Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Completed the Grocery Bags!

So here was the plan for sewing tonight.....finish a half started project of recovering the dining room chairs.   More on that later (below).  Here is what actually happened, you'll be so proud.  I actually finished a project.  The grocery bags!  Remember from last post, I said I have several more to finish with putting the handles on.  Well, I went down to start the chairs, figuring I'll grab a bag every so often and finish a strap here and there.  Then I decided, NO MORE....must finish projects.....MUST!

So I am proud (and tired) to say, I completed all the grocery bags.  I ended us using old blue jean legs as straps on several but I love the rugged quality it gives to the plaid.  I left a lot of raw edges too, so they would fray over time.  I started out sewing tubes to turn them and encase the seams but that was a bear to turn such a thick fabric, so then I started to just leave a raw seam.

Several of these are oddball bags that are short and squat and should be perfect for carrying cans....or maybe even casseroles, hmm?  I put a pillow in them to show how they are more square in shape than regular grocery bad shape.

These are the regular type grocery bags.  I went with longer handles on some...

and shorter handles on others.

It is actually funny....I usually am sewing away on a project and then say "OMG, it's after midnight!".  Tonight, as I was finishing up the last one (because I refused to quit), I had the feeling of "OMG, it is probably around 1:30, oh well, I am finishing these!".  So then I came upstairs to find it was only 10:30.  Just goes to show, not all sewing is is a frame of mind.  They were really easy to sew, but did I mention that I did 16 in total?  Whew, glad to be done.

So on to the dining chairs project.....tomorrow.  I'm tired now.  Here is a little peek to get you interested.

I had a little story behind these chairs in a previous post  and if you compare this photo with the previous photo, you'll see why white chairs just don't work with kids.  Probably nothing my carpet cleaner won't cure, but I really want to go with some color.

So what do you think?  Too much?  This is just draped on and I've actually had the bottom red fabric stapled in place for several months now  (I know, total clash), but I have yet to sew and attach the checked fabric to the back and legs.  Maybe still a total clash....

I'll admit it is a little loud but I think I love it.  Call me crazy.  Hopefully I'll be able to finish these tomorrow and you can see how I've "pared down" the dining room to get ready to list the town house.  Hopefully right after Christmas!

Cloth grocery bags

Say it ain't so.  

Me....the thrifty one, the upcycler, the frugal fanny, the sewer, the make everything yourself person, the owner of enough fabric to officially be considered a hoarder....yes me.  I must admit, I still use the store provided plastic bags.  Until now.  I am almost done with 16, yes 16 lovely, handmade cloth grocery bags.  Could I have bought reusable grocery bags at the store long ago?  Yes, but that is not the point.

Although I have over 60 sewing projects lined up (cut out only) for this blog, I chose to ease my way out of my recent slump with a project that has been on my to do list for a long time.  I actually had several bags started from over a year ago just lying in a box with all the other fabric I had planned for the venture.  When I was unloading the sewing room to move some things (okay, everything) to the storage unit so we can list the town house for sale, I came across a banker box of the fabrics.

I mentioned before, in my recent attempt to get going again with sewing, I cut out a ton of projects at once and noticed how the cut out projects take up so much less room.  My thought was the same here.  I have a whole banker box full of single curtain toppers and table clothes that will end up yielding a pile of bags that will easily wad into a small corner of the trunk.  And I mentioned it as a "make everything pretty" project long without further ado, this little stack that previously filled an entire banker box.  16 bags in all.

This one is actually doubled fabric, so super strong, since it was a single window valance.  It is one of the ones that I started a while back and just needed to find something to sew on for a bottom.  Looking back, I should have cut it apart and been able to make four bags instead of two (thinner, though).    But these will be perfect for heavy cans.

I sewed on the handles using a triple stitch on my sewing machine in an X pattern like you typically see.  I like that this handle is a reversible so it gives a peek of a different look.

Another valance, so doubled fabric and two bags.

And another valance that yields 2 bags.

The rest of these are a single fabric layer but nice thick woven fabrics that started life as a table cloths.  I did try to use a piece of blue jean left over from another project for the handles on this one.

I just used an existing shopping bag as a pattern for these, very loosely used.  I didn't sweat it if my fabric came up short, I just made a shorter bag, for some of these.  So I had one long rectangle for the front, back and bottom, and a skinny short rectangle for each side.  For the single layer bags, I folded over a hem on the top for strength.  For the already double layer bags, the top was already a fold, so no need to hem.

As you can see, on most of these for the handles, I was able to turn to another stash of thrift store items that I had been saving for another purpose...belts.  No more saving things for later unless later is already on the to do list.  Nothing is sacred any more....that's how things never happen.  Besides, I can always buy more if that other project comes to life.

I have a ton of these belts that are lovely colorful gross grain slide buckle types.  I have them for straps on the daughters dresses that I make, but like I said, I can always find more.  Upon closer inspection, most of these are just nice thick gross grain ribbon sewn double, or even with a strip of pleather in the middle for strength.  For the purposes of these bags, one ply handles should be fine.  It is really thick ribbon, not a the thin stuff used for hair bows.  So I got to work with my trusty stitch picker and was able to made a single belt work for two bags.  I also like the way the colors worked together.  Not a perfect match but just close enough to make the bags interesting.

I still have a few to sew handles on, but these will be my new shopping companions.

I always felt guilty for not using reusable but insisted that I could make my own.  Follow through feels great.  I am not sure what they cost to buy, I guess it depends on where you buy, and in the long run, these may have cost me more.  I highly doubt it though.  I don't look at it that way anyway, I'll be able to use these for everything, not just groceries.  And they are unique and I can say I made them.  And hey, one less box to store.