This guest post was written by Karen Lee from ecokaren.
Why You Should Refuse Plastic Bags
More than five hundred billion plastic bags are made worldwide each year. Plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade in landfills and when plastic debris end up in ocean, they harm marine life and pollute the waters. Several cities and towns are banning plastic bags and started charging for paper bags. But paper bags are no better as over twelve billion paper bags are produced annually. That’s a lot of trees!
So it behooves you to bring your own bags but how many times have you gone to the market and realize that you left your reusable bag at home? Lots of times I bet. Me too.
So I started carrying a little pocket size reusable grocery bag that I made from an old fitted sheet awhile ago. Since then, I’ve not been caught without a reusable bag at the supermarket. In fact, I keep a few in my glove compartment and one in my purse just in case i make quick unplanned trip to the store. I use them in all stores, not just at the supermarket.
How to Make Reusable Market Bags
The tote is really easy to make and you can make about five bags from a full size sheet with these dimensions. Again, just like the garment bag tutorial using a fitted sheet, the measurements for the bags are totally up to you. You can make them whatever size you want or need.
Also, you don’t have to use a sheet to make these bags. I happened to have an old sheet that I couldn’t donate, so, wanted to use it up. You can use any fabric you want as long as it’s thin enough to be folded into a little square. My objective was to make as many as I can with a full size sheet, without wasting fabric, so I left the edge raw. But you can finish the edge nicely if you want.
Let’s get started!
- Old fitted sheet – I used a full size for this tutorial to make five bags
- Sewing machine
- Thread – I am using a dark colored thread in the tutorial for you to see but use a coordinating thread color as your sheet.
1. Cut out the elastic pieces from the fitted sheet and open up the corner seams to flatten out the sheet.
2. Fold the sheet in half in any direction and cut two layers of this “Tank Top” shape in approximately these dimensions. Again, the dimensions are up to how big you want the bags to be.
**Note**It is best to use the folded edge of the sheet as the bottom of the grocery bag. But if you have to sew the two pieces at the bottom, double stitch the seam for strength.
You see the little cut out above the bag? You will need that so don’t throw it out.
3. Take the cut out piece and hem the top (straight edge) by folding the raw edge under.
4. Center the cut out piece on the RIGHT SIDE of the bag and pin the sides.
5. Sew three sides, leaving the top edge open. I use small zigzag stitches to prevent the edges from fraying.
6. With the RIGHT SIDES together, sew around the sides of the bag, reinforcing with double stitches. I used zigzag for the second time around to prevent the edges from fraying.
7. While the bag is turned inside out, fold the two sides inward about two inches. Line up the handles to match. As you can see, the shape of the bag is not exactly square or rectangle. Pin down the folded edges and sew the handles and bottom, as indicated.
8. Turn it inside out and voila! You have a reusable grocery bag! A.K.A. T-Shirt Bag!
9. Now, how to you get it to a small compact size that you can fit into your purse? This is the part I wish I video taped but that didn’t happen. But I think you can follow the pictures and see how easy it is.
Now you have a pocket size reusable grocery bags and you’ll never be caught without them at the store! Make a few and give them out as presents! Happy Earth Day!!
Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren. She sells green goodies in her Etsy shop and writes for various green blogs. When she’s not leading the team or blogging, she is a mom to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.