Monday, January 3, 2011

Produce Bags

Well, even though I managed to squander a large part of my last day off before heading back to the work world I did manage to get some sewing done today! Yay! 4 lovely new bags to take to the grocery store for my veggies. Aren't they pretty?

All of this started when I was surfing looking for information and inspiration for Christmas gift bags. That led me to reusable grocery bags (which I do have a fair number of already) and then produce bags.
Produce bags? The thought had frankly never occurred to me but when I started to think about the number of little plastic bags I was bringing home and the amount of energy and oil products used to create them (even though I reuse them at least once and recycle them) ...well, it made total sense to me. 

So, like a good librarian, I did some research and decided on what I wanted; 1- easy to make, 2 - washable, 3 - use either stash or thrifted material, 4 - very lightweight material so not to add too much to the cost of the produce, 5 - fairly see through material so the store clerks could see what I have easily. 
I searched the stash to no result to off to the thrift store I went.

There I found some material (probably for/from curtains) that seemed to suit. It was a pretty big piece (especially for the $3 I spent!) so I have lots left for another batch of these if I ever feel the need.
(I also found a nice piece of vinyl which I plan to use to recover one of the footstools the cats of clawed to virtual death, but that will be another post another day.)

Construction was pretty straight forward. First I cut a strip off the end of the fabric about as wide as one of the grocery store plastic bags plus a wee bit (for seams). Then I just folded the material in half and cut, then in half again and cut again. For the sewing I first serged across what would be the top edges and then serged the three sides closed. After serging I did a combo straight/zigzag stitch seam to add some strength. This material is pretty ravel-y and produce can be pretty heavy; I figured better safe than sorry.

The drawstring closure was the fun part of this project. I got to use a foot for my sewing machine I don't remember ever using before. Here it is.

I believe this is called a cording foot and it's advantage is that it holds the cord you want to sew over so that you don't have to worry about keeping it where it won't (in this case) get caught in the stitches. In some cases you might want your cording to get caught but for this I wanted the cord to move freely back and forth under the zigzag stitches I was sewing over top. This makes a channel for the cord to move around in and is a really fast and easy to make a drawstring. (FYI it's also a great way to gather long lengths of material! Sew over a cord, pull up, sew down the gathers and voila!)

And there you have it! I now have 4 lovely produce bags with some pretty purple drawstrings and I'm ready to go buy veggies and be a little bit greener this year.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The best laid plans

I had great plans today to show some of my "green" sewing that is the plan for 2011 laptop died.
So I spent the day getting my old PC up and running in the sewing room instead of in the basement (which my teenager has basically taken over!!!!)
One USB wireless connection and about a zillion updates later....and I'm back!

But now dinner needs to be made and there's no sun for photography. Hopefully tomorrow.