Saturday, April 21, 2012
Reusable Vacuum Bag
The bags are a bit small, so they need changing frequently. Because I cannot stand seeing my money go into the trash, I began emptying them out and reusing them. There is no good way to do this. It involved pulling, digging and birthing all kinds of nasty dust and debris through a tiny orifice to be tossed. I'm neurotic, I know.
My kids saw me doing this enough times that they decided they had to do this as well, with the results that they often ripped the bag and ruined it when it was only a quarter of the way full. Imagine me irritated.
Solution! Yeah baby! A reusable bag made of cloth with a zipper in place!
Scrap fabric, cut into 9 pieces. Measure your vacuum bag to make sure you're getting your dimensions right. Basically, you're making a rectangular box with six sides, but since one side has a zipper it will need two strips.You will also two flaps that will go onto the sides of the zipper.
Cardboard brace from an old vacuum bag.
Piece of flat rubber.
Drill, small drill bit, tapestry needle and yarn.
Take the two thinner strips to be used for your zipper side of the "box" and fold over the edges of on side about half of an inch. You want to press that with an iron, or just rub it really hard with your fingers to make it stay. Pin each folded side to your zipper and sew it.
I know it's hard to tell in this picture, but here I sewed two flaps (of sorts) over the gaps on each side of the zipper. I just took two small pieces of fabric, folded and pressed the sides under, laid them each over the gaps, and top stitched then down all the way around. I then trimmed the excess from the outer edges.
I took another long rectangular piece and cut a hole in the middle, where it would line up with my hose inside my vacuum. It's actually a bit offset, I just followed my old bag as a guide. The hole doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need to be top stitched down to keep it from tearing.
Here I sewed all four of my long sides together, I chose to place the zipper on the side next to the hole, that way I can get to it and open it without taking it out of the vacuum if I have to. If, for instance, I vacuum up an army man and need to retrieve him hastily.
Next, I sewed on my two sides, making sure my zipper was open for turning it right side out.
I don't even remember where this piece of rubber came from, but I knew I needed to have something that would stand up for a great long while and not that flimsy bit of latex(?) from the disposable. I cut it to fit, and removed the old gasket.
I used my drill and drill bit to place holes all the way around the cardboard hole, making sure to keep them inside the borders of my rubber pieces. You may see that I had traced around my rubber square to see that I was placing my holes where they needed to be.
Afterward, I sandwiched my rubber between the cardboard and the cloth bag, lining everything up, and used my tapestry needle and sturdy yarn to sew it on. It's not the prettiest thing, but it's not like anyone will see it.
Insert bag and go! I have used the bag several times now, and it works just like I pictured. The hose fits right over the gasket and gives an air tight seal, the bag unzips to empty it whenever I like. It does get sort of dusty, but you totally would expect that. Oh! And as long as I have this vacuum, I need never buy another bag.