Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Duffel Bags for Foster Care

Duffel Bags for Foster Care

Children in foster care often come to their new homes with only the clothes on their backs. Those who do have things to bring with them, usually have nothing to carry it in. The case workers have black plastic garbage bags and the children’s items are stuffed into the bags. These darling children already feel pretty bad about themselves and the idea of having to use a garbage bag to carry all of their “worldly” items makes the child feel like “garbage”, too. My goal is to provide many duffel bags to Department of Job and Family Services/Children and Youth Division so that maybe all children in foster care in our county have a special bag all their own! Wouldn’t you like to help your county’s children?

Duffel Bags for Foster Care Instructions

Step 1: Duffel Bags can be made of any scraps of fabric you might have. My general size is two piece of matching fabric, 22″ x 25 to 36″ for the body of the duffel and two pieces of matching or contrasting fabric 6″ x 25″ for the straps. You will also need piece of cord or a matching sewn cord approx. 45 to 50″ for the drawstring. I use whatever size fabric scraps I have and adjust the bag accordingly. I make the bags in size according to the size of the child also.

Step 2:Shown are straps for the bag. Press over 1/4″ the entire way around each strap then , fold in the middle, meeting the edges together. Sew around the folded edges to fasten them together.

Step 3: Matching the sides and bottom of the bag, sew around. You can attach the bottoms of the straps into the bottom seam at this time or you can attach to the bag back before seaming. I use a 1/4″ seam allowance and go around the bag a second time with a wide zigzag stitch to make it more secure.

Step 4: You can add the straps in two ways. They can be attached into the bottom seam (as in picture above) or sewn about 3″ up from the bottom,(as in picture below) and 4″ down from the top. The straps should be placed close together at the bottom of the bag and 6 to 8″ apart at the top to allow for carrying on the back.

Step 5: Fold open the bottom and side seams flat to form a corner. Sew a diagonal seam up about 3″ from the point to form depth to the bottom of the bag. 

Step 6: I sew my straps on by sewing a square around the top of the strap and then make and X across the square. I like to make sure nothing can pull loose. To finish the duffel bag, press under 1/4″ at the top , then fold that over 1″. Sew around the bottom of the fold, leaving a 1″ opening to insert the drawstring. I do this at a seam allowance and go back and forth several times with my stitching to make it strong at the opening. Insert your drawstring and knot the ends together so, it won’t be able to be pulled out. If I have extra fabric or I know the bag is going to a teen (especially to a girl) I add large pockets to the front and the back for carrying hair items, etc. I sew velcro on it for closing.

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