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Saturday 18 April 2009

Something From Nothing

As the grocery stores are phasing out plastic bags, many of us are making reusable totes. Here's a quick one made from scraps.
Every so often I will clean up my pile of scraps by sewing string blocks. If you are unfamiliar with how to make these, you can refer to a previous post here for some pointers. You can make your blocks any size you like, depending on how large you want your finished bag. I used 6" finished blocks (6-1/2" sewn) to produce a bag 18" high and 17" wide.
These blocks were pieced using muslin as a foundation. The muslin stays in place after the blocks are pieced, creating a sturdy block.
18 blocks are used, laid out in 3 rows of 6. Sew the blocks together, pressing the seams to one side. At this point, use your patchwork as a pattern and cut a piece of plain cotton for the lining this size.
Fold the patchwork right sides together and sew along the side seam and across the bottom. Meet the bottom seam to each side seam and mark a line 2-1/2" up from the point. Stitch across this line. Turn bag right side out. Fold your lining right sides together and stitch side and bottom seams as for bag, remembering to leave an 8" opening on one side for turning.
Meet the bottom seam to each side seam and mark a line 2-1/2" up from the point. Stitch across this line. Do not turn lining right side out.
Cut two lengths of webbing for handles, each 20" long.
Sew to top of patchwork 4" in from each side seam.
Slip the bag inside the lining, right sides together and pin along top edge.
Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Press lining to inside and top stitch along upper edge of bag to hold lining in place. Close opening in lining with machine or hand stitches.
Voila, you're finished. Sobeys, here I come!


  1. Nice grocery bag.... Did you ever see my recycling project. It was more of a joke that anything, but you know, I now pack all my workshop stuff in that bag and take it with me. check it out.

    PS: I'm all ready to take your Maritime Beauty workshop next weekend. I can't wait.

  2. Terrific project, Gail - so inventive! I hope folks will check out the link you sent, and take the time to read what you've written about your bag: