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Monday, August 15, 2011

Reusable Grocery Bags

Starting October 15th, Portland will be banning the use of plastic bags at grocery stores. The hope is that it will help the environment and reduce the hazards that these bags cause on marine life. Those that passed the ban {and those in favor of it} also hope that it will be an incentive for shoppers to bring their own reusable bags to the store with them {the ban only keeps grocers from using plastic bags, paper bags are still available to customers}. 

James' Grandma's birthday is coming up, and as I was brainstorming ideas for what to do for her, this {soon-to-be} ban was brought to my attention. I figured making her some reusable produce and grocery bags would be such a great and practical gift since she lives in the city. 

I threw around the idea of using one of my reusable bags as a pattern, but I found a great pattern at JoAnn's that was cute and different, and decided that using that would be a better idea {and cause much less grief than going at it alone}. I used this See & Sew Butterick pattern

It really was very easy, just like the pattern says! The most difficult part was the bias tape. Am I the only one that can not, for the life of me, sew a straight line when I am sewing bias tape! OYE! To cover up my less than perfect seem, I used a decorative hem on my sewing machine... it turned out super cute and actually made me really happy that my first hem came out *ahem* less then straight. 

After I sewed the grocery bag, I decided to also make some cute produce bags but I was having a hard time deciding how I wanted them to look. I threw around the idea of making them out of mesh fabric, but I happened to find a yard of muslim in the remnant bin and decided to just do that instead.

Once I got home I just started cutting... seriously! I went into making the produce bags with NO IDEA how I wanted them to look or what size I wanted them to be. 

The first bag I cut ended up being about the same size as a standard plastic bag you get on the produce aisle. I did the embellishment BEFORE I sewed the bag together. To do the embellishment I cut a long strip of my leftover flower fabric and sewed up the middle using the longest stitch on my machine. Then to ruffle it I carefully pulled the bottom thread. Once I got the right amount of ruffle I pinned it down in a big letter P {the P is for his Grandma's last name, but it also could stand for produce, since that is what will go in there}. I sewed the P in place with my sewing machine {word to the wise... when sewing your ruffle into place the quicker you sew the better your ruffle will stay evenly ruffled. If you go to slow, the machines foot will push the ruffle out of your material}. Next I sewed up the side and the bottom right side out, and then put it inside out, pressed it, and sewed again {making a french seam}. Lastly, I sewed the top by making a little pocket for the cording by folding the top over twice and sewing close to the edge... you know what I mean, right? Then I added the cording by attaching the end to a safety pin and sliding it through the pocket. 

The second bag I made is a bread/baguette bag. This bag is actually the exact same size of fabric as the produce bag, except I folded the material the hotdog way versus the hamburger way. I also added the ruffle before sewing it together. I did the ruffle the same way as before, but instead did a little stripe of the flower fabric. 

These bags turned out so cute, that I was very tempted to keep them for myself and just bring his Grandma some flowers for her birthday!

The wrapping turned out to cute that I had to share as well. I folded and wrapped all three bags in tissue paper, and then cut two large rectangles a little bigger than the biggest wrapped bag. 

I sewed up three sides of the brown paper, put the three folded bags inside, and then sewed up the fourth side {be careful that your paper is big enough that when you sew up the final side, you don't accidentally sew into your gift}. 

Lastly, I made a cute bow out of the leftover scraps {I attached the bow to a hair clip and stuck the clip through the paper to get it to stay}. 

Then I made a card out of some leftover ruffle and card stock.  To finish the card off, I sewed a leaf pattern to hold the two pieces of card stock together, and attached the card to the gift with the bow!

I even made a bow for Soph's hair to match. This bow took about 10 minutes, from start to finish. And all that was required was a clip, hot glue and fabric... THAT'S IT!!!! 

Easy+adorable= winning combination! 

Check back Wednesday for a tutorial of how I made the bow for her hair!

I linked up to Someday Crafts... go check it out for even more inspiration!


  1. Love this! And I think you have proven you are a teacher at heart... when you said that you folded it the hot dog way as opposed to the hamburger! Cute from start to finish!

  2. P is also for Patti. Just sayin' for the future. :) I can't wait to see how you made the hair bow, it would be SO cool to make bows for Ems and as gifts!