Bagging it up

No one can go completely zero waste in one go. It takes time and it takes effort. The good news though, is that small things can make a big impact. Small things like bringing your own bag to the shop.

Since the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge here in the UK, there has been an emphasis on reusing plastic bags or even bringing your own cloth bag. Most of us now have a wide collection of “bag for life”‘s under the sink. But how often do we remember to take them with us?

How many of us have left a shop juggling our purhases because we don’t want to have to buy yet another bag?

Hmm, yes I thought as much 🙂

So……for the first day of this year’s ZWW I’m going to help you make a shopping bag that you can keep in your handbag. As long as you remember to put it back in your handbag once you’ve used it, you can tick off “refuse plastic bags at the checkout” from your Zero Waste checklist. Result!

You will need:

  • a piece of fabric (I used an old quilt cover)
  • Needle and thread
  • sewing machine (or you can handsew if you prefer)
  • an iron
  • A button
  • A piece of elastic/ribbon 8cm long

Instructions

  • Prewash your fabric if necessary
  • Measure and cut 2 pieces of fabric, 2 handles and 2 pieces of lining (not shown in picture) My fabric measured 45cms x 35cms and my handles measured 60cms x 6cms


Handles

  • Fold the straps in half lengthwise marking the centre fold line. Open up and fold the edges in to touch the fold line.

  • Fold in half again and press to conceal all raw edges

  • Sew all the way down the open edge

Main Bag

  • Measure 8cms in from both top edges of your main bag fabric and pin the short strap edge, taking care not to twist the strap
  • Pin the elastic/ribbon to the centre of the top edge on one piece.

  • Lay one bag piece right side (RS) to right side with one lining piece. I’ve used an old piece of fabric for the lining as it was what I had to hand. An old bedsheet is perfect for lining bags like this.

  • Sew (I used a 1.5cm seam allowance (SA) along the top edge catching the handles and the elastic. For added strength you can sew the very edges to the SA on the lining

  • Lay the “half bag” you have made down flat RS up and place the second piece RS down on top.
  • Match up seams and sew all the way around leaving a gap the width of your hand at the bottom of the lining (between the two black lines on the picture)

  • Clip the corners to get a sharper corner then turn right side out through the gap.

  • Sew the gap closed and tuck the lining into the bag.


  • Place the bag on the table with the elastic side up
  • Mark a dot 10cms up from the bottom of the bag in the centre

  • Sew a button at this spot. Make sure you sew it well as it will take quite a bashing if you use the bag a lot.

Folding your bag:

  1. Fold on long side into the centre by a third
  2. Fold the other side in over the top
  3. Fold the bottom up a third to reveal the button
  4. Fold the top down and tie the button.

(Or you can follow the picture below)

  • Pop in your handbag and voila!

I’d love to see pictures of your bag if you make one.

4 thoughts on “Bagging it up”

  1. I LOVE this; the pics are amazing, the instructions are clear, I’m crap at sewing but I’m totally inspired! Thanks hon x

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