Intravenous infusion units are used by patients to let them self medicate when they need it to alleviate their pain and suffering. The infusion units are heavy and need a sturdy bag to help the patient manage them.
I designed this bag for my terminally ill friend, Thelma. So, I call it the “Thelma Bag”.
I used bright cheery double quilted fabric for Thelma’s bag. I decided to make separating shoulder straps to make it easier to keep the intravenous tubes from getting tangled up with the bag. This turned out to be a great feature very much appreciated by Thelma and her fellow patients.
By putting the infusion unit into the bag and clipping the “feel good button” to the top of the bag, Thelma can easily carry it with her wherever she goes as if it were a shoulder purse. She even has it near her side when she sleeps. Thelma loves her bag. I’m sure other patients like Thelma would love one, too. Even the guys appreciate these bags in a more masculine print or plain fabric, of course.
Supplies for One Bag
• Sewing Machine/Serger (Optional)
• General Sewing Notions and Supplies
• Fusible Thread
Note: Use a sturdy fabric like double sided pre-quilted fabric, upholstery fabric or canvas, but please be careful and not use anything that would be rough or irritating against a patient’s sensitive skin.
I recommend prewashing all fabrics to remove any chemicals to help prevent irritation also.
• Cut 2 pieces 11”wide x 11” long
Note: You may prefer to cut one long piece 11” wide by 22” long and fold in half.
• Cut 2 pieces 3” wide x 18” long for the straps
Velcro: Cut 1 piece of hook and loop tape (Velcro) 6” long
Optional – Binding for Top Edge of Bag: Cut a piece of bias fabric 3” wide x 23” long or use purchased wide bias tape. This will make a 3/4” wide finished binding at the top edge of the bag.
Note: Since there are no curves involved, bias is not really necessary. You may cut fabric on the crosswise grain and use that as well in this case.
Instructions to Sew a Thelma Bag
Use 1/4” seams.
• Lay two bag pieces right sides together and sew and zigzag or serge 2 side seams and bottom of the bag.
• Press seams.
Box the bottom of the bag
Line up the bottom seam with a side seam at a corner of the bag to form a triangle and pin to hold in place.
• Measure 1” in from the extended outside corner of the triangle along the seams and place a pin at this spot. This will be the bottom of the triangle.
• Draw a line across the bottom from one fold of the fabric to the other to complete the triangle. This will be a 2” long line.
• Stitch across the line.
• Repeat for the opposite corner.
• Turn the bag right side out and fold the “triangles” down to the bottom of the bag.
Finish the Top Edge of the Bag
You may bind the top edge of the bag with either bias or crossgrain fabric, purchased bias tape or you may serge the top edge, fold it down 1/2-3/4” and stitch it in place. Any of these will work and add support for the straps.
• Put fusible thread in your bobbin.
• Set your machine for a longer stitch length.
• Lay the right side of the binding to the right side of the bag having the raw edges even.
• Stitch 3/4” from the edge on the binding.
• Remove the fusible thread from the bobbin.
• Fold the binding over the raw edge.
• Press and fuse the binding to hold it in place.
• “Stitch in the ditch” or well stitch for a smooth binding without ripples.
Make the Straps
• Serge or zigzag finish one long edge and both short ends of both straps.
• Fold and press the strap into thirds having the finished side on top.
• Stitch to hold in place.
• Note: Fuse with 1/4” wide Steam-A-Seam 2 Lite to hold in place if the fabric wants to slide or twist
• Topstitch the other side of the strap along the fold
• Repeat for both straps.
Attach Straps to the Bag
• Place and pin a strap on the inside of each side seam of the bag having the strap be about 1” into the bag.
• Stitch a box square with an X inside it to secure the strap to the bag. The units are heavy and the straps must be secured well to hold them.
Attach Velcro to Straps
• Sew the loop (soft) side of the Velcro to the underside of one strap.
• Sew the hook (rough) side of the Velcro to the topside of the other strap.
That’s it. Give your bag to your local Hospice House. I hope you enjoy sewing and giving these bags. Know that they will help to brighten someone’s day and lighten their load in more ways than one.