Burlap Shopping Bags

I've used my own shopping bags since before reusable shopping bags were cool. Everyone in our house has a set of five or six large shopping bags in the trunk of their car for grocery shopping. I made the first set of bags about ten years ago and they have carried countless loaves of bread, cartons of eggs, boxes of cereal and more. Unfortunately, they are starting to show their age and are getting a little threadbare in spots.

So, it was time to for a new set. My requirements? I wanted to make something sturdy, inexpensive and a little fun. Grocery shopping doesn't have to be boring. BACON - I'd be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees is one of the five sayings I painted on my bags. If you want to know what other quotes I used, check out my new Facebook page.


Materials



Directions


Begin by washing and drying the burlap. If you have never worked with it before, check out my posts about How to Cut Burlap and Sewing Burlap for a few tips and tricks.

Iron your piece of burlap on high heat with lots of steam. Cut it into a 19" x 38" rectangle.









Fold the short ends over 3/4" (wrong sides together) press and pin. These will be the opening of the bag.

Use some sort of a zig zag stitch 3/8" from the edge of the fabric across the fold. My two favorite stitches for burlap are the arrowhead stitch and the elastic overlock stitch.

Remove the pins.



Now it's time to paint your design onto the burlap. Remember, you still have unfinished edges on your fabric, so handle it very carefully so it doesn't unravel.

I made my own stencils with funny food sayings using heavy textured cardstock on my Silhouette Cameo. You can also purchase pre-made stencils at your local craft and hobby store. They come in many different designs.

Paint your design onto the right side of your burlap. I used Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint in Hunter Green because that's what I had on hand. If you are concerned about toxicity, use Simply Spray Soft Fabric Paint. It is non-toxic.

Make sure to work in a well ventilated area and protect your work surface while you paint.

Let the paint dry before you do any more sewing.



Once the paint is completely dry, fold the burlap in half, right sides together and pin. With a 1/2" seam allowance, use some sort of zig zag stitch along each side of the bag.








Remove the pins and press the fold on the bottom of the bag.










This next part is a little tricky, but don't worry, you can handle it. In one of the bottom corners of the bag, pin the side seam to the pressed fold on the bottom of the bag (right sides together) press and pin.








Use straight pins to mark 2 1/2" from the corner where you just pressed.

With your zig zag stitch, sew a line between the two pins. It should be perpendicular to the side seam.







Now you are going to trim off the corner about 1/4" away from the zig zag line. Remove the pins.

Sew and trim the other bottom corner of the bag in the same way.

Turn your bag right side out.





It's time to cut the handles and use some fire. Yes, I said fire.

Cut two 15" long pieces of nylon strapping. The ends of the nylon straps will fray if you do not finish them before attaching them to your bag. You can use a serger or even a narrow zig zag stitch to do this, but there is an easier way.

You can use a lighter to melt the ends of the nylon strap so it won't unravel. Be careful and work near some water in case you have any problems.

Hold the strap a few inches from the end so you don't burn your fingers. Start your lighter.






Quickly pass the strap ends across the flame so that they melt. It only takes a second. Pay close attention to what you are doing so you don't melt the entire strap or set it on fire.








Pin the handles to the top of the bag so that they are 1 1/2" from the top of the bag and 4 1/2" from the side seams.









Using a straight stitch, sew the handles to the bag. When I attach straps I like to sew a rectangle with an "X" through it to make it extra secure.

Don't forget your new bag next time you head to the store.

As an added bonus, many retailers deduct $0.05 from your purchase for each bag you use. So, in addition to generating less waste with plastic shopping bags, using your own bags will also generate a little cash in your pocket.

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The Chilly Dog: Burlap Shopping Bags
Burlap Shopping Bags
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The Chilly Dog
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