Yesterday was our charity sewing day in support of Shared Threads.
Shared Threads is a Belfast based charity that makes cloth sanitary pads & hygiene packs, and in doing so seeks to “remove some of the limitations that menstruation puts on so many women and girls across the world, replacing it with dignity and the freedom to get an education and live their lives.
We also believe in making a positive impact on our environment by using secondhand cotton and towels. We love that we can gather makers together around a creative project with the common purpose of helping women.”
These ladies willingly gave up their time and talent to learn how to make reusable sanitary pads, holders and drawstring bags for Shared Threads.
And what a productive day it was! Just look at all this …
Almost all of the materials used are repurposed or donated. Cotton fabrics make the pad holders and drawstring bags. Brushed Cotton and old towels make the pads. The only item to be purchased is a waterproof layer called P.U.L. (Polyurethane Laminate) which is sewn into the pads.
P.U.L. was originally designed for use in the medical industry to withstand repeated washing as well as a high heat steam sterilising clean system. It is durable, it doesn’t crease, doesn’t fray and doesn’t stain easily and has the wonderful properties of being both waterproof as well as breathable which means it will keep moisture from passing through and yet heat is able to escape.
P.U.L. is now widely available online.
Our sanitary haul and donated fabric and towels have already been handed over to Shared Threads with grateful thanks.
If you would like to make the pads, holders or bags you can find the templates and tutorials here.
A big thank you to the ladies who made it to the workshop yesterday and your eagerness to continue making for Shared Threads.
Once again the studio was filled with generous ladies donating their time, talent and fabric to make syringe driver bags for Macmillan Cancer Care and N.I. Children’s Hospice.
It was lovely meeting old friends and new, and at least one bag was completed by all!
I’d like to thank everyone who has beavered away making bags for our 2nd appeal, the total of which is now over 350 (and they’re still coming!).
For many of the contributors to our Syringe Driver Bags appeal, it is a very personal and heartfelt gesture of giving back. These bags will be winging their way to palliative care units and hopefully bringing a little cheer to an otherwise dark corner.
A few months ago I had the privilege of meeting an Instagram friend, Kirsty from Song of a Nest.
We first made contact via Instagram, but it turned out we only live up the road from each other!!
Kirsty is multi-talented (just check out her beautiful website), but more than that, she is a passionate and compassionate individual. Kirsty’s heart for school girls in India is infectious, and this is why Shared Threads was created.
“I have started a project called ‘Shared threads’ which makes sanitary kits for girls in India so that they can go to school.
The heart behind the project is to remove the limitations that menstruation puts on women and girls, playing a part in enabling them to live their lives to it’s full potential
So many women and girls around the world have to resort to using leaves or rags or old newspapers to manage their period due to lack of sanitary products. Our pack provides them with a free, washable, sustainable solution to manage their period with dignity, whilst also being kinder to the environment.
Girls all over the world drop out of school due to lack of feminine hygiene products. Our pack enables them to continue with their education all year round.
Our packs and pads are made with recycled fabric.”
(You can read more here about the specific project in India we will be supporting.)
Each girl will receive a drawstring bag (tune in tomorrow for the tutorial) which will contain 2 pad holders and 6 pads.
Everything is made from donated and recycled textiles, except for the PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), a waterproof, breathable and washable liner in the pads.
And here’s how you can get involved:
Come: join in with our get-togethers – even if you can’t sew, there are lots of other jobs we need done (e.g. cutting out, threading the drawstrings, making up the packs etc.). We hope to next meet in July.
Donate: we need towels and brushed cotton/flannel for the pads and cotton fabrics for the holders and bags. We also need shoe-laces and ribbons for the drawstring bags.
Make: tomorrow I will post the tutorial for the drawstring bags, and soon Kirsty will be posting the instructions for the pad holders. Even if you can’t get along to the meet-ups, we would love it if you could make the items at home or why not arrange your own Shared Threads sew-in with friends?
