Sunday, 7 April 2013
From tomorrow Northern Ireland is introducing a 5p charge for every plastic carrier bag given out in shops. Now, I do already do my bit by having reusable bags for the weekly shopping and a great Ikea reusable shopper for hiding away in my handbag for those other little errands that get run every week. However, none of those bags are exactly pretty and what sort of a stitcher am I if I don't make myself a cute little tote or two to replace all those incidental plastic bags I acquire?
So this weekend, admittedly feeling a little bereft of any decent sewing time of late, I sneaked in an entire afternoon of playing with tote patterns to get myself ready for the placcy bag tax avoidance scheme! (Please do not tell my hubby, how many 5ps I would need to spend to recover the cost of these new totes - that's our secret, okay?)
Anyway, just in case you'd like to know, here are the totes I made with my thoughts and a wee link to the patterns (all free online).
First up is the Simple Reversible Totebag from Skip to My Lou. This is the tutorial that Susan and those other Mouthy Stitches ladies chose for the totebag swap last year. It's been on my list to try ever since I didn't have a chance to participate in the swap itself. This is a really nice straightforward tutorial with plenty of pics to support the instructions. The tote itself appears quite small when finished, but as you can see it is big enough to hold my A4 EPP instructions and quite a bit else thanks to its boxed corners.
Next, I came across a tutorial for a Singlet Style Shopping Bag (think that means 'vest-like' to you and me). This tutorial is based on making a pattern from an existing grocery store shopping bag and I was intrigued to give this one a go because those grocery bags have great expansion in them, particularly allowing larger flat items to be place in the base.
Of the three bags I made, this one was the trickiest, but only because of a little bit of dexterity required at the finishing of the handles, and it does indeed expand just as you'd expect any plastic grocery store carrier bag to. It takes quite a bit of fabric to make this because of the folded gusset areas (I'd say you need almost three quarters of a metre of outer fabric and the same again for lining if you are ordering new fabrics). The tutorial also provides instructions to create and attach a pocket to the bag outer into which the bag can be folded so that it fits conveniently into your handbag or coat pocket but I was lazy and opted not to make it this time. A wee wraparound strap like the next tote has would be very useful, and if I make another one of these, I will definitely add one.
The final tote is the Compact Groceries Tote by Lisa Lam - this tutorial is available free, but you do have to sign up to the Stitch Craft Create newsletter to access it. Alternatively, it can be found in Lisa's book A Bag for All Reasons.
As you can see this tote has a wraparound strap to allow the bag to be wrapped up and slipped into your handbag or the glove compartment of your car. The pattern suggests attaching popper buttons but I keep forgetting to buy the right kind so I used the sew in ones here and added the red button just for decoration on top of it. Lisa also added a little loop for a trigger hook which would allow you to clip the bag on to a child's buggy or to your handbag strapping. I didn't bother with it on my version, but it would be very easily added if you would find it handy to have. Of the three totes I think this one is probably the biggest overall and I like its generous size, although it is not as wide in the base as the Singlet Style Shopping Bag.
All in all a successful afternoon's tote making!
If you know any other good tote patterns please share them in a comment. If I get enough, I will collate them and re-post them all in one place for reference.