Bag versus bag… bag wins.

The weather this past Friday was awful… there were tornado and thunderstorm warnings all day. We spent the day inside… BC spent his time grousing about what was on tv while I groused (to myself) about grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags are wonderful and awful at the same time.  Wonderful because they are so thin and utile.  Awful because they are plastic and will never go away.  You’d think I would have already solved my personal grocery bag dilemma seeing as how I make tote bags and such. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m lazy. Being stuck inside all day with a ton of unfinished housework finally propelled me 3 feet across the office from computer to sewing machine.

My mission: an easy-to-make but strong grocery bag that MC and I will actually use. I had 2 basic patterns in mind: one based on plastic grocery bags, and one tote-bag style. An additional goal was to use stash fabric or recycled fabric.

Bag #1: This first design was based on plastic grocery bags. I took apart a plastic bag to make the pattern. I used a thrifted bed sheet as the fabric of choice.

(no, that is not my hairy arm in the picture!)

Results: Exactly like a plastic grocery bag… except that the handles are a bit cumbersome because fabric doesn’t squish down like plastic does. The recycled bed sheet was awesome except the color and pattern were too emasculating for any man to carry even with the best of green intentions.  At least that was my interpretation of MC’s reaction which went along the lines of “You made this one for me?! Couldn’t you use more macho colors??”

The pattern was also a pain in my neck (except it wasn’t my neck that was in pain, the pain was at the other end of my spine). Curves and single piece handles were awkward and required too much work for my peace of mind.

On to style number 2 (which I was hoping would not be number 2 like the first style).

Bag #2: This design is a tote bag… but different from the style of tote bags that I usually make.

Results: We have a winner (the man held the bag so it looks wonky but it lays perfectly flat). I modified the bag design because the original tote bag I based it on was made from heavier, unlined fabric. I used newly purchased fat quarters for this bag and some muslin from my stash. I didn’t have enough “manly” stash fabric, and Joann’s was having a sale, and BC was pitching a tantrum about something so I distracted him by asking him to pick some fat quarters for daddy. Whew! That was a mouthful… and then we went to the park for 2 hours where I managed to get a sunburn despite being bundled up because it was in the 50’s and the wind was blowing straight through my clothes and I was freezing, and why was I the only one there wearing something heavier than a sweatshirt including my family? Seriously.  They didn’t get a sunburn either.

Bottom line: This style was quick and easy to sew. The seams are strong. The material is strong because it is lined. The handles may be too short but I won’t know till the man actually uses them for groceries. I didn’t tell him about the handles because I didn’t want to influence his evaluation, and I don’t want to take the bag apart to put longer handles in (lazy, remember?). I did manage to use some of my stash… I can use more stash when I make bags for myself seeing as how I like feminine colors and patterns.  And wear sunblock if you are going to spend 2 hours at the park.

As you can see, I liked the pattern enough to duplicate it.

The colors are still “cute” according to the man but what do you expect when you let a 5yo pick them out after you stirred up a hornet’s nest of a temper tantrum… at least they aren’t emasculating pink flowers.

(BTW, BC insisted on putting back his original choice after MC said how much he liked the fabric… me thinks the boy wanted daddy to suffer.)

The house is still a mess… I’m thinking I need at least 10 of these bags!


4 thoughts on “Bag versus bag… bag wins.

  1. Your grocery bags look much more cheery than the plain green ones with store logo I bought for $1 each at my grocery. But they are very sturdy and good for the environment; I always keep them in the back of my car so I won’t forget to use them. They are rectangular at the bottom, like a paper grocery bag, and have a cardboard insert to make them stronger. Food for thought for your next bags!

  2. I’ve thought about doing this also, since the ones I’ve see looks so plain. But I guess they’re plain so that guys will be willing to carry them! Interesting that the handles are too wide – I wouldn’t have thought of that! The pink one is cute enough to just carry around like a purse. :o)

  3. Love the bags…and you know how much I love bags of all kinds ;o) Great fabrics too! Glad to see you back and posting…We’re off on vacation later this week, but I hope to post while away. See you soon! ((HUGS))

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