So here’s what to do next:
Hop on over to the Shared Threads page and sign up for the regular updates and info from Kirsty. This will keep you up-to-date with meet-ups, fund-raisers and progress reports.
Summer seems to have left us here! But I have some good news! My sewing room is finished and I’m fully operational once more!
And what better project to christen my new creative space than sewing for a good cause.
These are Syringe Driver Bags, used by patients to keep essential medication on their person as they move around. Earlier this year we received a request from Marie Curie Cancer Care to make Syringe Driver Bags for their unit in Belfast. The response from the sewing community was incredible, and we donated enough bags for the hospice and a local hospital cancer unit.
Well I’m putting out a call to all generous and creative sewers, to make more Syringe Driver Bags, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support unit in Antrim hospital.
I have been approached to make these bags, for current and future patients in the unit, and any bags donated over and above what is needed will be shared around the other cancer units too.
The bags required this time around are for adult males and females, in bright, cheery fabrics, and come in 2 sizes. The small bag takes a single syringe driver and the large bag takes 2 drivers. Both sizes have a velcro flap, and while the dimensions vary, the construction method is the same for each.
I do hope I can count on your generous spirit to support brave patients in this small way.
Here is the tutorial:
Measurements listed are width x height
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
Use reverse stitch to start and finish each seam
1 Fat Quarter of cotton (approx 18″ x 22″) will make the exterior for either the single driver bag OR the double driver bag
1 Fat Quarter of cotton (approx 18″ x 22″) will make the lining for either the single driver bag OR the double driver bag
1 Long Quarter of cotton (approx 9.5″ x 42″-44″) will make the handles
** Please do not use stick-on velcro
Make the Handle: Iron under 1/4″ along each long edge.
2. Now bring both long (folded) edges together and press. Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge down both long sides, starting with the open side. No need to top stitch the short ends. Put the handle to one side.
3. Make the Flap: Place the outer and lining flaps right sides together. Sew around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.
4. Carefully snip the corners at an angle (to reduce bulk) before turning right side out. Push the corners well out and press.
5. Sew the soft side of the velcro to the lining side of the flap, 1/4″ away from the closed end of the flap. Put to one side.
6. Make the main bag: Attach the remaining piece of velcro to the front bag piece. The top of the velcro should be 1.5″ down from the top edge (or 2″ for the large bag).
7. Join the front and back pieces and the sides, right sides together (as shown) stopping 1/4″ short at the bottom of each seam.
8. Join the remaining edges together to create a box (remember to stop 1/4″ short at the bottom).
9. Insert the base: Pin the base to the bottom of the outer bag, right sides together.
10. Sew the base in place, stopping 1/4″ short at each corner to pivot & turn (leave the needle down in the fabric and lift up the presser foot). As you pivot the corners, flip the underside of the bag away from you (see below).
11. Turn the bag right side out. Push the corners out and press the seams into a nice box shape.
12. Machine tack the flap onto the back of the bag, right sides together.
13. Machine tack the handle onto the sides of the bag (take care not to get a twist in your handle). Put to one side.
14. Make the lining: Repeat steps 7-10 for the lining, leaving a 2″ gap in a long side seam. Do not turn right side out.
15. Insert the outer bag into the lining, tucking the flap and handle inside between the layers. Align & pin the side seams and top edge.
16. Sew around the top edge (you may find it easier to remove the accessories tray on your machine here).
17. Pull the outer bag through the gap in the lining, and hand or machine stitch the gap closed.
18. Press the bag before pushing the lining into the outer bag. Sew around the top edge again, making sure to keep the flap and handle well out of the way.
And you’re done!
It would be wonderful if you could help me with this small measure of kindness. The 2 bags I’ve made have already brought smiles to the faces of the 2 recipients!
I will be the collection point for any donated bags, so please get in touch with me directly and I’ll give you my address (email@example.com)
Thanking you all in advance of your support and generosity.