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Cutting down on plastic? Here’s how to sew your own shopping bag – Chicago Tribune

Cutting down on plastic? Here’s how to sew your own shopping bag – Chicago Tribune

How to make a DIY canvas bag

Reducing your consumption of single-use plastics? Some states have passed legislation banning single-use plastic bags at stores. California led the charge in 2014, and to date, nearly eight states have followed suit.

Whether you live in one of these states or you’re just setting personal goals for your carbon footprint, there’s no better time than now to sew your own reusable shopping bag. We’ve put together this beginner-friendly tutorial on how to sew your own reusable shopping bag in an hour or less.

What you need to sew your own shopping bag

Here’s a list of everything you need to make a reusable shopping bag:

How to sew a reusable shopping bag

Step one: Cut the bag

Fold the canvas in half with the wrong sides facing out. With your scissors, mark a rectangle that measures 18 by 20 inches.

Make sure one side of the rectangle is the fold of the canvas. Cut the rectangle.

Step two: Mark the fold

Take the canvas rectangle and fold it so the right side is facing out. To mark the fold, simply iron it.

Step three: Cut and pin the straps

Cut the cotton webbing into two 44-inch pieces.

Open the canvas rectangle with the right side facing you. The long sides should be parallel to your body.

Make a U-shape with one length of cotton webbing. Place the sides of the strap parallel to your body, making sure there are a few inches between them. Pin the raw edges of the webbing onto the fold.

Repeat the step on the opposite side with the remaining cotton webbing. Be sure to line up all four raw edges of the webbing on the fold.

Step four: Sew the straps

Beginning at the fold (where the cotton webbing raw edges are), sew parallel stitches along the webbing toward the raw edge of the canvas. Stop the stitch three inches from the raw edge of the canvas.

Repeat the step on the other side to create the matching strap.

Step five: Sew the bag

Fold the bag in half, this time with the right sides (and straps) facing one another. Sew along the long edges of the rectangle. This creates the bag’s side seams.

Step six: Square off the base

Take the newly sewn bag and find its corners where the seams and fold meet (at the bottom).

Place your finger inside one corner and make the material flare out, creating a triangle. Place a pin three inches down from the corner. With a ruler, mark a horizontal line.

Repeat this step for the other corner. Sew across both lines.

Step seven: Finish the top of the bag

Take the cotton quilt material and cut a piece that measures 42 by two inches. Fold it in half, and sew along the raw edge.

Attach a safety pin to one edge and pull it through the length of the cotton so the right side faces out. Roll the seam to the middle of the rectangle and iron it.

To conceal the raw edge of the bag, fold the cotton over it. Tuck in and pin any raw edges of the cotton. If the cotton is longer than necessary, just trim it to size.

Pin the rest of the cotton into place, and sew around the entire top of the bag.

Tips for making reusable shopping bags

Leave the little triangles

When you create the base of the reusable shopping bag, you’ll find two little triangles of canvas at the bottom. There’s no need to trim these; rather, they help the bag stand up on its own.

Buy fabric from thrift stores and fabric outlets

Canvas is a mid-priced material (around $8 per yard), but to snag it at a deep discount, visit thrift stores and factory fabric outlets. Sometimes, they sell remnants for as little as one or two dollars per yard.

Wash before you sew

Canvas, cotton webbing, and cotton quilt material will shrink in the wash. Make sure you wash all materials to pre-shrink them prior to sewing. This will prevent the reusable shopping bag from warping in the future when you wash it.

Make a pattern

Rather than marking up material, make a reusable pattern for the bag with wrapping paper or paper grocery bags. This is especially helpful if you intend to make several reusable shopping bags.

Perks of making reusable shopping bags

Saves money

Using a reusable grocery bag saves money because you won’t need to pay for plastic or reusable bags at the store.

If you shop once a week and need to purchase 10 grocery bags per trip at $0.06 per bag, in a year, you’ll spend over $30 on plastic bags. This reusable shopping bag project costs around $10 (or less) per bag — and will last for years.

Reduces plastic bag consumption

By switching to reusable shopping bags, you’ll help to reduce your carbon footprint with less single-use plastic consumption. It also means there are fewer plastic bags that end up in nature. Unfortunately, plastic bags release toxins into the soil and hurt or poison animals.

Reusable shopping bags are washable, which is important to many consumers for health and sanitary reasons.

Can be an upcycling project

Besides canvas, this project can be made by upcycling denim, upholstery or curtain materials. Provided they’re medium- or heavyweight materials, they’re viable alternatives.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Published at Fri, 29 Jan 2021 18:04:00 +0000

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