Temple Bags

Lexi’s temple bag

I served in a Primary Presidency a few years back and we were brainstorming gifts for the children who earned their Faith in God award. The children receive a paper certificate congratulating them on their achievement and a congratulatory handshake from the Bishop during our main worship service, but in the past a token gift was also given.

The cupboard held a stash of tie tacks for the boys. With their new priesthood duties and dress code, tie tacks were perfect and plentiful.

But what about the girls? We thought an inexpensive pendant would be similar enough to the tie tacks, so when our Primary President took a personal trip to Utah she scoured the shops. She couldn’t find anything inexpensive enough for our limited operating budget.

What else could be meaningful and affordable as the girls move on from Primary? It took us a few minutes to realize the milestone that occurs for all baptized, worthy children at age 12: temple worship and baptisms for the dead!

The youth are soaked after performing baptisms and need to bring a change of underclothes. Girls being girls, they tend to need and want additional personal items, like hairbrushes, hair elastics, lotion, and lip gloss. A hand-sewn fabric temple bag is the perfect solution!

Although completing the Faith in God program isn’t required to attend the temple, we offered the temple bags only upon completion of the Faith in God program with the hope that it would create incentive. Since it takes me about 4-6 hours to produce a temple bag, I feel it’s fair to require similar effort from the children, too.

As a quilter, I love the nine patch design of Simplicity 1935, and View B is the perfect size for the needs of youth attending the baptistry. I wanted to style the standard bag with a temple theme, so I found an LDS temple silhouette online that was fairly simple and printed it to size. I appliqued the temple design to the center block of the nine patch flap for the style I wanted and occasionally add a small interior pocket to hold the temple recommend (credit card size), chewing gum, snack size candy bar, or hairbands. Other than those modifications, I follow the directions on the Simplicity 1935 pattern exclusively.

Tips:

  • I consider this an beginning-intermediate sewing project because of the padding and lining steps, my additional temple applique step, and it takes me 4-6 hours to complete.
  • As always, I only buy Simplicity patterns at the $2 (or less) price point. Pattern sales occur at the big craft stores roughly monthly.
  • My initial fabric and notions purchase ran about $30 and I was able to produce at least 6 bags, so that’s $5/bag.
  • I purchase home decor fabric for the main body for durability. I use any other coordinating fabric for the contrast fabric and nine patch.
  • I get more than one bag made out of the amounts listed on the pattern back so many of the girls get the same main body fabric. I customize the contrast fabric and nine patch blocks because easy identification is essential. No exact duplicates!
  • The pattern manufacturer calls for lining with fleece but I’ve used quilt batting in it’s place with great results.
  • I use fusible web (thanks, Wonder Under) for my temple applique and machine stitch a narrow zigzag around the edges after it’s ironed in place for durability.
  • One girl wanted more use from her bag and used it to carry her scriptures to church. It worked great!
Kate’s bag
Liv’s bag
Mer’s bag

I’ve had boys request their own temple bag, too. I think a messenger bag style with a Moroni applique could be a masculine option. Any other ideas?

I bet someone will beat my $5/bag cost, and I want to hear about it! Free fabric is always a score, but since we can’t count on being gifted, how else have you been able to maximize your project spendings?

Send me a picture of your hand-made, temple-themed bag and I’ll post it here!

 

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