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Topic: how to make canvas shopping bags?  (Read 1082 times)
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« on: November 01, 2006 01:40:14 PM »

has anyone made reuseable shopping bags? i would like to make some to take to the grocery, since they're kind of expensive to buy premade. i imagine i could find a pattern online, but advice would be good, since i want them to last a long time.

i figure i'll use canvas or denim or something heavy like that. i've never sewn heavy-duty fabric on my sewing machine...any tips on thread, technique, etc.??
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2006 01:27:57 PM »

This isn't about canvas, but you could try getting some old, colourful plastic bags and cut them starting at the top and spiralling town to get some long plastic strips. Knot them togather t oget a very long pice of plastic and knit. Recycled reusable.

Love Sarahx

ps try posting this in the bag section for my replies?

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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2006 04:32:56 PM »

Well, I have made a bunch of tote bags in my time (all without patterns), and I realized that gemoetry classes didn't totally go to waste.
       To make your bags, find a heavy fabric, like denim or something similar.
Fold it in two, right sides together.
Draw a square, slightly bigger than what you want it to be.
On the left or right side of the square, keeping the same height, trace a rectangle. This will be the depth of your bag.
When you have cut all of them out, you will have four peices - two squares, two rectangles.
Trace one more of the rectangles - this will be the bottom of your bag.
You can make the rectangles out of different fabrics if you want, to add a bit of funkiness.
If you are using a less strong fabric, you can do what I did with mine - sew on an equal sized peice of crafting foam, cardboard or any other thick, stiff material onto the bottom rectangle peice.
Now all you have to do is pin the rectangles to the sides of the bag squares, sew them together (the bottom is a bit tricky) and then hem the top of the bag.
Oh yeah, you might want to add on some handles made from a cord belting, attatching by sewing squares instead of just one lame line of stitching. Wink

For the thread and all, just use regular denim needles, and there are even special denim threads you can buy for jeans. It doesn't really matter that much, actually. My advice - when working with denim or any heavy fabric, start off slowly, and when you are turning up edges and sewing over an exsisting seam, when you first come up to it, stop your machine and just use the wheel and get over it using that method. If you use your wheel, you can jam up your machine. Last of all, don't forget to clean it before or after doing a large project like that so you don't have as much of a risk of messing up your machine.
I learned the hard way.

Hopefully this helps.
Sorry if it's hard to understand Tongue
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006 04:36:36 PM by bizooey » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2006 06:59:46 AM »

thanks, those instructions make sense to me. the bottom part of the bag is what confuses me most...i'll just have to try some ideas out.

i can't believe i missed the bag folder...i looked through everything to find the most relevant folder and must have skipped that one.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2006 04:40:18 PM »

all the ones we have made from calico (lighter than denim or canvas) have lasted for yeeeeears.

my aunt made WICKED calico ones one year. she carefully slit apart a regular plastic shopping bag, and traced the shapes. then cut them out of calico, overlocked the bits that wouldn't get sewn together, and sewed the rest.

these are my absolkute favourites because a) they fit in the little frame the checkout chick puts the bags in to fill them; and b) the handles are nice and thick/ padded, so no ouchies on your hands! i have other calico tote bags, and the thin (inch wide?) handles cut in a bit.

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