Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Bagging it

Tonight was the February meeting of a volunteer sewing group at one of our local hospitals. A group of us have gotten together monthly since last September. We plug in our sewing machines around a conference table and have ourselves some fun for a couple of hours.

When we started this group, we agreed we'd work very closely with the hospital's volunteer director to make sure we were only making things that the hospital really needed. They are usually pretty well-stocked with volunteer-donated baby blankets, for example - and they can always use more. But we asked the volunteer director to seek out some needs in other departments, too. The geriatric nurses, in particular, were grateful to be asked! So we worked on one of their simple requests this evening.

We made more than a dozen simple drawstring bags, 18 inches square, that the nurses will use to cover patients' catheter bags. Nothing sweet like a baby blanket, and nothing particularly pretty...but I have to admit, if I were in the unfortunate situation of having to have a plastic bag of pee hanging on a pole next to me, I'd want something to cover it up, too!

We used cotton fabric we had on hand, including a few pastel bed sheets that someone had donated to the volunteer office. Just cut a strip about 18 1/2 inches by 38 inches (approximate)...fold right sides together, stitch 1/4-inch seams up the sides. Press under about a 1/4 inch around the top, then again to form a casing about an inch deep. Stitch the casing, leave a small opening, and run a strip of twill tape or cotton cording through...and you're done.

Only two main things to remember about a hospital project like this.

First: Don't just guess about what they might need. Ask. Get specifics. Make a prototype and get feedback before making more. In our case, 18-inch-square bags seemed awfully large, but the nurses said they worked perfectly for them...and the drawstring tops were easy to cinch closed. So when we made our bigger batch of bags tonight, we were confident they they'd be truly useful.

The other thing to remember? For this project, anyway....avoid yellow fabric. 'Nuff said.

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