Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tidy Up Your Plastic Bags Tutorial

Usually I try to remember to take my reusable shopping bags with me when I go shopping but inevitably I forget once in awhile and I'll end up with some plastic bags. Up until yesterday I'd been shoving bags wherever, in a drawer, a cabinet, behind the cookbooks... it was pretty sad. So I whipped up this SUPER easy, fast and cheap bag to hold them all.

Materials: 1 fat quarter (these are like $1 at JoAnns), one piece of .5" or .75" elastic (about 6 inches long)- again, this is sold for about $0.50 a yard, scissors, pinking shears (optional), an iron, pins (optional), thread

*You can also do this by hand! I'm not a huge fan of hand sewing but this project is to so small it wouldn't take long at all :D

Cutting Out the Main Piece:
1. Lay fat quarter out lengthwise, right side up. 
2. Take the left edge and fold in towards the middle about 8" or so 
(this will be the main body of the bag)

3. Cut fabric along edge of "main body"

The Handle:
1. Lay main piece aside for later
2. Cut extra strip in half- discard one

3. Fold handle strip lengthwise with right sides together

4. Stitch raw edges together using a .75" seam allowance

5. Turn strip right side out

6. Press handle with seam centered and facing up

Optional: Use pinking shears to snip each end

Top Hem of Bag:

1. Fold the top edge of your bag (shown with top at bottom) over 1/4" or so
2. Repeat to hide raw edge

3. Stitch top hem using a 1/4" seam allowance

Sew Bag Together:
1. Fold bag in half length wise with right sides facing together 
(top hem should be at the top and raw edges to the right)
2. Stitch along raw edges using a 1/4" seam allowance

3. Lay out on ironing board and center seam in the middle

4. Press seam open flat

Optional: Cut edges with pinking shears- be careful not to cut stitches!

5. Press seam open again for good measure :)

Making the Bottom Casing:
1. Fit the bottom edge on the bag on the narrown end of your ironing board
(wrong side up)
2. Fold raw edge up 1/4" and press
3. Fold edge up again 1/2" and press

4. Sew as close as you can to the edge (top) of the casing
(it might help to remove the free arm of the sewing machine so you can fit it right on)

5. Leave an inch or sew to fee the elastic through
Add the Elastic:
1. Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic to help fee it through the casing

2. Pull both ends of the elastic until desired 'scrunch' is achieved

3. Stitch and backstitch over both pieces of elastic several times
4. Trim excess

Optional: Stitch casing closed- honestly, for the purposes of the bag- you can skip this part

Attach the Handle:
1. Flip bag over so top hem is ready to be stitched (wrong side facing up)
2. Stitch handle (wrong side up) to top hem of bag

3. Repeat for other end of handle

3. You may want to zig zag or topstitch the right side of your top hem so handle hangs straight

Ta da! You could also embellish these with ruffles or buttons or flowers. 
They would make great Christmas gifts too!

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