Who, in their right mind, isn’t trying to go a little more green these days? We have all come to learn that every small step we can take can go a long way in saving our planet (hopefully). We try to faithfully use our reusable grocery bags….. if we remember to put them in our car… and in the case that we don’t remember to put them in the car, paper bags it is! Despite all of our best efforts, we still somehow end up with a giant collection of plastic grocery bags. Sometimes they are stuffed under the sink or in a closet with the best intentions of using them as small trash bags for the bathrooms or pet waste bags… but somehow the pile never seems to go away (well… in my case, that is)! I don’t know about you… but I was tired of the avalanche of plastic falling upon me every time I open the cupboard! And I know, I know… the grocery store has a recycling program that I can take the extras to… and someday I swear I will put that on my list of things to do, but in the mean time I have decided to make a lovely bag to store the hideous things so that I can go and grab one with ease every time I need one. Maybe it’s not the most original idea… I know these guys have been around for a while.. But, I like to think that I’ve made it a little prettier than what you may find in the store!
SO, all that being said, let’s get on with some instructions so you can make your very own.
Materials and Measurements
Stuff you need:
Light weight or Medium weight fabric (you can use just one print, or throw in a complimentary solid like I did)
light weight fusible interfacing
1/4″ elastic cording
2 safety pins
Step 1: Apply Interfacing to Main Body
First, make sure you are actually applying it to the Back of the fabric… sounds ridiculous to have to point this out, but trust me, it happens. Sometimes it is just hard to tell at first glance!
Follow the directions on the packaging that came with your fusible interfacing. To sum it up, use a medium setting on your iron and use a damp pressing cloth on top of the interfacing and press for about 6-7 seconds before moving to the next area. When done with that side, toss aside your pressing cloth, turn the Main body over and somewhat quickly smooth out the fabric with your iron, getting out all the little bubbles that may have formed.
Step 2: Prepare End Pieces
I have found that it is easier to get your folded edges to stay put by starching them first.
Press a 1/2″ seam
Press another 1/2″ seam (this is your little elastic casing)
Sew along the inside edge of the fold, leaving enough space to pull the elastic through later,
then repeat this step for the other end piece
Step 3: Prepare Strap
First, spray it down with some of that magical starch.
Fold your strap material in half lengthwise and press.
Open up your strap, and then fold one long edge in toward the middle.
Turn the strap around, fold the other edge in toward the middle. Press again.
Fold the strap in half again, and Press…. yet again.
Open up one short end, fold over 1/2″ seam and press.
As you fold it back in on itself, press along each fold.
Repeat on the other end then take it to your machine and edge stitch all the way around.
You now have a strap, and you can set it aside.
Step 4: Assemble Main Body
Before you press the seams open, trim the edge of the seam allowance with pinking shears. This will keep the fabric from fraying. (I love my rotary pinking cutter)
Press seams open on both sides
With Right sides facing, fold the Main Body in half aligning the raw edges. Pin and sew, making sure you don’t sew the openings for the elastic closed. I have done this a few times without thinking…..
Trim the seam allowance with pinking shears, then press the seam allowance open.
Turn your bag right side out, and press the seam again.
Step 5: Attach the Strap
Unfortunately…. I didn’t capture any images of this step. Shame on me! So bear with me for my verbal explanation of how to do this.
Align one end of the strap to the top of the bag, 1.5″ below where the main body and the top end piece come together, and 2.5″ to the left of the main vertical seam. Repeat this with the other end to the right of the vertical seam…. pin them in place, and secure them with a box stitch (you know… the kind that is a box with an X in the middle of it.)
Step 6: Elastic
Attach a safety-pin to each end of the elastic so that you can easily push it through the elastic casing on the end pieces.
When guiding your elastic through the casing, be sure to anchor one end to the bag so that you don’t end up pulling the whole thing through and having to start over.
Pull the elastic cording all the way through and gather your fabric, making a whole big enough to easily get your bags in and out, but not so big that the things just fall out all willy-nilly.
Align the raw edges of the casings toward the inside of the bag, matching the vertical seam that is already present and sew, passing over the elastic a few times to make sure it stays put.
Push back the casing openings and trim off the excess elastic. Repeat this step for the other end of the bag, and you are finished!
Now you can find a nice little spot to hang your pretty new bag. I keep one near my cat’s litter box and one in my craft room upstairs.