Holiday sewing - and of course the requisite “test versions” for myself.
I made the bags grocery size for long hauls to and from the grocery store, and to accommodate school books and papers to grade. One sister-in-law takes community college classes and the other is an elementary teacher. The last few years I’ve been in the tote-making Christmas present business, so no surprises. I have yet to mail third sister-in-law hers, I have to decided on which color.
The fabric is laminate Echino from StoneMountain in Berkeley and cost a whopping $27 per yard. I can fit 2 bags per yard. I realized late in the process that everyone else was buying the fabric for tablecloths. A cute ladies-who-lunch type was asking about my project in case her husband doesn’t like the table cloth fabric.
Step 1: Make the pattern from a paper grocery bag.
Step 2: Attach straps
I used 1 inch nylon webbing, bought by the yard, cut in 18-24 inch pieces, depending on preferred strap length. 18 inch strap seems standard, I like 24 inch length for carring to and fro from grocery store. I use extra strong thread and a size 18 needle. I sealed the edges of straps from fraying with a button hole stitch, and then attached near the top of the tote with an X shape, perfected via backstitching.
Step 3: Stitch the side seams and bottom seam (unless you cut on the fold, in which case not necessary.
Step 4: Fold and top stitch around the edge. Beware pressing laminate fabric with the iron.
Step 5: Pinch the corners and sew the sides and bottom together to form a T. Excuse the wonky stitching, I was lazy with the tension.
Viola! The best part of these bags is that no lining is needed and the laminate makes ironing mostly unnecessary. I did do some ironing from the back before sewing.