Monday, May 15, 2017
Stash Buster: Grocery Totes
I love making grocery totes, especially since I also love using them! I made my first batch from some purchased fabric about 8 years ago, and once I got used to keeping them handy in my car, I use them weekly when I do my marketing. Benefits? No plastic bags to return to the store to recycle! Plus they are portable, reusable, washable (a really big plus in my book!), and they help me keep my fabric stash from taking over the studio! And of course, since I love to dye fabric, it gives me an incentive to dye more, and I sell them at the local gallery and craft shows.
If you sew much, you have probably made a tote or two in your time, so maybe these instructions are not going to get you too excited. But I am going to share my method just in case there is someone reading this who wants to give it a try. Again, I found instructions somewhere on the internet, but have made some modifications over time that I think have improved on the original.
How to make a grocery tote bag
1 piece of fabric, 40” long by 16” wide
2 pieces of ribbon, 19” long by 1 ½” wide
1) Fold fabric in half, lengthwise to create a piece 20” long, matching raw edges.
2) Stitch sides, using ½” seam allowance.
3) Finish raw edges (I used a serger to finish, but you can zigzag or fold under and use a straight stitch if you prefer). Fold edges down 1 ½” and press. Stitch down.
4) At the bottom edge, measuring from the side edge in, then up from the folded edge, draw lines to form a 4” square on each side (I use a template). Cut out square and discard.
5) Fold upper side opening to bottom opening. Pin in place, then stitch. Repeat on the other side. This creates a flat bottom.
6) Finish raw edges of ribbon strips by folding under ¼” and stitching in place. Measure in about 2 ½” from the side seam and mark – this will be where you align the outer edge of your ribbon. Repeat on the opposite side of the front of the bag then repeat on the back side of the bag. Pin one ribbon strip to the front, both edges. Stitch each edge down securely. I stitched in a square, then I crisscrossed to add strength. Repeat for the second ribbon.
Enjoy your tote, and get ready to make more!