Apr 7, 2009

Go Green Grocery Bags

I'd start by telling you that I am a little nutty, but you already know that!

Why should I go to all the trouble of making canvas bags for shopping when I can buy reusable bags from most grocery, hardware or big box stores for a nominal fee. I have to confess, BECAUSE I CAN!!!!! I just love to create things. It makes me happy. AND these bags are so cute!

Since I went to the trouble to figure all this out by looking at a BYU Creamery bag I bought for 50 cent bag (yeah, nutty, I told you!) I thought I would share it with all of you so that if you have a creative urge to be green (no that's Kermit... go green!) you can do it with style!

Schmokay, here we go-

You will need:
Basic Bag
7/8 yard canvas (per bag) if you want your bag to be all one color


Contrasting Bag
3/8 yard canvas (front and back) [fabric 1]
1/2 yard contrast canvas (side/bottom piece and straps) [fabric 2]


Bag With Webbing Handles
* If you don't want to have a fabric strap handle (perhaps your sewing machine won't sew through multiple layers of canvas) you can get webbing, in which case you will need
1 1/2 yard of 1" webbing (Omit cutting the 2- 3" x 28" strips mentioned in the cutting directions)

Start by cutting your pieces. You will need to cut:

2- 13" x 16" rectangles (front/back)
1- 9" x 43.5" strip (this is the side/bottom piece)
2- 3" x 28" strips for handles

With right sides together place the short side of the side/bottom piece on one of the front/back pieces(also short side). Starting in the top right hand corner sew with a 1/4" seam. At the corners stop sewing 1/4" from bottom of front/back piece. With the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric 90 degrees. Gently fold the side/bottom piece back on itself so that it is now going along the bottom of the bag. Continue sewing at 1/4". Repeat at next corner. Repeat this process to add the other front/back piece.

Here's what you bag should look like at this point.

Turn the bag right-side out.

Turn under 1/4" along raw top edge of bag, then turn down 1 1/4" to make a sturdy top to the bag. Top stitch.

Iron the side and bottom seams so they are flat with each other like you would when you turn a collar or interfacing. (I find that the easiest way to do this is dampen my fingers and roll the seam until I am down to the stitching). Press fabric.

Now top stitch at 1/4" on outside of bag with the front/back piece on top (this will give you a finished French seam and will add stability to your bag). Top stitch to within 1/4" from bottom, back stitch.

Remove from machine. Fold fabric so you can sew across the bottom of the bag. Insert needle where you just ended the side seam and continue sewing across bottom of bag. Repeat for next corner and other front/back piece.

When you look at the side/bottom piece there will be a tiny tuck at the corner (the underside as you are stitching.)

(Whew, now all we need to do is add the handles!)

Press 3" x 28" strip in half length-wise. Then turn under 1/4" on along each long edge.

Place edges together and top stitch the length of strap keeping edges together. (Use pins if necessary).

Now top stitch the folded edge.

Fold under 1/2" of end of strap and place on top of bag 2 1/2" from side seam of bag.

Sew a square with "X" pattern inside to attach the handle to the bag. I found that if I started at the bottom corner, sewed a square and then the "X" I ended up with double stitching at the top and bottom of where the handle attaches. (Think that should be sturdy enough!)

*If you are going to use webbing instead of fabric cut 2 pieces 28" long. Using a flame melt the cut ends so they won't unravel. Sew to bag using directions above but don't turn under end of webbing.

All finished but the final pressing. Match the front and back pieces, folding in the sides. Then fold up the bottom edge to expose the bottom of the bag. Smooth, fold back down and give it a good steaming!

Here we go... my 4 fun bags... but you don't really think that is the end do you???

No, not with this OCD-nutty-girl.

I needed a bag for the bags! So I dug around and found half of an old Old Navy skirt (the other half is a pattern that I just love and have used and used). I re-purposed (love this word) it and made a tiny bag. It could easily hold 8-10 folded canvas bags!

Here are the measurements for the baby bag:

2- 10" x 8.5" (front/back)
1- 8.5" x 28" strip (side/bottom)
2- 3" x 19" strips (straps)

Use directions above. (This bag is a little tricky. It is square so be sure you have the 10" piece going up and down to start with, the extra turns under to make to top edge of the bag.)


leannewitney said...

I think these bags are so cute! My first thought was how well they would work for church, or the kids toys while in the car. Maybe if I am ambitious enough, one will get made... PS- I went to enrichment and a lady had a serger, and now I want one. What are your thoughts? :)

Joanie said...

Dear Leanne,
I have a serger... I love it! I love the finished seams on clothing. Back when my kids were small I could make a pair of elastic waist pants faster than I could wash and dry a pair! If you want one, save your pennies and get one.

Shan said...

Grammie, I think you are absolutely precious and delusional for believing that someone, what that is not you, can look at a bag and just make it. Nobody sews like grammie.

Laura H said...

I could Never ever, ever do this. But I love watching people Re-purpose stuff. So, do more do more!!!

Rosehaven Cottage said...

A bag for the bags... I love it! Those pink and brown striped bags are delicious. I want to lick them.


Camille is the coolest said...

You crazy lady! All I have to say is, "you would." A bag for the bags...why didn't I see that one coming?