ProCRAFTination: Car Trash Bag Cover

ProCRAFTination. My new word for something I’m very good at (Yeah, I know, I’m not the first to use it). Have something that needs doing? FANTASTIC! This is the PERFECT time to go make that thing you’ve been thinking about on and off for the past two years. Homework? Let’s figure out how to mend those toys your daughter’s been waiting to come back from Momma’s workshop for months. Housework? Well, organizing (or designing a whole new and relatively unnecessary organizational system) those boxes of accumulated stuff is housework, isn’t it? Procraftination, the art of being fabulously creative in productive ways when there are much higher priorities that require your attention.

So what did I achieve today? Finishing the kitchen clean-up, which only includes the dishwasher, microwave, and garbage disposal, so the refrigerator will no longer smell like vinegar from that ice you made to clean the disposal? Nope. Substantial progress on that assignment that’s due Sunday night? Nuhuh. I made a trash bag cover for my car. Pretty cool, right?

So here’s the thing: I hate the trash that is always building up in my car, but I also hate the way a plastic bag looks sitting in my floor board. Now, I’ve seen the clever method of putting a bag in one of those plastic cereal containers, but let’s be real: that’s just gonna rattle around the floor and never be sitting upright when I reach for it. And I’ve seen those cute hand made, quilted, whatever else lovely little bags that hang off the back of the front seat. Two problems with these: they’re so small, and how do you dump them? Ok, I’ve never looked closely enough at those designs to see whether there’s a way to situate a liner inside them, but they’re so small anyway it doesn’t really matter. Of course there are a store bought variety, but that just seemed wasteful when there are so many other ways to spend my money.

Procraftination light bulb moment: embroidery hoops would be a great way to secure a plastic bag inside a cute bag, and I have cheap little embroidery hoops in my closet! And a lot of salvage fabric I’m also saying I’ll use for something…So, while I’m organizing my closet Monday night (actually on my to do list, so there!) I peek at my scrap/salvage fabric bin and there is sitting this fantastic umbrella fabric that I took off a broken frame because it was cute and so short lived I couldn’t bear to part with it just yet, somewhere around…oh, well before my eight year old daughter was born. FINALLY! Something to use that umbrella for!

So I grab one of those embroidery hoops, donated(disposed of) to me by my grandmother, and I start pulling the edge of the umbrella up between the two rings just see what the bag would look like. Well, it fit, but it was gathered so thickly that sewing it over the outer ring would be a nightmare, not to mention make the diameter significantly smaller as well as no longer smooth which would make securing the inner ring much more difficult than necessary. So how can I make this work? I know, we’ll pull out that too neglected glue gun and glue the umbrella to the outside of the inner ring, thereby officially dedicating this project to my grandmother’s memory and making completion much more attainable. (My sewing machine is a built-in and I tend to have the desk top concealing it covered in a pile of stuff, so using it for anything is a chore in and of itself.)

The glue gun would take a while to heat up, though, and it’s getting late, so that’s a good enough stopping point for the night. Tuesday, though, is a different matter. I have plenty of time to pull out that glue gun, and putting this thing together won’t take that long, really, and I’ve been thinking about it on and off since I made the mistake of actually holding something in my hands…So kitchen, you’re going to have to wait.

Fortunately, in during the day, I’ve come to realize one flaw in my plan. It started by trying to figure out how I was going to glue the umbrella to the outside of the outer ring while it is being held in place by the inner ring…This was easily solved, used two hoops: just pull the fabric through a little further and glue it to the outside of a second hoop. The end result will be the same. Great. Ok, so then I’m envisioning the finished product and trying to figure out the best way to secure the plastic bag between the two rings when it occurs to me: I haven’t accounted for the difficulty of removing the full trash bag through the relatively small opening of the embroidery hoop. Good thing I hadn’t glued anything yet.

So, when I should be emptying the dishwasher so I can clean the actual machine out, or, you know, doing my homework, I sit down at my desk and start fiddling with my trash bag cover. I remove the velcro-strap and pull the whole thing further through the hoop.

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Then I pick a likely looking seem and rip it open until the hoop gets in the way. Taking the outer ring from a second hoop, I position the opening I made in the fabric around the opening of the ring and use my glue gun to start gluing the umbrella in place, making sure to glue the gathers down, or at least to each other, as I go so it’s all nice and secure.

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About a third of the way around I realize that I’m trying to fit an outer ring directly over an inner ring and it simply isn’t going to fit, so I pull the fabric through just a little bit more. I highly recommend taking this allowance into consideration before you pick up the glue gun, should you ever try this out yourself. Thus, with plenty of room, I finish gluing the fabric in place.

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Once that’s done, I remove the first hoop, both parts, and return to the seem I had opened a bit before gluing. Not really sure how much room would be needed, and not wanting to go get a plastic bag and fill it with something just to make sure, I go ahead and rip it open most of the way down, leaving only about a half-inch before where the panels come together in what was once the center of the umbrella. I had intended to add snaps along the opening, but it hangs together nicely enough that I didn’t bother. That I can always go back and add if I change my mind later.

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With it all assembled, I went and got a plastic bag to test it out. Seems to fit rather nicely, I think.

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Satisfied, I found the best ribbon I had for the job. I would have preferred all black, but the polka dots don’t hurt anything. And I glued the ribbon to outer ring, as well as a bit of fabric both above and below it, just to make sure it was good and secure, on opposite sides, placing the opening about halfway between the ribbon attachments.

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All that was left was to put it in the car. I tried it over the seat back first. The ribbon isn’t exactly adjustable, but ribbon you can always gather and tie into place. I’ve never really liked the bulky way bags hang on the seat, and honestly my construction just looks bulkier there than most.

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So I tried my preferred idea, behind the center console. (I only placed it on the seat back at all because that seems to be the traditional place for trash bags.) Granted, if the car has three people in the back seat, it will have to be moved, but if there are three people in the back seat, it would be in the way on a seat back as well. And don’t worry, that cup holder is broken, so the trash isn’t blocking anything useful.

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All in all, I’m very pleased with my productive waste of time today. And Ma’am, your crafter’s haven of a home will be sorely missed. Thank you for the hours of unstructured and mostly unsupervised crafting, the endless and unremarked upon supplies, and free reign with a hot-glue gun at an impressionable age. I doubt I’d be as good at problem solving if I hadn’t had that time of free association and creative exploring. You only ever had good things to say about the abominations I created, and you never complained about waste. You simply encouraged and loved and laughed. You fostered the ingenuity, you supplied the embroidery hoop, and, honestly, probably the hot glue gun as well, it is, after all, in a Christmas Oreo tin. Maybe not the most noble of monuments or inspiring dedications, but I dedicate this blog and that trash bag cover to you.

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