Shopping bags – for the environment!!

Grocery Bags

Austin recently enacted a ban on all disposable plastic shopping bags at grocery and retail stores.

Now, I know that in Europe and other progressively minded places elsewhere in the world this is the norm. You can’t just go buy your granola and yogurt and expect them to give you a bag for free in Prague or wherever. You either gotta buy a bag or carry that crap home on the metro while people give you weird looks (not that that’s happened to me…).

Well, it’s a new thing here, and while I do have some re-usable bags I always forget to bring them in the car/store.

Clutch Grocery Bag

No more available litter box cat poo bags plastic shopping bags are a good excuse to make some fun new bags, amiright!?

I took a class at Stitch Lab to sew these bags which I really think was great for helping to get my sewing mojo back. It was nice being in the company of other sewists and with no home distractions and I could totally focus on my sewing project.

And, randomly, someone there recognized me from my blog. It was pretty awkward ’cause that hasn’t ever really happened and I didn’t know how to respond, really, but it was nice. (Hi Becky!)

I texted Justin about that and his response was to send me the Kristen-Stewart-Lazy-Clapping-at-the-Oscars-gif. Thanks, babe…

Another woman in my class asked for my blog address but after I gave it to her I realized my most recent post had been about undies and felt the need to warn her and explain myself lest she thinks she landed on some strange webpage… more awkward! (“I’m not wearing them, they’re like, on a table…”)

Clutch Grocery Bag

But back to the important bits – I bought both patterned fabrics from Remnants, another store in town (who also finished my quilt).

Clutch Grocery Bag

The class offered two patterns to use: one tote bag style that folds into a cute clutch, and a second bag that is modeled after the classic plastic bag shape so it can fit nicely on the bag holder stands at the self checkout line.

Clutch Grocery Bag

The clutch/tote is very similar to this Heather Bailey design with a couple minor differences (thanks Susan, for finding that one for me!)

Grocery Bag

As for the other bag, I’ve yet to find a pre-made pattern like it but this tutorial is similar. I don’t know if someone at Stitch Lab designed this pattern or if they got it from a book or something. If you know a pattern like this tell me about it so I can put up a link in case others want to make one. 😉

Grocery Bag

The teacher suggested we add a loop of elastic at the center bottom so we can roll up the bags and use the elastic to hold it all together when the bag isn’t being used.

Grocery Bag Roll-Up

Both were pretty quick to make and now they’re going into the back seat of my car. Maybe next time I’ll remember to get them out before I walk into the store…

***On a side note, I also made my necklace! It’s just three wooden beads connected by some wire and strung on a chain, simple but cute!

  • Www how i Love Sewing classes.. They do wonders … I love both your bags.. I call them ecobags. I have a few but now I got to make some cute ones .. It’s really weird being recognised. Actually happen to me today, a lady came to me and said, I was in one of your swaps and show me the photos of what she made.. I was so proud.. Gave her a big hug.. Hopefully she won’t find me weird …

  • Mary Mudrick

    This might be helpful for the second bag… http://intergalactictransport.blogspot.com/2011/12/bodega-bags.html

  • Rain B

    Man… I hope that doesn’t happen here. We re-use all of our plastic bags and have never thrown any away unless they were ripped or finally used for something icky. There are tons of other disposable things I think they will never get rid of. We will have to end up buying plastic bags for our garbages. Here is a great video about plastic bags:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDBtCb61Sd4

  • ninojac

    cute bags! I thought I heard that a bill has been introduced in the TX legislature to make it illegal to “outlaw/ban” plastic bags. Not sure if I heard correctly. No ban her in n. central TX where I live. Sometimes I do take my own cloth bags, but I always like to have enough plastic ones to line small trash cans, scoop poop, etc.

  • Very cute! I like the floral print you chose and they look very useful. They’re going to start charging for bags in the SF area any day now as well, so this post is great inspiration!

  • foursquarewalls

    I’ve been thinking about sewing some reusable bags to use up some fabric scraps (double environment benefit, yes?). Though I use my other reusables all the time, we still somehow have acquired a mountain of plastic under our kitchen sink. I have this See & Sew shopping bag pattern (http://butterick.mccall.com/b5413-products-10518.php?page_id=678) — it looks a lot like the one you made in class. I should try it!

  • i as

    🙂 I sew this bag at the same time 🙂

    http://naehfabrik.forumprofi.de/galerie-f55/ias-galerie-t715-s90.html

    Greetings, Inge

  • Ooh, these are so cute! I should make a couple… I’m always misplacing my reusables, too.

  • hey, that one looks almost identical, mine doesn’t have a pocket but other than that it’s the same, thanks! i’ve got so many plastic bags i think it’ll take me year to use them all up for tiny trashcans and litter box cleanings.

  • thanks! yeah, i think for now it’s just a city of austin thing. if it ever happened in other parts of the state it would probably be years from now. you know, austin’s pretty liberal about stuff like this.

  • thanks! the floral reminded me of retro sheets. not surprised about SF, actually I’m more surprised it didn’t happen sooner. 😉

  • thanks mary, those look very similar. 🙂

  • Dixie is officially a rockstar! How cool that you were recognized. And I would give you a much better clapping than Kristen Stewart. Much better.

    I give people the same disclaimer when I introduce them to my blog – I make bras and undies but I’m not a perve!

    Glad your mojo is slowly coming back Dixie.

  • You had me cracking up reading this post, the undies part especially! I like the fabrics you combined to make the bags, so much nicer than the typical black things!

  • Very cute bags! I love the practical little extras!

  • Very cute! Plastic is verboten here in Seattle’s entire county, except for the lightweight veggie/fruit type, which are useful for many garbage/icky purposes. My husband does the grocery shopping (and cooking – am I lucky??!!)and bought himself a couple of macho fabric bags in fear that I’dmake them too girly. (I coulda definitely made some handsome, masculine unobtrusive ones- and maybe I still will haha.)
    Make and use these totes, even if plastic isn’t banned in your neck of the woods — it’s good for all of us! (End of preaching)
    Thanks for reminding us , Ms Rockstar Blogger. I’d recognize you anywhere!

  • Becky Joiner

    First, your bags look great!
    Second, I’m sorry I was totally creepy! Ha!! Our next encounter won’t be so awkward.

  • Thanks Becky! And you were totally not creepy. 😉 I was just caught off guard ’cause that had never happened before. Hope to see you again sometime!

  • haha, thanks Maddie, and i’m glad my mojo’s coming back, too.

  • thanks brianna! yeah, i still don’t know if that woman ever visited my blog or not.

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