One of my graduate students is from Israel, and she hosted a get together for my lab on Sunday night to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. (Shana Tova to my Jewish friends out there.) I wanted to bring her a hostess gift. She is very "green." That is to say, she is very environmentally conscious in every way.
I had recently purchased the Grocery Bag pattern from Michelle Patterns on Etsy. I thought it was a really cute grocery bag and that such bags might make great gifts for my secretaries this Christmas. So, I decided to sew a couple up for my student, as a practice run. (I'm not really sure what has gotten into me...thinking of Christmas so early and actually doing something about it so early! I might have to make a visit to the ER later today and find out what's going on with me! LOL)
I picked out the main flower fabric (which is Soul Blossoms from Amy Butler) because it just looked like something my student would enjoy. I chose Piccadilly Circle from Northcott for the handles and lining. I really liked how these fabrics coordinated together. I think the bags turned out really cute. I wanted to keep them for myself. LOL. But, instead, I gave her this nice little matching pair of bags.
The pattern contains instructions for three sizes of bags: small, medium, and large. The bag on the right in this photo is a small. The bag on the left in this photo is a medium. (The Cheerios box inside is one of the pretty large boxes of cereal.) It's about the size of a plastic grocery store bag. I like the size of it. It's a good size for groceries. The bag on the right might be most useful if you're stopping at the drug store for a few things.
The bags are quite floppy. See? They were tricky to photograph! Haha! Michelle notes in her pattern that these are supposed to be very floppy and crushable. Easy to throw in the car, wad up, or throw in the washer. If you are looking for a stand-up-by-itself sort of bag, this is not it. That's okay. I was going for an easy, floppy bag.
Although I like bags with more body many times, sometimes I do want one that's easy to wad up and toss inside another bag or in the back of my car. And, the fact that there is no interfacing or batting in these makes them pretty fast and easy to sew up. And not too expensive to make, either. This is just what I'm after for Christmas gifts that I have to make multiples of.
Here is one that Sweet Pea is holding up for me. (She still has her jammies on! haha!) I really like the shape of this bag. There is a bottom that's akin to a box bottom, but not quite. It's very much like a bottom you'd find on the plastic grocery store bag. It's very functional. And, this bottom is very, very easy to shape. If you are a beginner at making bags or anything 3-D (ahem....Rene'), this is a PERFECT starter bag. Super easy to make.
I like the shape of the handles. They are also easy to make. The bag is actually reversible, if you want the lining side to show. Every seam in the bag is sewn twice, and in some cases more. So, I feel like the bag will be pretty sturdy for hauling groceries.
The pattern said that the medium bag fit nicely on the store's bag holders for loading. So, I took it to the grocery store to find out. Yes, I got a few strange looks taking my camera out and shooting photos in the check-out line. The bag worked quite nicely on the bag holder. Very functional.
The pattern says the bag takes about an hour to make. I would agree with that. The first one took me a little longer, but the second one took me a little less than an hour, I think. (Of course, I cut it out when I cut the first one out, so that could be the discrepancy.) I think it will be an excellent Christmas gift for my secretaries and is something I can accomplish.
For the medium-sized bag, you need 1/2 yard of fabric for the outside and 1 yard of fabric for the lining and handles. So, that's about a $15 gift, not including thread and labor. I think this makes a very nice gift for $15.
And....when I was buying my fabric, I ended up getting 2/3 yard of the outside fabric. Why? Don't laugh. When the gal went to cut it, I noticed she'd cut right up through the words and color dots on the selvage if I only got 1/2 yard. So, I had her go to the end of the words and cut there. That way I could have better selvages to play with. How bad is that?! Well, that gave me 2/3 yard. The long and short of it is, I was able to make BOTH of these bags from 2/3 yard of the flower fabric and 1 yard of the lining fabric. Now that's TWO bags for $17 or so. Not bad at all!
I liked this pattern very much. It's a good price, and a PDF download. There are very clear instructions, and there are accompanying photos/drawings that illustrate the steps. Making the bag bottom is super duper easy. If I make these assembly-line style, I bet I could make them even faster. I like the pattern enough I'm considering finding a plastics guy and having plasting templates made for the handle patterns. Then, those would be fast and easy to cut. (Having said that, the cutting is easy. You cut four handles for each bag, and they are curvy. That's why I think a plastic template would be useful. The rest is just rectangles that are really easy to cut.)
I would recommend this pattern if you are looking for a floppy, "green" grocery bag that is quick, easy, and realtively inexpensive to make. It doesn't require any of special notions or products (like some grocery bag patterns do--such as webbing). It's a great beginner project that gives you a pretty good bang for your time and buck. The gal at the grocery store even commented on how pretty the bags were.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the pattern and supplies to make this with my own money.
I hope you found this review helpful!
I didn't get a lot accomplished this weekend. I have a little bit more to show you, but not much. Come back on Really Kinda Random Thursday, and I will have a few photos from Rosh Hashanah.
Until next time,
P.S. My student did say she LOVED these when she received them. That was nice.