Sunday, 7 April 2013

Testing Totes

 


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.


15 comments:

  1. when those bags have been used MANY times they will have paid for themselves!! Lovely x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those bags look lovely! I have wanted to make one of the kind that folds up like the last style for ever. Would be so useful to have it in my handbag on trips out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brilliant! They look so much nicer than tacky plastic bags! I know Ayumi did a market bag but not sure if the pattern is free. You could also check out Noodlehead tutes. Jxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. You'll be the envy of the other shoppers with those!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like you are set up! I wish they would introduce a tax here as plastic bags are given out willy nilly for tiny things and it's a big problem :( Lovely bags!

    ReplyDelete
  6. love your choices of fabric too. Such useful bags, much better than paying your 5p! Now all you have to do is remember to take them with you...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brilliant totes. You will be the most stylish bag lady :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like the thought of you whipping these bags out to avoid the 5p tax! It was good o hear your thoughts on each pattern. Di x

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a great idea to avoid both the fee for the bag, and the plastic ugly bag itself :) I've switched to fabric tote bags long time ago, but I use the ones I bought at Primark, cause they are almost heavy duty and were cheap :D Now, looking at yours, I think I'll make 1 or 2 more for Saturday shopping trips, using some fancy fabrics :) I subscribed to get Lisa's pattern and try it out, but there's an error popping out on the site: <...>NoSuchBucket
    :(

    ReplyDelete
  10. It musta been the thing for this weekend to make bags! Urs look great x

    ReplyDelete
  11. those are great! good fabrics too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. those are great! good fabrics too!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The bags look great, I think the tax is a good idea and wish they would roll it out across the whole of the UK.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Those are lovely bags! So useful and you will recoup your 5p soon enough as these bags will last you for years and years. I made a bunch a few years ago and they are still going strong.

    ReplyDelete
  15. These are lovely, I just tried to download the free pattern for the last one, as I love the way it rolls up - can't get the link to work yet.... will keep trying. I think it makes you happier shopping with a fun tote bag than with a plastic carrier bag! x

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I do try to respond to every comment, but forgive me if occasionally time does not permit.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...