Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reusable Grocery Sack Tutorial

 This project has been sitting in various places around my house for nearly 3 years.  I just never made time for it after my initial attempts.  So I am quite proud that I actually finished and got these shirts OUT of my stash :)

WARNING:  This project is purely utilitarian.  These shirts are not cute, in fact, they may be considered downright ugly.  You may also need sunglasses if you want to make it all the way through the tutorial sans migraine.

The hubby works in the highways department for the local county, he is required to wear brightly colored, headache inducing shirts so that he is clearly visible when he works outside.  When they switched from bright orange to fluorescent yellow, we were left with all these orange shirts that had the county emblem slapped on the pocket.  I decided save them to make reusable grocery bags.

I made 3 attempts to create a workable bag design way back when.  The first two were hardly big enough to hold one box of cereal, and it is a bad idea to serge around the top of the bag/handles (no stretch).

At least the 3rd attempt couldn't be accused of being too small, ha ha.  That is when I gave up.

 I fixed attempt #3 with some elastic, and I kind of like it now.  But I still went back to the drawing board on the design that I wanted.

This time I drew my inspiration from "real" grocery bags.  The plastic kind you get from the store that have already had their designs tested numerous times.  This time I met success :)

 So without further ado, the Grocery Sack Tutorial.

Take your shirt, ugly or cute, and lay it out flat.
 Measure and cut a 20" x 20" square.
 Make marks 4" in from the sides on the top and bottom.
 Fold over the edge on both sides, like it is on the left in the picture.
 Use a grocery bag to trace out the handles and cut them out.

 Unfold the edges.  If you are going to be making several bags, use this one as a pattern to cut out the rest.

Sew across the handles at the top and sew or serge down the sides.
 Turn the bag inside out,

 Fold in the edges again, and sew or serge across the bottom.
 Clip threads or tuck in the tails. 
 Flip it right side out and you're done!  I chose to sew a quick seam across the handles to keep them straight.