Too many choices can be overwhelming for my kids. When they see a bag full of packed clothes, that can look like an invitation to rustle on through and make a big ol’ mess, looking for the perfect combo.
We usually pack pretty minimally on trips so I really think out which outfits make sense on which days.When my daughter was young, I started putting her packed clothes in zip-top plastic bags and marking the day of the week on each one to avoid confusion.
The system worked so well that I found I wanted a more permanent solution. So I created a handy little bag that works great, and looks cute too.
Read on for the photo tutorial.
Mesh Clothing Bags
I call these our “mesh clothing bags” but they are actually made out of netting– leftover from when my mom made my wedding dress. This was what she used underneath my dress to give it some shape. They could easily be made out of mesh, tulle, or PEVA plastic (i.e. cheap IKEA shower curtain) even. Cotton fabric would work, too, but having the bags be see-through is a bonus.
Don’t feel like you have make these all at once. I’ve been gradually creating more of them each time we travel. We now have enough of these bags for each kid for a long weekend trip, although since technically Gigi is the only one dressing herself, I recently packed them all for her on our longer trip.
Ideally, I will someday have seven bags for each kid– one for each day of the week.
This is what I would call an beginning-intermediate sewing project. You should have some experience using different stitches and materials, ironing and attaching velcro.
No kids? These bags would also be great for corralling undergarments, socks, shoes (maybe enlarge them a bit), bathing suits, accessories, etc.
cotton fabric scraps, 2 pieces: 11″ x 5″ each
mesh, or other material of choice, 2 pieces: 11″ x 11″ each
velcro/hook & loop fasteners, approx. 4″ long
iron, sewing machine, scissors/rotary cutter & mat, pins, tape measure
1. Cut out mesh and fabric. I recommend using a rotary cutter, mat and ruler for easy straight lines and precise measurements. Scissors will work though, too.
2. Pin the mesh to the cotton fabric, lining up the long side of the fabric with one side of the mesh. I recommend pinning the mesh on top so that when you sew it won’t get caught in your sewing gears. Repeat this with the other piece of mesh and fabric.
3. Sew the pieces together, about a quarter to a half inch from the edge. Repeat with other pinned pieces.
4. Iron the seam so that the edge is ironed towards the cotton, not the mesh. (My photo has an extra seam because I was piecing together smaller pieces of cotton. Yours probably won’t have that seam.)
5. Next it’s time to affix the velcro. I realized I didn’t really photograph this step so I drew you this sweet diagram with the Skitch app on my iPad. My dashed line at top is where I ironed my fabric. you’ll basically be folding it in half, but leave about a half inch extra on the top half.
Center your velcro strip on the right side of the cotton fabric between the bottom seam and the upper fold and sew around the edges of the velcro. Repeat this with the other piece of velcro on the other piece of fabric.
6. Fold over the cotton fabric and turn the edge under a half inch so that it lines up with the other side. Pin in place. Sew close to the edge (about a 1/4″), and repeat wit the other piece of mesh/fabric.
7. The (somewhat-blurry) photo above shoes what your two pieces should like like now.
8. Zig-zag stitch the two mesh/fabric pieces together, all the way around on three sides, leaving the fabric side open. (The zig-zag seems to catch the mesh/netting better than a straight stitch.)
Turn bag inside out and…
Voilà! Your packing, made simple!
How do you keep clothes/outfits organized while packing? Do you think this might help you or your kids? If I can relieve a little of the packing stress of traveling with this idea, then my job is complete!