My older son visited from Dallas last weekend. In a Monday evening text, he asked if I’d like to have lunch with him on Tuesday. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I realized I needed a quick gift to send back to Dallas with him.
I’ve made a number of Nancy Ota’s Zip It bags over the past few years. My grandchildren’s teachers received bags for Christmas last year. I frequently give them as gifts to friends who will be traveling.
My favorite use is for all the adapters one needs in this age of technology. No more digging through every pocket in my bag‐they’re all in one place. On our recent trip to Italy, I packed all my jewelry in one of the bags. I made one in the “Project” size to give to my girlfriend who is an event planner for organizations like a university fine arts department and a public radio station. She can keep all her information for an event in one place.
Nancy Ota designed these bags using Phifer PetScreen, a vinyl-coated polyester mesh that was created to avoid pet-claw snags on screen doors. You can buy it in black in rolls of 10′ or so in the screen department of your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. Or several stores sell it in brilliant colors for more variety in your bags.
I always use high-quality quilting cottons, as they will wear better over time than the cheaper and lighter-weight fabrics you might find in your local everything-but-the-kitchen-sink (JA’s) store. I find excellent themed fabrics at eQuilter.com. I frequently gear it toward an interest of the giftee. My son is a network administrator—his bag featured animals sitting at computer screens. My girlfriend, the event planner, received at bag with an opera print. eQuilter has an excellent search function. And when I find a fabric I like, they also have a “Related Products” button that presents the other prints in the line.
The band of fabric, topstitched to the screen fabric, normally goes on the front, under the zipper. But for my son’s bag, I wanted to display more of the fabric print, so placed it on the back. And I like to edge the fabric panel with a quarter-inch binding of a complementary fabric. (When I couldn’t decide which hand-dyed fabric looked the best, I texted a photo to my friend, the graphic designer, for her input.)
Don’t forget to attach a charm or bead or narrow bit of fabric or embroidery floss to the zipper pull for a little bit more personalization.
The bag makes up (depending upon how organized you are) in about two hours or less. It’s the perfect spur-of-the-moment gift!