I decided that making a reusable bag could be a perfect "small project" to make. I used a tutorial over at Craftster.org that I have had bookmarked for awhile now - http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=177482.0
(On a side note, Craftster is a great place to find tutorials, show off your skills, and ask for advise. I highly recommend it.)
The good news is, I had plenty of fabric in my stash. The nearest fabric store is about 40 minutes away from my house. When I do finally get there, I tend to buy random fabric, even if I don't have a project in mind at the time. This is one of those fabrics:
Seriously... I'm not sure what I was thinking. Maybe I was feeling retro that day? Whatever happened, I apparently thought I needed two yards of this stuff. I really don't see myself using it for any article of clothing, even for my daughter,
Here is the completed project:
One of the neat features, is that the bag has the ability to fold into the pocket on the front like this:
It's not exactly "small"; folded up it measures about 5" x 7". This makes it slightly larger than "purse sized" like some of the cheaper nylon bags they sell, but it is certainly a good size for a glove compartment. That way you always have it on hand when you go shopping.
Overall this was a good project. I learned how to sew a French seam and now have a brand new grocery bag that is a little more stylish that the utilitarian ones I bought at the store.
Here are some of the takeaways from the project:
- The instruction can be a little confusing. The poster did detail it step by step, but I found some of the verbiage confusing. (Then again, that could just be me.)
- Since you use a plastic bag as a template, expect your grocery bag to be slightly smaller than the average bag, unless you account for the seam allowance. I didn't think about this until after the fact.
- I would add another top stitch seam for the pocket. It takes a little bit of force to fold the bag up and the extra stitching would help the pocket stay in better shape for longer.
- Make sure your machine is up to the challenge. By the end you are sewing through 8 layer of fabric in some parts. I ended up busting a needle and having to switch to a thicker one.