Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grocery Bag Tutorial

Well I promised I would show you them when they were done, but i am going to do one better and show you how to make them.

 First I am going to say that making a tutorial is a ton of work, I now have a new appreciation for all of the online tutorials I have used! So if any of you want to mail me checks for this I will accept them. ( I am kidding of course)

OK here we go....

amount of fabric you need.
1/2 yard of two different kinds of fabric 
or 1 yard of fabric
 First lets make a pattern.

1. Find a grocery bag from your favorite store.
2. Cut The seam off the bottom of the bag.
3. Open the Bag up.
4. Fold it in half. You only have to do this step if you want. I just like to cut things on the fold because it is faster.
5. draw this shape out on some freezer paper, or news paper, or whatever you use to draw out patterns.
6. Woo hoo we have a pattern! make sure you specify on the pattern what side is the fold. :)

Cut it out
Make sure that you don't cut the fold! Cut one for the bag, one for the lining, and keep a scrap for your loop.
you don't have to use contrasting designs but i think it makes them fun.

Lets' Start Sewing
                                                                    Sew both bags right sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance and sew only where I have put red marks. Do not sew your handles shut.  Also that little scrap I had you set aside. (it really can be whatever size you want but about a inch and a half wide and a few inches long.) fold it in half then stitch along the bottom and one side so that you can turn it inside out. I like to use my embroidery scissors to turn my loops inside out. They are super handy scissors that I use mostly for trimming threads but i also use them to rip out seams when I make mistakes. (although I never make a mistake so that should read, they are the scissors I would use to take out seams)
Let me show you how I make the bottom of this bag
This has to be one of the best parts! This is how I do the bottom of a lot of bags I make, it keeps them from looking dorky with those silly points poking out each side on the bottom of the bag. First make a pattern, I cut mine out of some junk mail. Any way take a corner of any piece of paper and measure three inches up on both sides and cut it straight across. TA-DA! You have a corner! So exciting. Now  for the hard part. You need to match the side seam up with the bottom seam, flatten it out and draw the line you need to sew on. for dark fabrics I use the white crayon from my daughters crayon box (she never uses white anyways) and if you didn't know, it is also great to use on clothes you want to put an embroidery design on because you can iron it and it magically disappears (only the white one though, don't go marking up your favorite jeans with the red crayon) I stumbled upon this one day and have been so amused with it ever since. So you draw your line and then you sew on the line then you cut off the point.  Do this for the bag and the liner.

But not quite. So we need to sew the liner to the bag. To do this you need to turn one of them right side out. (admire it because you can now you can see what it is going to look like.) Put the bag you turned right side out, inside of the other bag. I pin the bag at the seams to make sure they are going to line up and the tops of the handles so that I know not to sew them shut. also you want to pin your loop in now too. it should go in the center, make sure the loop is inside. Now sew the front, back and sides leaving all of these areas open...
 The first photo is where you will turn the bag inside out and the other four are the handles I will show you how to finish these off in a minute.
REFILL YOUR COFFEE CUP! so if you don't drink coffee, I am not sure you should be reading my blog. What kind of person doesn't drink coffee... oh yes My sister, so I guess there are some cool people out there that can't stand the taste of coffee, so for all of you, open a coke or make some cocoa or hot tea for this step, but make sure you don't miss it because you will need it later on in this tutorial.
Clip Your Curves!
This isn't necessary for your finished product it will just make it so much easier when you flip your bag right side out to iron it. It keeps the bag from being all bunchy on the curved parts of the bag so it will lay flat and smooth. Really you can iron it into submission but this is much easier, you just clip your curves up to the seam but try not to cut thru the seam on all of your curved spots. There should be 6 separate spots that you clip.

Now it is time to Flip your bag inside out and then Iron.
 Make sure that when you Iron that you fold the raw seam in where you turned the bag right side out and then only on the front side of the bag fold the raw seam in on the top of the handle piece. leave the handle pieces on the back side out.

I don't know about you but I LOVE me some button holes. now these serve a great purpose and it isn't for buttons. These button holes are to keep your bag up on the bag rack at the store so that the checker isn't fighting with it the whole time s/he is trying to pack up your groceries that is also what the loop is for that you sewed in earlier. :) I pick the largest button hole my machine will do (it is about an inch long) and start the button hole three inches down from the top of the handle piece. (the one's with the raw seam showing.)

I think we should finish off these handles how about you?

So really it is pretty easy, you just poke the side that has the raw edge, inside the side you folded in earlier and pin it so it doesn't move on you. (you will remove the pins after we are finished sewing for comfort)

Oooh ooh we are picking out top stitching!!! 
So to sew the top of the handles I like to use the back stitching zigzag. It makes it super durable so they don't come apart on you and the rest of the top stitching I do just the back stitching straight stitch. I utilize both of these stitches a ton. They are probably my favorite two stitches! For the handles I like to make sure that the zigzag is right on the edge of where my fabric is folded over and in, and for the rest of the top stitching I get as close as I can feel comfortable getting to the edge. I like it to be right at the edge of the bag. But you can do your top stitching however you want, but it needs to be done to close up the gap you have from turning your bag right side out.
This is how mine normally turns out. (yes my zigzag is a little crooked, it happens, you know what, I am not sorry)
The Inevitable Gnarly Rats Nest
 It is bound to happen at one time or another, and for me it always happens when I am doing my top stitching. I am sure My machine does this to me, just to bunch up my panties. This one was a doozie as I had to rebuild my bobbin casing. I literally had three inches of stitching left to go before the bag was done.
(This is why I told you to get some coffee. I downed the rest of my cup at this point)

yes it is hanging by it's button holes and it's loop. :)

Now this is my first tutorial ever.... so sorry if it is a bit confusing. I can tell you I will never write a book about sewing projects. And it might be awhile before I do another tutorial. If you have any questions where I was not clear about something, don't hesitate to ask. I will try to clarify. Good luck and Happy sewing..