Kristin Link of the popular Sew, Mama, Sew is rallying sewists for the Green Grocery Bag Challenge- a project to promote the use of handmade grocery bags as holiday wrapping, thus reducing waste, while giving the gift of a reusable shopping bag (further reducing waste!) Win-Win!
It's no secret that we at Cloud9 Fabrics are pretty Pro-Earth. We value the kindness bestowed upon Her whenever someone makes a conscious effort to lighten the pollution load. Over the last decade, we, globally, have seen wide-spread advocacy for the use of reusable shopping bags. Now, in a terrible and ironic twist, new developments reveal that many of the store-bought reusable grocery bags may contain high levels of lead. When you consider the price-driven nature of this now highly-consumed item, it should be of little surprise that manufacturers are unscrupulous to meet the world's demand for inexpensive goods with little regard for the environment (it's much like the story of the cotton industry, in many ways). However, the idea of the "reusable bag" is still sound and without doubt, a much better alternative to vast amounts of plastic forever in landfills.
So, while the world overcomes the setback (and it will...) of the store-bought-reusuable bag, home-sewists can rally to produce them for family, friends and community. Taking it a step further, use them as both a gift and as gift wrapping and help eliminate some of the paper waste this season. They are super-simple to make and ideal projects for scraps, random stashes, old linens and clothes. They can be as simple or fancy as you like- certainly there's many tutorials for totes and bags out there- and Theresa VanHattan-Granath- the Green Bag Lady- has a great, speedy and economical tutorial: it uses a full 1/2 yd of 42" wide fabric with no waste.
Look how cute they are all folded up- hardly 4" wide.
I happened to have the old curtain panels from our spring market booth sitting on shelves doing nothing and thought this would be an ideal opportunity to support the movement and make holiday gifts for my son's teachers all at once. Since my curtain panels were not 42" wide, but narrower, I made mine slightly different by not having a bottom seam (which works well on fabrics with a two-way/random repeat- or no pattern at all) and it would still work well if you had a yard of fabric and made handles the way Theresa suggests in her tutorial. However, I had the luxury of making handles slightly different with a little more heft. Keep in mind that handles don't have to match the body, so one can get about 4 slightly narrower handles in an average fat quarter panel if sliced into 4 equal parts- the directions below still apply.
Click image to enlarge.
One last note: we all know that plastic bags are a reality- and that no matter what our efforts, they have ways of creeping into our lives. Keep in mind that many are made of #2 plastic- just look for the symbol- perhaps your town will recycle them. Alternatively, most grocery stores will have a bin at the entrance where you can deposit them. Or as a last ditch effort, they can always be reused for a time.
“The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is effort.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes