#needleworkmonday :: From a Picnic Mat to a Grocery Bag

in hive-127911 •  2 months ago  (edited)

Happy #NeedleWorkMonday everyone!


I love doing my part for Mother Nature, no matter how small it is and using tote bags for grocery shopping is truly one of the ways to go.

Most times, grocery bags that were given free by the grocer or one that we can purchase, come in non woven materials. As cool as they look, they don't last that long. Over time, after all the weekly heavy loads of groceries, they pretty much start to tear apart and disintegrate like this poor guy...

And the thing about non woven material is that I do not know which bin should they go into for recycling. Paper or fabric?

I knew I needed sturdier grocery bags and the thought of sewing one with fabric has long been in my mind but I could never really decide on the fabric. It has to be tough (I thought of canvas or denim or duck cloth) but it shouldn't cost too much and it had to be easy to wash and dry too.

Then, one fine day, as I was having my dose of a Daiso chain store, I found this fella...
...a picnic mat.

When I looked closer, it has a similar material as an Ikea bag which in my opinion, is very sturdy and long lasting, can withstand loads of "beating" with its sort of woven plastic.
Plus, I love the green, yellow-ish forest design, kinda fitting for its purpose :)

I could get an Ikea bag but the sizes that are available just do not fit my usage for grocery shopping.

This picnic mat which was about 2 US dollars, seem to have a good fit as a grocery bag.

At 90cm x 60cm, I placed my disintegrated non woven bag at the center of the picnic mat and it looked like a pretty good fit.

I also have a couple of these harder plastics that acted as base to the non woven tote bags which I can totally resuse.

Plastic is bad for the environment, if we throw them but when they get to be used and reused in such a way that we do not need to discard them, I think it works for the environment.

I drew my schematic / plan for the bag.
The center will be the base of the tote bag. Only 4 slits will be made at the 20cm center, at the 14cm lengths (marked dotted lines - sorry, should written "cut" there).

I folded the picnic mat into equal halves and transferred my measurements onto the mat.

I measured and drew all the necessary markings to be assembled into a bag.

I decided to make a slit at the bottom sides, which would then be folded (much like wrapping a box).

I folded the mat to create the creases, to make it easier to sew.

The base of the bag was folded, pressed and clamped. I was just going to sew the sides to form the cuboid.
The mat bag was left and sewed as one piece, maximizing the material available and optimizing the sturdiness of the bag.

I began sewing the base of the bag but oh boy, I didn't realize that it was not easy sewing on plastic. The feeder dog did not grab the material as it normally would with normal fabric and it could easily slip if you don't keep it in place. Both hands need to slowly maneuver the sewing and keeping the moving needle in place.

I continued sewing the sides. Again, the material needed careful maneuvering because it was not easy to move the plastic around the sewing machine.

I also went on to hem the top edges, just to create a sturdier hem to hold the handles.

When it was time to put on the handles, I folded the bag into half to find the center and clamped the handles at equal distance from the center. I used a sturdy cotton webbing to do the job.

Then, sewed the handles in place, first going straight and then crossed diagonally both sides within the "box" area.

For the other side of the handle, I just clamped them in place, following the positions of the handles I sewed on earlier.

And a pretty nice looking bag in the end.
My sewing machine went wonky in the middle of this project and I was having a tug-of-war with the needle and thread. Luckily, I "won" in the end and I could continue to finish the bag. I was almost giving up earlier which would have been a bummer.

The base plastic also fits nicely....

...all set for my weekly grocery shopping bashing :)

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Here's wishing everyone a good week ahead and
Happy #NeedleWorkMonday! Take care everyone!

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Oh what a good idea to use a picnic tablecloth! I'll be curious to hear how it holds up! It looks great. I really like the pattern and color. :D

So far so good! I used it to carry a pot of soup and the bag holds really well! :) It is easy to wipe and wash too. Thank you @phoenixwren! :)

The bag is perfect! You could use that for years.Happy shopping...

Yes! I am hoping for that :) Thank you @jurich60.

good handbag) good shopping

Thank you @anela :)

Et tu, Brute? You also caught the bag-bug (sorry fo all these puns, its very warm here and my brain is on high duty)? I feel a bit under pressure after seeing so many beautiful bags, to finally learn to make one myself.
I love your idea to use the durable and water-repellent picnic sheet, very clever as my cotton bags always get soggy when I go shopping in the rain. And even better your sewing machine did not give up (I think I remember a post in the last days where you again had some problems with the mashine?)

My machine is quite sensitive these days and every now and then, I need to give it some TLC, i.e. sew very slowly and the moment it starts to choke, I stop. I remember you sewing some bags too! Or was it a pouch. But you are the lady for dresses, coats, blouses and skirts!! :)
The picnic sheet is really cool I think. It holds its shape and it is easy to wash and wipe. I am really liking it so far :)