Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An All Day Walker Bag Project

I spent the entire day making a walker bag. Actually, most of the time was spent thinking it out. It took ages to decide which fabric to start with.

Before I go on about the fabric, maybe I should explain WHY I'm making a walker bag. My mother-in-law was confined to a wheelchair & walker for years. I learned from her the importance of functional items to help you keep things you need nearby. That lesson really sunk in a couple of years ago when I broke my ankle. I used wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches for what seemed like ages, but was actually only about 6 weeks. They were 6 really looooooong weeks. It gave me a chance to think long and hard about what I wished I had to make life easier. One of the things I wished for was a good walker bag.

My mother-in-law used a walker bag for years that her sister-in-law had made for her. It became pretty worn so one year for Christmas I made her 3 fabulous walker bags including one just for Christmas. That was one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever given. It was a joy to make, to give, and to see used.

I like being creative and I'd love to make a little extra cash being creative. I also prefer to make things that are useful. One of the first things that came to mind was walker bags. So that's my explanation.

Note: It just occurred to me that I don't think I've blogged about my new state of temporary unemployment. I had been earning a little extra money working for an accounting firm. I knew that this was the slow season and was expecting to cut back my hours. However, they are really struggling right now (lots of slow paying clients who've hit on hard times) so they cut me back to nothing until mid January. I'm OK with that except I wish they'd given me more than a week's notice. That hurt - emotionally and financially. The bottom line is that I am a retired teacher. I do have a retirement check. The extra income from the part time job was helping us as we wait for our other house to sell. (We are not 2 home people. We just had the bad luck to build and move at the worst time in history!) We are a bit uncomfortable right now, but not in dire straits like so many. For that I am very thankful.

Back to the fabric. I like the idea of repurposing fabric rather than buying new. I am an eco friendly kind of gal. At a recent to trip to Goodwill, I found a valance panel for about 3 bucks. The fabric was thick and in great shape. Plus, it had a coordinating stripe on the back. There was enough fabric in it to make 2 walker bags - it was a large valance. I decided to start my new career with it.

Next, I needed to decide on a design. I had wanted to make bags just like the ones I had made for my mother-in-law. However, when I pulled out one of her bags I had kept after she passed away, I saw that they worked perfectly on her style of walker but not on all walkers. This meant that I needed to spend more time thinking about a design. Then more time working out a pattern.

The bottom line is that it took way too long to make this walker bag. The fun part came when I started laying out the pieces and playing with vintage buttons to use.

The final product is definitely a beta version. I'm not satisfied.

I would have added two more vintage buttons at the straps, but since I'm not satisfied with the design, I decided not to waste them.

The bag is actually not bad and I'll probably give this one away to someone who will hopefully find it useful and pretty. It had pockets on the front and the back and a large section inside that is perfect for magazines and larger items. It stays on the walker just fine. Still, I think I can improve on the function and the aesthetics as well.

At the end of the day, I was questioning whether or not this was worth pursuing. Once I have the design and pattern down pat, I will be able to make them much faster. I don't want to make them so fast that I lose the joy of of making them. And I don't want to make a zillion of them. My husband asked could I make ten a day and I nearly smacked him.

But, in the end I am wondering how much money I could possibly make from each bag and would it be worth it. Hmmmm. I just don't know.


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