Like many families, we’re trying hard to cut right down on single-use plastic because of the devasting effects on marine life. We have big strong canvas bags that we use for a ‘big shop’ but I’m not always organised and often get caught out without one. ‘It’s fine, we can manage’, I lie, refusing a 5p plastic bag whilst stuffing loose fruit and veg into the kids’ pockets at the checkout.
This week is half term and the kids are casually dressed. They are at an age though when they think it’s not cool to have bananas hanging out of your Superdry hoodie. Time to make a shopping bag. I Googled ‘How to Make a Tote Bag’ and, oh my goodness, it seems there are 1000 different ways! I shortlisted a few and decided on this tutorial by Cindy, the ‘Skip to My Lou’ blogger. The instructions were very easy to follow, and I was really pleased with how the bags turned out, as well as having discovered a great blog which has lots of craft ideas, recipes and free patterns.
This was the first bag I completed. I love that it is washable, also reversible so that if you used a different fabric inside you’d have two different looks. I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter. Only changes are that it’s a slightly smaller bag to make the best use of the fabric and I also zig-zagged the bag sides first as this cotton/linen mix fabric is a bit prone to fraying. I was so pleased with my fabric choice. It’s a John Lewis fabric called ‘Wallflower’ and a furnishing weight so sturdy enough to cope with carrying spuds! I’d bought offcuts from the Standfast and Barracks factory shop in Lancaster. It’s a wonderful place to find designer fabric seconds. It cost me less than a fiver to make all four bags. Yes, there were a couple of defects in the fabric but for a bag it was fine as I just avoided those areas when cutting out.
The second bag was the same except that I added a couple of internal pockets for a phone and couple of pens. It’s so satisfying making your own stuff, having all the decisions about exactly what to put where and how big to make it! My Mum-in-Law has claimed this one for her laptop.
Bag three was shorter and wider and just right for carrying a crochet project. I used a contrast lining fabric which is a lighter weight 100% cotton print by Tissu de Marie.
Just enough left for one final little bag. I shortened the handles for better proportions and added lots of narrow pockets for storing crochet hooks on one side and a pocket for my row counter and scissors on the other. This one is a perfect size for carrying about Scheepjes Whirls, which is handy as that’s what my next crochet project uses. More on that soon……