Did you know that the plastic bags that your purchases are placed into at the stores are made from petroleum (oil). Want to keep prices down, buy a few canvas bags and bring them with you and reuse them. Helps the environment and the pocketbook.
By LRP from LWL, MA
A lot of places have no where to buy fabric bags, so why not create your own. A while back I posted these, home made instructions on my green blog, where I also have illustrations of how to make the bag.
Plastic bags are not only bad for the environment (does not decompose etc...), they are also not very durable and don't last very long. So, why not create your own bags, and you can personalize them a million different ways.
There are several designs of shopping bags out there.
I will show you how you can make two types. Those created with 2 pieces of fabric and those with only one.
What you will need.
*Hands or a sewing machine
Design number 1.
You need to cut out a single rectangular piece of fabric 82cm/32inches long 42cm/16&frac;inches wide. Chalk/draw a line 2cm/ &frac; of an inch from the border on the sides of the fabric destined to be faced inwards. If there is a chance of the fabric unraveling, sew a zig-zag pattern across the thin border. Fold the fabric in half. With both sides on top of each other and facing in opposite directions sew them together, at the sides. You have now something bag shaped. fold the last bit of the border outwards onto the main fabric, do this with both sides of fabric (ensure to not sew into the other side of fabric). Sew but be carefully, as the thread can be seen on both sides of the fabric. Now you just need to add a handle, so you can carry it.
Design number 2.
This design is by its very nature less sturdy, remember it is the threads which are holding all of the weight.
You need to cut out 2 rectangular piece of fabric 41cm/16inches long 42cm/16&frac;inches wide. Chalk/draw a border 2cm/ &frac; of an inch from the border, on both inward facing pieces of fabric. If there is a chance of the fabric unraveling, sew a zig-zag pattern across the thin border. With both sides on top of each other and facing in opposite directions sew them together, at the sides. You have now something bag shaped. fold the last bit of the border inwards onto the main fabric, do this with both sides of fabric (ensure to not sew into the other piece of fabric). Now you just need to add a handle, so you can carry it.
Take a strip of fabric fold it in the middle and sew both ends to either side of your bag, a good way to do this is to sew either a cross pattern in a square at the end of the fabric or two parallel lines.
When making shopping bags there are 3 standard ways of putting on a handle. One is under a rim , another is to the outside of the design, and the last is to the inside, but not under the rim.
There are circa 3 methods of placing the handles.
The first and probably the sturdiest is to take the opening of the bag and fold it inwards 1 inch or so. This creates a rim just like in your toilet. The end of the handle is showed under this rim and the 3 layers of fabric can then be sewn together.
or you could take one piece of folded and sewn together fabric and sew on to either side of the bag, creating a single handle in the middle of the bag.
The third is to use 2 straps one for each side, the two ends of each fabric are sewn to the same side of the bag with a space between each the size of an adult fist. This is done on both sides. It is very much like the design of a standard shopping bag.
You can make your designs even greener by using organic fabrics or recycled fabrics, all charity shops sell fabrics of one kind or another.
* If you want a leather bag you can recycle leather from a sofa or from clothes. Just remember that a lot of leather furnishings and clothes have very thin leather, so you will properly have to have a double layer or a mixture of fabrics e.g. Hessian, fabric and leather.
* Car furnishings use a sturdy fabric which could be an interesting option.
* Clothes could possibly also be recycled into a decent shopping bag, as long as it is a sturdy fabric. It will have to be able to take a load, so a synthetic silk shirt is not going to be good enough.
* Recycle old flags into a shopping bag.
* Painters canvas, furnishing fabrics in canvas and tent canvas, are all designed to be heavily durable.
* Jeans, work clothes and combat trousers, can also be cut up and sewn together to make very sturdy bags.
* Decorate your bags with patches, beads (it doesn't need to be hippyish), think about your design (girly pink bag could be complimented with stars, beads, a heavy metal/goth bag would look great with metal studs, recycled bike chains and just think how great a country bag with leather patches and spurs as handles would look.
* If you are going to decorate your bags, take into account that you might want to wash them in a washing machine or by hand, so it could be a good idea to make it possible to remove any non washable decorations before showing it in a wash.
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