Save a Tree: Make a Reusable Grocery Bag

comments (8) June 2nd, 2008     

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Shannon_Dennis Shannon Dennis, contributor
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This Think Green grocery bag has a terrific quilt-as-you-go technique.
Customers choose colors and prints with Lois from Fabric Obsession.
The beautiful quilts on the wall of Fabric Obsession provide
inspiration. That’s all of my stuff on the table set up for class.
The customers lined up after picking up their kits and choosing fabrics. Everyone looks excited to get sewing!
This Think Green grocery bag has a terrific quilt-as-you-go technique.

This Think Green grocery bag has a terrific quilt-as-you-go technique.

Photo: Shannon Dennis

This year, Arbor Day held special meaning in my life. I always try to be more conscientious about the environment and take action to be less wasteful and more conscious of what I use, and this year, I got to combine it with my favorite hobby—sewing! My friends at Fabric Obsession in Medina, Ohio, invited me to the shop for Arbor Day to share my Think Green grocery bag with their customers. The bag is designed to replace the paper or plastic bags you get from the grocery store. There are a ton of designs for green grocery bags online, but the bag I did features a super-cool, quilt-as-you-go technique that excited everyone.

Fabric Obsession created kits of the project and even included a brand-new eco canvas as the lining! They had a sale on Bamboo Batting as well as my books, Sew Hip and Your Space. Cookies and coffee topped off the day. The ladies had a blast, and I made some new friends!

Sewing can be a wonderful way to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Take an old pair of jeans and make a skirt, or turn an old book bag into a messenger bag. Reconstruct garments to fit better or take on a new purpose in life. Cover a hole with a snazzy embroidery, or hand-appliqué a patch. There are so many choices!

posted in: bag, totebag, think green grocery bag

Comments (8)

ChildfreeTrophyWife writes: Thanks so much for the quick reply Shannon. Your ideas make sense and would totally work so I'm off to shop around in my own sewing stash.
Posted: 7:07 pm on August 29th
Shannon_Dennis writes: ChildfreeTrophyWife - I would say that if you can use this pattern but instead of using a batting, use a canvas material you'll be in better shape for your heavy items. You also may want to consider either a thicker cotton thread (30 weight) or a polyester thread. These will be more helpful in the construction of a bag that you know will be used for heavy things.
Posted: 9:20 am on August 27th
ChildfreeTrophyWife writes: I'm very keen on making my own bags to use. However, I need quite a few bags and they all also must be strong enough to hold three 2 liter bottles of soda. I'm wondering if it's more a question of sewing seams well and not so much material (although a non-flimsy material is best I'm sure).
Posted: 11:28 pm on August 26th
Shannon_Dennis writes: Awesome ideas!
Posted: 9:27 am on July 1st
Tetamalu writes: At a recent fund raiser we decided to go green and not offer plastic bags for purchases--but offerer for purchase some stunning embroidered canvas totes we made. It worked!

If our tote bags are stylish and attractive soon they will become a fashion status symbol! The possibilities are endless.
Posted: 3:48 pm on June 12th
Monica in Maryland writes: I find that when I bring my own re-usable bags to the store that I am more thoughtful about what I purchase, because I don't want to get more than will fit in those bags. I am saving money and wasting less food by having fewer impulse purchases.
Posted: 10:37 pm on June 4th
Joanne2493 writes: Where can I find the directions for this quilt as you go bag?
It looks great and I would love to be able to make it. Please help me out.
Posted: 4:01 pm on June 4th
SimpleGirl writes: I think this is a wonderful thing to do - whether you are green or not. I have been making these for years as gifts in funky denim (durable) with trims - for both men and women.
I found a subdued denim pinstripe for my "executive" brother, some metallic denim for my "cool" sister. I cannot tell you how many people stop and ask - where did you get your bags? (I usually make 4-6 per person) They are more durable - I can carry so much more in one trip to the house.
Posted: 5:31 pm on June 3rd
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