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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Pencil Bags for Operation Christmas Child

Talk about a ‘green’ project!  AND another wonderful way that our sewing machines and our skills can make something useful for those who have next to nothing out of something about to be pitched.  My friend, Loretta just posted this at the Operation Christmas Child – East Central Illinois Facebook Page.

“One of our friends (Maggie Roberts) was in the right place at the right time to save hundreds (800 actually!) of cummerbunds, vests, ties and hankies from going into the trash heap. So tonight our small group took the metal hooks off the cummerbunds and four ladies brought their sewing machines to sew them into purses or pencil cases. Here is the team in action and a sample of our work. In less than 3 hours we had created 174! And we all had dinner and birthday cake within that time!”

What we started with…

Original cummerbund style.

Original cummerbund style.

What we produced – 174 of these Pencil Bags – in 3 hours!

We  cut off the hardware, leaving the elastic straps, folding it in half, stitching up the sides, stitching the elastic together for a shoulder strap – and all to hold pencils, etc. for a Pencil Bag perfect size for the shoebox gifts distributed around the world.  Here is a link about this wonderful mission that “teaches a child the love of God, leads him or her to faith in Jesus Christ, inspire pastors and plant new churches.  What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out is eternal. ”

Pencil Bag from Tuxedo Cumberband

Pencil Bag from Tuxedo Cumberband

I found I could pretty much do 2 at once chain stitching the work together as seen below.  The bulk of the seam that attaches the front of the pleated portion of the cummerbund to the back was very much too bulky to stitch through – so I started 1/2″ below that point, with the cummerbund folded in half as shown.  Then, after backstitching at the folded bottom, I’d continue directly onto the bottom of another one.  See this is in the picture below.  Realizing we had men armed with scissors to do the thread clipping made it all go so much faster!!!


The elastic then needed to be stitched together, and I did that in a similar chain stitching method.

Chainstitching several lapped elastic 'straps' at one time.

Chainstitching several lapped elastic ‘straps’ at one time.

Realizing we had men armed with scissors to do the thread clipping made it all go so much faster!!!

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