Monday, June 27, 2011

Reusable (green) Shopping Bag Tutorial

I have several different shopping bags from various stores in my collection. In the back of my mind I have thought of making some of them for myself. I kind of wanted them to all match each other. (Ooops, is my OCD showing again???)

Anyway, a few months ago, one of my girlfriends showed me a magazine with this cool idea for painting a monogram or initial onto canvas. Right away, I thought it would be the perfect fit for my matching shopping bags.

It took me awhile to get that project to the top of my “to do” list but here’s the “how to” for you.

I started with about a yard and a half of unbleached, heavy cotton utility fabric (thicker than muslin). Washed and dried the fabric for pre-shrinking.

Cut the fabric in half and make two bags. To make the straps you will need to cut 4 strips of fabric that are at least 25 inches long (longer if you like long straps) and 1-½ inches wide

Then make a template for pressing the edges of the straps over. I use a piece of cardstock when I make purse straps. Cut a strip of cardstock the width of the strap. Here it is about an inch wide. Then place that on the center of the fabric and fold the sides over and iron.
Watch out for that steam!

Now take two of the strap pieces and place the raw sides toward each other and sew them together. Try to stitch as close to the edge as you can.

Stitch the strap on both sides. Then do the same thing with the other two pieces and set the two finished straps to the side while you work one the bag.

You should have a piece of fabric that is around 16 – 17 inches wide and about 40 long. I like to make my hems on the bias edge whenever I can. Fold and press the edge over and then fold again so that you will end up with a one-inch wide top to your bag. Do this on both ends of the fabric, as you will be folding in half and closing the sides to make the bag. I stitch along the edge that was folded over as well as the very top to give a little more stability.

Here you can see how the top is stitched as well as how the straps are attached

Before I close up the sides, I like to put the straps on. I measured the center of the strap in from the edge of the bag at 5 inches. The top of the bag has a good one inch hem, place the end of the strap to cover all of that top width. Once the strap is in position, sew around all four sides and then sew an “X” through the square. This will give the handles extra strength when your bag is full of goodies. Make sure the strap is not twisted when you sew the other side onto the bag. Once both straps are on then you are ready to close up the sides.

Fold the fabric in half to form a bag and line up the top and the straps to make sure everything is squared. The first seam is done with the bag right side out (yes, that’s right). Sew both sides together. Start at the top and go down the side until you are about 4 inches from the bottom.

Then bring the bottom of the fabric up to meet the end of the stitched edge and sew each side so it looks like an inverted Y. This will give the base of the bag a true “bottom”.

After you have completed this on both sides then turn the bag inside out and do the same thing again over the first seam. This will give the bag a finished look.

Now for some monogramming fun.

Use paper doilies and a little fabric paint to stipple a design onto the bag.

Cut your initial out of a sheet of cardstock (unless you have letter stencils) and stipple the fabric paint on your bag.

Here’s an extra idea for those of you with a website or etsy store.

I used stickers to create a negative stencil for my web address. Sponge on some fabric paint then remove the stickers.

Now you can really multi-task…Shop and advertise.

Have fun crafty people!!!!
For more fun ideas hop on over to see Jen at Craft-o-maniac


blueviolet said...

You are so creative! I really like how those came out. :)

Alexis AKA MOM said...

I agree my dear you always blow me away with the things you come up with. I mean a freaking doilie, you again my dear make me bow down to you :)

amt said...

What a great gift bag idea or a set of bags as a gift! I'm lovin' it!

Intense Guy said...

Those bags look awesome! How long does it take you to make one? I really like both designs.

That web address looks great! And it is in "your" special colors too!

Hmm.. I wonder if my mom could sew one (or more) of these?

Teaching Heart Mom said...

so neat! great for library books and so much more. i love it!