When Sew, Mama, Sew! launched their re-useable bag sew-off they included a number of links to tutorials. When I set out to make mine, I, of course, had to make one of each, even though it would have been so much easier and faster to choose one and put them together in an assembly line (I am trying to learn to accept this “let’s find the hardest way possible and take that route” part of my personality….)
Anyway, I tried all three tutorials with the plan of sticking with the one I liked the best. Although they were all great, each one had something about it that I wanted to change. So, in the end, I kind of combined them all together into one hybrid bag that will now be my standard fabric bag pattern. Here’s the line-up:
This bag was super-quick and super-easy. There was even a how-to video to watch, although I just used the printable directions. If you wanted to make a whole bunch of bags in a really short period of time, this would be the one to make. The only problem with this one for me was that the ends were all left unfinished. With the non-fraying fabric I chose when making this one, it’s not really an issue. But if I wanted to make it out of a fabric prone to fraying (like the decorator fabric I used for two of my other bags) I would have had to do something about it. There are easy ways to fix this, but it would increase the time it would take to make the bag, and it would make it look a lot like:
This bag took a little more time than the Green Bag Lady’s but with a more polished result. French seams took care of the exposed seam issue and I love the look of all the extra stitching. My only problem with this bag is that there is no bottom. The straight sides are perfect for carrying all sorts of things, and I would happily use this bag for everything except for groceries, but I really like the flat bottom for grocery bags. There is a very quick fix to this problem, but then the bag would be almost exactly like…
Irene’s Classic Tote
This tutorial is very similar to the one above, but with the addition of a pocket on the front (which I left off mine) and the handles are done a little differently. This was definitely my favourite handle and my favourite way to do the top seams (it’s the same process as the Morsebag but done after sewing the side seams which I think makes it look a lot neater.) I am really just being picky when I say I have a problem with this bag, but I don’t like the look of the triangle seams on the inside of the bag. I know, I know, no-one is going to be looking at the bottom of the bag, but I know they are there and for some odd reason it bothers me.
All 3 are great bags, and I could be happy with any of them. In fact a lot of the bags I use on a daily basis have unfinished seams and triangles on the inside and I never noticed or cared, but for some reason when I am sewing it myself I notice every little detail (see “hardest possible way” comment, above). But since I am terribly particular (and trying to love myself anyway), this is the “hybrid” bag I came up with.
Start with a square of fabric 18 – 20 inches depending on the size you want your fabric, or the width of the fabric scrap you are trying to use up.
Cut 2.5 inch squares out of the bottom. (This is from the Green Bag Lady).
Sew French Seams on the sides and bottom. (From Morsebags and Classic Tote)
Back to the Green Bag Lady. Squish the bottom seams together and sew first wrong sides together:
Then right sides together:
To make a nice French Seam on the bottom.
Complete the top and handles according to the Classic Tote.
Ta-da!! From this:
So now I have 5 bags ready to go, a new go-to tote pattern, and a better understanding of my all-too-picky-and-perfectionistic self! Not bad for a day’s work! Hey…if you’re out there and still using plastic bags – stop! Grab some fabric and a sewing machine (or a sewing friend) and whip up a few bags, even a beginner could make these in less than an hour. Call it a Christmas present for the planet!