lined exterior pocket – optional

Trim (optional) – 2 pieces about 19” long

Sewing – ½” seam allowances

Pocket – Place the pocket pieces right sides together, sew along the top edge, turn right sides out and press. Add trim, if wanted, to the top, sewn edge of the pocket.

Place pocket on the bottom edge of one of the exterior fabrics. Raw edges matching, sub-divide the pocket into two or more pockets by sewing through the pocket and the exterior from the top of the pocket to the bottom, raw, edge.

Make a stack of fabric for sewing the bottom of the bag as follows:

Exterior fabric face up
Exterior fabric with pocket face down
Interior fabric face up
Interior fabric face down

Sew along the bottom edges making sure to catch all pieces and the pocket bottom edge.

Separate the exterior from the interior so that you have one long piece with exteriors fabrics, right sides together to one side of the interior fabrics, right sides together.

Sew two long seams from the interior to the exterior making sure to catch the edges of the pocket in the seams.

Fold the interior into the exterior and give it a good press.

Straps – make the straps by folding the long edges to the middle twice, and sewing several times along the length of the strap. Press well in half for a total length of six inches plus seam allowances.

Press the top edges of the bag into between the interior and exterior approximately ½ inch. Slip the straps into the far edges of the bag and pin carefully. Sew the top edge closed near the pressed edge. Sew around the bag two or three times again to make sure everything is secure. Add Trim to the pocket side of the bag if desired.

Give it a good press, add a label and know that you have done a good job making life easier for those confined to a wheelchair. I believe these can also be used as walker bags but I have not tested them for this use.
I certainly got in my practice time this weekend, not quilting, but sewing practice. I hope you and I will also find time to practice this coming week. Have a good one.
Oh, and if you are the incomparable Ms. M., know that you will pay, someday, for this sinus infection ... though how it got from your son, to you, then to me is a little mind boggling. Be prepared!

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