Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reusable Shopping Bag

I've been flexing my sewing muscles lately by making a new grocery bag! Our old bag was a freebie I got at work and was at the point of disintegrating (and butt ugly to boot!). I forget exactly who said it, but life is too short to be carrying ugly bags! It was the kick in the pants that I needed to whip up this shiny new bag.

I found this beautiful printed canvas at Hobby Lobby, and I couldn't leave without it, but since I didn't have a project in mind for it, I bought a measly quarter yard and figured I'd whip up a basic tote bag or something.

Fortunately, after a little scrolling through Pinterest, I discovered this genius tutorial from Terry Ann for a sweet new shopping bag with the front and back as one whole piece so you don't ever have to worry about the bottom collapsing and falling out under the strain of too many groceries!

Since I'd only bought a quarter yard of the printed canvas, I also picked up slightly less than a yard (end of bolt!) of navy duck canvas from JoAnn. It matches pretty well to the navy in the printed pattern I think! It's wonderfully sturdy and gives the bag a nice solid structured feeling, y'know, for lugging your gallon of iced tea home from the store.


I followed her tutorial as written and just overlaid my printed fabric over the canvas and stitched my handles so that they covered the raw edges of the fabric (my handles are set a little wider than stated for just this reason). I stitched my handles on with a box x stitch for extra strength - not sure how true this is, but it is my impression that it is a parachuting standard for making sure the seam does not come apart.


Terry Ann calls for home decor weight fabric, and of course her pleat is so nicely pressed, but I could not get mine to lay flat at all, so it is what it is. I actually finger pressed everything where she calls for an iron because this fabric actually held a crease pretty well from me just smashing the fabric into a fold - bonus, no burnt fingers from the iron!


This bag can hold just a ton of stuff, volume and weight-wise, so it's a really great shopping bag!

I used the plastic piece from the old shopping bag to give the bottom a little bit of shape, but my other go-to for stiff plastic for stabilizing is plastic canvas for cross-stitching. It's super cheap and easy to find, I got mine from Michael's, and really, where else are you going to find a big piece of stiff plastic?

I feel like it's so easy to buy those 99 cent bags at pretty much every store, and they're always made out of that flimsy material. And I'm not knocking it, it's better those than plastic bags (California bag ban ring a bell?) but why not have something sturdier and prettier? So, anyone else making their own reusable shopping bags?