Apr 22, 2008

Earth Day Grocery Bags Tutorial

Every year on Earth Day I try to do something to change the damage we have done. Usually I plant a tree. This year I decided to stop using the grocery bags given to me at the store and make my own to reusable. I realized a few months ago the bags given to me are only used for 10 minutes before I throw them in my recycle bin so why use them at all.

Funny Story:

When I was in High School I worked at a local fabric store thus having a huge fabric stash. I would usually buy sever different colors of the same fabric. If you read my company history on my website then you know I made this outfit in high school. At the time I bought the same fabric in another color. I held on to this fabric for years. About 15 years ago my Mother in law was sewing a lot. I gave her a lot of my sewing thing I had been holding for years but never used. My MIL passed away 5 years ago and my Sister in law took most of her sewing supplies. Last summer I asked my SIL if she had anything I could use for my business that she wasn't using. She sent me the same fabric I gave to my MIL years ago. This fabric returned to me along with other things I had given to her. It was never used by me or my in-laws. When I had the idea of making the grocery bags and went to my stash, saw this fabric and I just knew I had to recycle this fabric to make my bags. For 30 years this fabric has been around without use.


You only need 1/2 yard of fabric to make this bag. 1 yard if you want to add a liner to the bag.

1) Decide how big you want to make your bags. You can make different sizes to fit milk, bread and other odd shapes. Fold your fabric salvage to salvage so that you have a fold. The fold will be the bottom of the bag. Decide how wide/tall you want to make the bag. Cut a top band the same width. To save fabric I cut the handles the same width but usually I make them longer by cutting strips on the side of the bag I cut - not using the top like I did here.

2) With two right sides together attach the bands to the top of the bag. Press your seam going up when finished. ( I used a different color of fabric on a few bags so you can see how to attach the band)

3) With two right sides together and matching the band seams sew the sides of the bag and finish your seams by either serging them or using a zig zag stitch.

4) To make your corner of the bag bring the side seam town to meet the bottom fold of the bag and sew a triangle at the bottom corners to make a bottom of the bag. Set the bag aside while you make the handles

5) To make the handles - Using the iron, press 1/4 inch in on each side. Fold and press one of the 1/4" fold over to the other one. You have to pin the folds to hold it in place while you sew it close to the edge. I like to make both edges the same so I run another stitch down the fold edge of the handle.

6) With the edge of the fabric, attached the handles to the right side of the band. Use your pressure foot as your guide so you don't make a big seam while attaching. This will become the first fold of the top band.

7) Bring the handles up and press the first fold around the band. Bring that fold down to your stitch line and press. Place your pins on the right side of the band as apposed to the wrong side. When you sew on the wrong side you may get a straight line but when you flip it over to the right side your stitch line will be crooked. You can either stitch in the ditch (where the to fabrics meet) or do a top stitch at the very edge of of the band where it meets the bag.

8) The Last step is to sew the handles up to the band by making a squares and maybe putting an X in the square.

You can also add a liner, pockets to your bags

I made 12 grocery bags with 4 yards of fabric that I've had for years :)
This is the same bag the summer campers make on their first day to carry their projects back and forth to class.

If you would like to make this bag bring in 1 yard of fabric to any sewing time class and I'll show you how to make it.

Until next time,
Enjoy your moments, make them "sew" much fun,

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