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Quick Crafting for Upcoming Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party

Proudly placing her finished shoebox on the stack (from a past packing party we hosted).

Our family planned to spend the afternoon trying to finalize the organization of the kids Operation Christmas Child packing party Sarah is hosting.  We had dresses to roll and tie up with yarn so they didn't take up much room, hygiene kits to make (Sarah shared on YouTube how we made them), bag up small toys, and more.  When Sarah did the final tally of the stock we were short over thirty stuffed animals,
a half dozen toys and twelve boys' "bonus items."

Image courtesy of Chelle's CayBees.

Chelle, from Chelle's CayBees, has been crocheting bears and bunnies for the party so I checked in with her and she has a dozen finished and her mom purchased some stuffed animals to donate.  Together there was enough to cover the need with a few left over to share with the other packing party Sarah is involved with or to send as fillers!

Sarah found some jump ropes with fun handles.

Sarah and her dad ran to Mighty Dollar to see what they had in the line of toys and Elizabeth and I took to sewing tote bags for the boys bonus item need.  We had dedicated the afternoon to sewing them and I knew we couldn't make a dozen of the reversible fat quarter library bags in that time.  I needed to come up with a super quick tote bag.

Sarah had these small tote bags already in the packing party stockpile so I used them as a guide for size.  They had narrow handles and were about 12" square.

I first went thru the fabric stash we inherited and chose heavy fabric that wouldn't need lined to be sturdy.  I then remembered I had some double fold quilt binding about an inch wide that would work fine for handles.  While I cut the tote bags Elizabeth edge stitched the quilt binding--in a continuous piece--to make the handles. She then cut them into 1/2 yard pieces.  In no time at all she had the handles made--much quicker than cutting, sewing, pressing, and edge stitching handles.

She was the sewer and I was manning the ironing, pinning and cutting.  As she sewed around the bags and serged the edges to finish them, I worked on figuring out a quick way to attach the handles and finish the top.  I had some other packages of single fold quilt binding  (much of my supplies came from my late mother-in-law's stash).  We used this to finish the top--right sides together with raw edges meeting and handles between, stitched, turned to inside and top stitched to hold it in place and edge stitched to re-enforce the handles and give it a nice finish.

Quilt binding sewn to outside of bag.

Quilt binding pressed to inside of bag ready to sew.

Top stitching on outside of tote bag along top edge.

I have a lot of the heavier fabric, so I am going to work on perfecting this bag sewn in a more conventional way, without the quilt bindings (as my stock will run out quickly), and I'll share a tutorial when I do.  You'll be able to find it on our Crafting for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes index page.

Twelve tote bags ready for packing.  I took this picture before she finished top stitching.


Susan said...

Thanks for the inspiration. I have lots of quilt binding, but never thought to use it this way.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Great, Susan, so glad to help. I figured no-one else would have some they would want to use this way! Perhaps I should write a tutorial using it--may help more people than I think.

Pam @Threading My Way said...

I don't have quilt binding, but I do have lots of older packets of thin bias binding that I'm working my way through using. Good way to use some of yours.

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