Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shopping Hippie Style

I use reusable grocery bags.  I would like to say it's because I am "green", but mostly it is because reusable bags hold more weight and are easier to carry.

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:
In this case I think the retro print is a nice touch. It goes with the whole "save the environment" feel.

 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.

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