Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reusable shopping bags

I’ve been a big fan of reusable bags for years. I always remember to take them in when I go to the grocery store but forget when I’m going to get just a few small items at the drug store, target, joanns and so on. I made some small foldable bags that are the same size as my wallet. I can throw one or two into my bag and be prepared the next time I run errands.
reusable bag tutorial 034
Supplies
  • Reusable bag fabric (I found the zebra and cherries in the utility section of Joanns) or a couple of extra large awkward bags you don’t mind cutting up
  • Velcro
  • 1 inch Bias tape folded and ironed in half
Cut your Fabric into the following pieces:  Main bag – Two 18X15 in rectangles, Pocket – 12X7.5 in rectangle, Straps – two 3X16 inch rectangles
reusable bag tutorial 001 reusable bag tutorial 002Make the straps by folding each long edge in 1/2 an inch and then fold it in half. Iron flat on a low setting through a cheese cloth then sew the edge closed. You can use a decorative stitch if you want. I’ve been playing with my new machine’s stitches.
Take the main bag pieces and fold one of the shorter edges over 1.5 inches twice. Press with the cheese cloth. Pin your straps in place so that the strap is perpendicular to the fold and is 4 inches from the edge as show. Be sure to line up the open ends of the strap with the bottom of the fold on the main bag.
reusable bag tutorial 006
Sew this in place by sewing about a 1/4 inch in from both edges of the fold.reusable bag tutorial 008
reusable bag tutorial 010 reusable bag tutorial 012 To make the pocket which is also the exterior of the bag when folded, start with a 12x7.5 inch rectangle. Mark  4 inches along the longer edge. Fold it in half lengthwise and then cut an arc off the 4 inches. When you open it up you should have a semicircle on the top third of it. Then sew your bias tape around the edges. I did it in 2 pieces, along the short straight side first and then along the curved side. Next pin your Velcro in place. Cut an inch long strip of Velcro and place the fuzzy loop piece on the right side of your pocket piece centered 2 inches from the straight edge. The hook piece is placed on the wrong side of the fabric in the centered at the top of the Arc. Sew both pieces in place.reusable bag tutorial 013 reusable bag tutorial 014  reusable bag tutorial pocketPlace the pocket on one of the main bag pieces so that in is centered with respect to the sides of the bag and the tip of the pocket arc is about a 1/4 inch from the bottom of the bag. Pin in place. Leave the straight edge of the pocket open. Sew down one edge 8 inches (to the beginning of the curve) turn 90 degrees and sew to the other edge of the pocket, turn 90 degrees and sew back up to the top of the pocket. See the picture for guidance.  






reusable bag tutorial 018Line up the top of the 2 bag pieces and pin them together. Make sure the edges of the bag pieces line up. If they don’t give them a little trim to even them up. With a 1/4 inch seam allowance stitch around the sides and bottom of the bag. Then sandwich the bags raw edges with bias tape and sew it all together. Be sure that you catch all the layers. 








Now the bag is finished but still needs to be folded. I used my iron and cheese cloth to press each crease so that it will be really easy to fold in the future.
reusable bag tutorial 019 Step 1:
Flip the bag over so the pocket is face down
reusable bag tutorial 020 Step 2:
Fold both edges in so they meet in the center of the bag
reusable bag tutorial 021 Step 3:
Fold the top down, lining up the fold with the top of the pocket piece
reusable bag tutorial 022 Step 4:
Fold the bottom up, lining up the fold with the bottom seam of the pocket
reusable bag tutorial 024 Step 5:
Fold in thirds and close with the Velcro.
     reusable bag tutorial 025 I’ve made a few of these out of material I bought but my favorite so far was made out of two reusable bags that I already owned. If you are in the Austin Area I highly recommend Recycled Reads. They sell library books that are being withdrawn from circulation. It’s run by volunteers, so the  hours are a bit irregular. I always check online before I go. The other bag was from baby earth. The are a local store that started as just an online business. I love the products they carry. Both were free but a weird size and extra long straps.  I think they look better together than separate. reusable bag tutorial 030 reusable bag tutorial 031
These might become stocking stuffers this year.
Ruth
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