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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DIY Reusable Shopping Bags

I made a bunch of reusable shopping bags that roll up nice and small as stocking stuffers this years for christmas.  They are super easy to make and are quite handy...I use mine all the time!
In this post you will notice half of the pictures are done with pink fabric and the other with blue and green...this is because my sewing machine desided to be stupid on me so I didn't actually end up sewing the pink one...well half of it was lazyness because I mostly use my serger on this project, but I have black thread in my serger for a different project I'm working on at the time and was much too lazy to change the thread to white.

Supplies and Materials Needed

-Paper for drafting pattern (for this one I used bristol board)
-Ruler (preferably a see through drafting one)
-Sewing Machine (Serger optional)
-.5 Meters (Approx 5/8 Yard) Woven Fabric (preferrably cotton, don't forget to pre-shrink)
-20cm (8") Narrow Elastic
-Thread to Match Fabric
-One Button (smallish)

Drafting the Pattern

1. On your paper draw a rectangle 40 cm (15 1/4") wide and 36cm (14 1/8") high
2. On the top line of this rectangle make a mark half way (20cm in each way)
3. From this mark draw a line straight up 16cm (6 1/4")
4. Draw parrallel lines on each side of this line 4.5cm (1 3/4") out.  Draw a line straight across the top.  This top rectangle will be the handle.
All These instructions are shown below

5. In the corners where the handle attaches to the body of the bag draw in curved lines on each can do this by placing something circular in the corners and tracing around.  See the picture below for the approximate curve.

Now all you have to do is cut out the pattern.  The pattern should look like what is shown below.

Sewing the Bag

1.  This pattern will will line up perfectly if you are using 115cm (45") wide fabric.  Layout the pattern so the bottom of the bag is on the fold as shown below.  Cut out the fabric.  When I'm making multiples I cut out a few layers at a time by stacking my fabric making sure my folds line up.

If you open your fabric it should look like this
2. To sew in the elastic loop fold your piece of elastic in half and pin it in the middle of the handle between the fabric by folding the fabric in half with the right sides together and everything lining up.
3.  Sew along the top of the handle using a 1cm seam allowance (3/8") making sure to catch the elastic in the seam, then zig-zag along the raw edge at the top. If you have a Serger you can use that to do both steps in one.
4.  Now sew the side seams together starting at the top of the side edge going down to the fold. Finishes the edges the same as above.
5.  Zig-Zag or serge around the raw edges at the top of the bag (on both sides of the handle) then turn under slightly towards the wrong side and stitch down close to the edge.
6. At the bottom of the bag to make it have a bit of shape mitre the corners.  This is hard to explain but really easy to do.  Basically you want to have the bag inside out, take a bottom corner and fold it so that the side seam is lined up over the bottom fold.  This will form a triangle in the corner.  Sew across the triangle about 3cm (1 3/8") in from the edge.  Pictured below.  I know I'm horrible at explaining this step.

7. Now all that's left is sewing the botton onto the top of the handle.  Sew the botton on one side onto the handle just away from the elastic loop.  Shown below

Now the bag is all all that's left is learning how to roll it up!
1. Lay the bag out flat with the botton side down.
2. Fold each side in  so the side seams line up with the handle

3. Fold each side in again so everything is the same width as the handle.
4. Roll the bag from the bottom up to the top and wrap the elastic around the bag and loop it over the button.

If you have any questions feel free to email me

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