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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Classroom Gear Bags

My good friend, Mrs. Sonia, asked me if I might be able to come up with some of these bags for her classroom.  They don't have lockers or even cubbies under their desks and needed a place for the kids to keep their folders.  I was astounded to find that they are sold at the teaching supply places for over $20 a bag!!!  I don't know where those teachers work, but our public schools don't pay enough for an order of 30 bags at that price!
I grabbed fabric from Walmart for $1.50/yd and gave it a try.  I will admit, there is one spot that is tricky on these bags, but for the most part, they are easy and stress free.  I added the vinyl pocket for a name tag, and....BAmM!  Done!
Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled was I to find that my serger (man, am I in love) proudly stitched like a champ!  This was my sample for a test run.
It worked fine, but it had to stretch a little too far for comfort.  I was told to use canvas for the chair covers and canvas doesn't stretch.  I think it would have worked fine on standard kindergarten chairs, but these ones had very wide backrests.  They were wider than even the 1st and 2nd grade chairs. 
My first sample was 12" wide.  I was glad I did a fitting instead of making batches that did not fit.
This was my second attempt.  It was slightly bigger and fit GREAT!  I made the bags 15" wide and the pocket is 10" deep.  The vinyl pocket for the names is 3 1/2" tall, 10" wide.  I wanted the teachers to be able to simply print their student's names on regular paper and slip them right in.  No fussy cropping.

Now the really tricky part: Pricing!  I always struggle with how to price things.  I am a cheep, penny pinching person.  I can make just about anything I need so I have a hard time with how much a lot of useful things cost.  I struggle with selling crafts I make because you simply cannot make money for the time you spend.  I figure, if I worked at McDonalds or something, I would get paid around $10/hour.  In an attempt to be strong, I have started trying to sell only things that I can charge $10 an hour for... charge $10 AND still sell them for a reasonable price.  That said, I charged $4.00 a bag.  I really think, given the price of the canvas ($7.99/yd full price at Joanns), I should have charged $5, but simply could not imagine paying that much.  I suffered stomach pains charging as much as $4, but the teachers jumped for them at that price.  I guess it is low compared to the others out there.

The bags seemed to be a big hit.  All the kindergarten teachers ordered and half of the first grade.  You can guess what my craft table looks like right now, right?  Miles of Piles.  If it weren't for my pile of dirty dishes in the background I would have taken a picture to show you.  For now, just use your imaginations :0)

Need classroom gear bags?  I will make you some.  I will have them on my Etsy site in the next day or two.  
I recommend duck cloth canvas or heavy denim so they last many years of Kinder-Abuse :0)

2 comments:

  1. Dang! You did an excellent job on those! I shared your link on my fb page too! I hope that's OK!I didn't see a fb button on here but here is my link:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Learning-Is-Childs-Play/47332295950

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  2. Wow this idea is so useful and original!
    Laura from Italy http://chebirba.blogspot.com

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