Grocery Totes

Holiday sewing  -  and of course the requisite “test versions” for myself.

Sleigh with presents and family photos courtesy of my mother.

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.

My methods:

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.

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