Monday, December 8, 2008

The Bag Parade

Being on a quilt retreat is not the best time for a complicated project, especially late in the year.
But it is an excellent time to work on those need-to-be-done gift items.
I decided to make "green" shopping (grocery) bags for my family members....that seems to be all the rage, and such a good idea, too! Not only does it reduce the number of plastic and paper bags to be stored (or, worse yet, thrown away!) but a it can use up remnants, odd thread, and other things from your sewing room.

OK, it can also be another excuse to go buy fabric!
I confess, I went to that Big Box Store and purchased some home dec. fabric, because I actually wanted the first bags I give to be the color green. But it is fun to bring a unique bag to the grocery, and it will carry about as much as you want....without breaking or cutting off the circulation in your hand, wrist or fingers!
A couple of bags I made were tote bag style:

It's shiny! It's home-dec!
It's definitely made to be used by someone who doesn't care!

There's nothing like free fabric, and you may know how quilt guilds are often the recipients of "fabric" (content & origin unknown). Due to my pack-rat nature, I try hard to avoid these free-for-alls, but that means limiting myself to taking only a few pieces.
Now I can justify this because I have used it and am making a gift. In fact, there is another one just like it! But I won't expose you to both of them.

30% off made this an excellent Big Box Store buy!

I liked this fabric so much I went back and bought more.

These smaller bags are based on measurments slightly smaller than a regular brown paper grocery sack. There is a concern about having so much in one bag that it's too much to carry.
The bottoms are about 6" wide, so they'll hold some boxes and packaged items very nicely.
Up-side down & inside out

Taking a tip from Pat's AnotherPatch gift bag, I tried out the French seam bottom, and liked it. Now, Pat's bag is a lovely item, but what I'm making is intended purely to be used & abused. It's good to consider your purpose when sewing....some things are worth the extra time, and some are just made to be functional.
That is, of course, why we need great fabric!

It's pretty, but what is that smell???

I also wanted to make some big bags, because sometimes you buy a package of paper towels or TP and need a larger size. Again, you have to be careful about the weight.
This stuff was on a really deep sale, and I already had the tealish fabric for the handles.
My mistake? It's like Herculon or something, an upholstry fabric with a rubbery backing. It was not bad to sew, but it has a definite odor! I am hoping a good airing, maybe a trip through the dryer with a scented softening sheet?....I will have to do something before giving it to an unsuspecting relative!
Nobody wants to hear that their sister-in-law said your gift "stinks"!

I meant to do it that way!

These larger bags have handles that go around the favorite style, as it gives support for whatever ends up inside. Guess I didn't figure the right amount of fabric, wait.... I meant to do it this way! It's a decorative effect!

This bag also has a twin...I saved the best for last!

This fabric is so pretty, I was sorry to be making a simple bag instead of a really nice tote with lining, pockets, etc., etc. Everyone at the retreat wanted to find some just like it. And I did like it so much, I cut it and turned one half the other way so both sides would look right. That's where a directional fabric can trip you up! Sometimes an extra seam is worth the trouble.

Maybe having a beautiful bag will make going to the grocery a more pleasant task. I really have to admit, it is fun to take my fabric bags and have the cashiers ooh & ah over them. They are much better than the "green" bags for sale inside the grocery.

I hope my family members enjoy them, never know about these things!

I enjoy making bags as I go along, not using an actual pattern. Because the sewing is not too demanding or prone to be examined closely, I can make some changes. I'm thinking about trying seams around the bottom (actually the fabric just folded and stitched) and maybe on the side edges to give the bags more structure.

Let me know if you'd like some measurements and a quick tutorial...I'll make another bag and take pictures along the way, since I finally found my camera!


Pat said...

What a productive retreat! So many bags. Glad you gave my French Seam square bottom a try. It makes for such a nice, neat inside.

I'm always hauling around something during this Holiday season, so I thought I'd make the nice, fancy Christmas fabric bag. It is certainly not going to be used at the grocery store! LOL But, it sure will look nice when I need to transport something.

My grocery store/Walmart bags are made from various Fat Quarters & fabrics from my stash. And are rugged. The 1st green bag I bought for a buck is now starting to show wear. The bags I made at the same time I bought the green bag are good as new.


Anonymous said...

Yay, bags!

Brava, Sunnie and AnotherPat!

One of these days, I, too, will make a tote bag. Or three.

The Mysterous Ms. E.