I have found that children of all ages have a very positive reaction to Bags Revolt! Could it be that this new generation has grown with a new paradigm about the importance of the environment? Undoubtedly in a world where information is very accessible and universal kids are growing up relating to Earth in a new way. They are conscious of the environmental impact human have on the planet. There is Earth day, Ocean day, Clean Up your country day, ride to school day, etc. Kids are taught the importance of recycling, saving energy, water and other resources. I think that is why they relate so well to this project! When children learn how to be friendly to the environment, live in harmony with it and how to solve the current problems with a creative approach, the whole world benefits for future generations to come. Their genuine interest has propelled me forward into a teaching experiment that I want to share with you and that I am enjoying very much!
How it all Started
Three weeks ago it was Bronte’s birthday, one of the two preteen girls I take care of in the afternoons. As a present to her I gave her a small pink and black purse where she could keep the money she was saving up for a new ipad. Her reaction was obvious: she loved it! She then asked me again, like many times before, if I could teach her how to weave the bags and make them into handbags. It had been hard in the past to teach her because the two frames I own were constantly in use by me, but now that I have a loom, they were just sitting around. So I decided to have a go at teaching the girls.
The first step was to choose what color combination they would use. The two girls did this based on the bags they had available in their houses. As extra motivation I gave them each a hot Fuscia bag. Since I know most girl like their pink! Hali used white, light and dark blue, with a thicker line of fuscia. Bronte choose green and blue and one pink line in the middle of her design.
Preparing to Weave
Getting the most out of each bag is very important to me! So I showed the girls the technique I use. You start by taking off the handles and bottom that will be used later for something else. Then you cut in a circular motion making one long strip out of the bag. This can be a tedious job but it the way to waste the least material. The girls found it was a bit hard maintaining a straight consistent line and kept asking me to do it for them. After more than two years of cutting bags I have gotten to be pretty quick and efficient! Here I also realized how important it is to have a good pair of scissors, it will really make your life so much easier. We did not and it was a bit frustrating!
Down to Business Weaving
To weave is to construct by interlacing strips or strands of material, in this case plastic bags. This part of the process, which could seem like the most daunting is actually pretty simple and repetitive once you know how to do it. I taught the girls how to set up the frame, which is the hard part. From then on its a very simple process of weaving in the different strips of colors. To me it feel likes a form of meditations in motion, It really relaxes me and I love the process of watching how line by line the design starts to unfold! The girls quickly learned and I think enjoyed it very much! As you can see in their faces!
Sewing together the handbag
The way to do this is to take the cloth with care out of the frame or loom, then iron on interfacing and sew around the edges to protect it from unravelling. Then you are ready to cut out your pattern pieces. First draw pattern on cloth and sew around the stitching lines so that when you cut the weave doesn’t unravel.
It is important to consider the right needle and thread. The needle has to be very heavy preferably for leather or jeans. I also like to use recyclable cloths for my lining because I feel then that the whole bag is a proper act of Upcycling!
Modeling our Up-Cycled Handbags made with Plastic Bags!
I found that having the girls sew their own purses was a bit nerve recking mainly because they had never sewn before, and I had never taught sewing myself. We didn’t have a lot of time either and while I was sewing with one of the girls the other 3 kids I watch were unattended and a bit wild. They still had a go at it! But in the future if I had to teach this again I would make sure that we had plenty of time to work peacefully and not in a rush, and definitely make an effort to minimize all the distractions.
I have learned through this experiment that I really enjoy teaching this technique especially to young enthusiastic students like lovely Bronte and Hali! I love to see how the girls enjoy and appreciate what they have made with their hands, how they proudly show their parents the effort and how they even tell their other friends at school about it! There expressions are genuine and heart felt and that is so rewarding. It is too early to tell what effect this experience will have on their future, but the basis of learning is to have fun while you are doing it and to have an emotional connection to the process. I think we have achieve booth! I think they will always remember the crazy Nanny who made handbags with plastic bags!
The boys are also looking forward to making their own bags, but I will use with them an easier technique, fusing the bags and I will write about it when we have done it. I think Luc agrees with me that he beloved Stitch loves Bags Revolt!
So I’m thinking of doing a pet Line what do you think? Doesn´t this bag go really well with Stich’s blue eyes ?