WFMW: Reusable Shopping Bags
Here in CA there is a new law that requires large retailers to recycle plastic shopping bags and to reduce the use of plastic bags by offering reusable totes to shoppers.
Target offers two inexpensive totes at their checkouts. For 99 cents I bought this red one. It has a zipper pocket that turns the bag into a little pouch. I have been using it now for a couple of weeks. I find that it is easier to remember to use this bag over other any of the many tote bags I own because I can store it in my purse. I have used it now at Target, Ralphs, 99 Cents Only, and Joannes. This cheap 'n handy bag works for me, but I took it a step further.
I decided to try and make my own out of vintage sheets for gifts. It's an affordable and practical gift and quite frankly my city dwelling friends have little room for nick knacks.
I copied the Target bag's dimensions and and made the zipper pouch. The zipper is tricky and zippers aren't something I have on hand all the time. So to spare my self a zipper I used this pillow quilt design to develop another model. The whole bag folds up into the pocket at the bottom of the bag and the bow can be untied and used to secure the bag in a little roll. It's not quite as compact as the zipper one, but very cute.
two 16"x16" fabric squares
two 18"x3" fabric strips for the handles
two 8.5"x8.5" fabric rectangle and a two 16" ribbons
To make the bag:
1. Fold over an inch of each of the 16" fabric squares and sew to finish the top edge of the bag. I used the top hem of a bed sheet so this step was already done.
2. Fold each of the handle fabric strips lengthwise (or "like a hot dog" as we say in elementary school). Iron this to make a crease. Then open the fabric and fold each side into the middle crease. Iron again. Then fold in half lengthwise again and iron. Sew this together along the open edge.
3. Measuring the top of the bag, pin one end of the handle to the inside of the top hem at about 5 " and the other at the 12" mark. Sew the handles on good and tight. I sewed in the shape of a box with an X in it. Do this for both sides of the bag.
4. Pocket Time: For the pocket type pouch, take your two fabric squares right sides together and sew around three sides.Turn it right side out. This is the pocket which will be reversible.
5. Next, sew the ribbons in the center of the pocket top one on each side of the pocket.
6. Center the pocket at the bottom of the bag front so that open seem part on the bottom of the pocket will line up with the bottom of the bag. It be sewn in the seem of the bottom of the bag. Sew the three sides of the pocket onto the bottom center of the bag.
7. Now line up both bag pieces right sides facing in and sew the three sides together. Turn right side out.
To fold it you will need to fold the sides in and fold top down in thirds so that it lays on top of the pocket. Turn the pocket inside out so that it encloses the bag and reach in and smooth a bit. Fold the pocket in half and use the ribbon to wrap around and secure the pocket in a roll fashion. (See top picture.)
I gave this bag to a friend for her birthday this weekend. She's pretty "green" so it was a hit. I am thinking of making a few more for Christmas presents for my secretaries and other hard to shop for people on my list.
This was my first sewing tutorial, so I am sure there are some confusing parts. Feel free to email me with questions. janeclifflittle at yahoo dot com
More WFMW ideas at Rocks In My Dryer...
This post origonally appeared at My Many Colored Crayons.