Something I Learned in Girl Scouts
Many years ago, when I was a Girl Scout and my mother was one of the Troop leaders, we engaged in a multitude of craft projects that were presumably meant to teach us valuable skills as well as getting us ready to go on camping trips. We made firestarters, buddy burners, and sit-upons and learned how to cook eggs in orange peels (yuck!). Whether these are all useful skills to have now that I’m an adult, I’m not sure, though they might come in handy if there’s a zombie apocalypse and society comes to an end. We’ll see…
At any rate, there is one craft that I remembered doing that I thought might come in handy for Pennsic camping – the milk jug ditty bag. I’m thinking this will be a better way of transporting our shampoo and soap between the tent and the shower instead of having everything rolling around loose in a larger bag.
Step 1 – Start with an empty plastic jug, such as a gallon milk jug, and cut off the top portion. Depending on the jug you use, you can make this taller or shorter. I cut off the top of the milk jug about 4 inches from the bottom, just where it starts to curve. Don’t worry about making it perfectly straight – this cut edge will be hidden in the finished product.
Step 3 – Sew the fabric to the edge of the jug. I remember this being a log harder when I was a kid – maybe milk jugs were made of thicker plastic then, or we were using a less pointy needle, but I just used a good sharp needle and pushed through the plastic. If you’re using a heavier plastic jug, you might want to pre-punch the holes to stitch through. I stitched about half an inch from the cut edge of the plastic and went around twice so the fabric is attached really well. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing the jug at this point, so it will show when you have it finished.
Step 4 – Turn over the top edge of your fabric to hide the raw edge and make a casing for the drawstring. I turned mine once about a quarter inch and then again about half an inch or so. Stitch down, leaving an opening at the seam.
Step 5 – Run a drawstring through the casing. I think in Girl Scouts we just used a long shoelace. For this project, I used about a yard of half inch twill tape I had on hand. Obviously, you want enough length to go all the way through the casing, plus a little extra to grab when you want to pull it shut. This will also be the strap to carry or hang your ditty bag.
Hey presto! It’s a ditty bag! We’ll see how well it works in the next couple of weeks. The plastic seems a little flimsy to me, but it should do all right for a while. I may make another one later out of a more sturdy jug when I can get ahold of one.