Monday, August 12, 2013

Bags From Bags

Yes, we do get our groceries in plastic bags, but trust me, we put them to very good use. To put it as delicately as I can, let me just remind readers who don't know that we have two Siberian Huskies and we scoop as we go. You're with me, right? Thaaaaat's it, "poop bags". Having said that, we also use regular small plastic bags and so sometimes the grocery bags mount up. What to do, what to do...

Then I remembered a tutorial on etsy labs about fusing the bags together to make a sewable "fabric".  I tried it a while ago, and I did something wrong. It didn't work. I mentioned it to a friend; she tried it and got what I thought was a mighty cool-looking product, so I gave it another shot. This time - BINGO! Here's a link to the tute - and now some highlights from my bag-making spree, or a little thing I like to call Science Day in the Studio.

First, let's cut some bags.


Just cut the handles and the bottom seam off.  It's kind of addictive.  The whole process is.

Use 6-8 layers when you use the flimsy-type bags.  I like 6, but that's me.  Iron between 2 sheets of parchment paper.


The first time I tried it, I think I used either a paper bag or freezer paper.  Whatever it was ... THAT'S where I went wrong.  Parchment paper is THE way to go.  According to the tute, you should use the "rayon" setting.  If, like me, you don't have a "rayon" setting, start slowly and just keep upping the heat until you find the happy place.  That's the best I can tell you.  Think of the whole thing as a cool science experiment.

Before too long, you'll have a great collection:


I did some of the thicker plastic bags, too. I think 4 layers of those, but I'm still experimenting.

I decided to try to make some little zippy bags. Yes, I do have a fear of zippers, but I'm trying to get over it. Of course, I have no zippers, but not to worry! Let's recycle those, too!


Perfect! No one needed those pants anyway.  Here's the first bag I came up with:


I'm considering posting that to Hy-Vee's FB wall or something.  I mean - did I reuse/recycle, or what?!?  What a riot.

Did I mention the addictive nature of this?  I had to make another one.  The same day.  I mean TWO zipper bags in one day?!?  That's crazy for me.  Let's get going!

The first zipper I used was actually from some work-out pants, so I ripped the one out of the other leg, too. Go, me! I made it its own little thingie (there's a name for that sort of placket thing, I just can't remember what it is.)


I really love that you can read a lot of the writing on the bags. You just have to have a clear bag or turn the top & bottom layers inside out or the ink will get all over things.  And as much as I fear zippers, I fear this even more:


Yes, it's the very scary #4 foot.  I just recently told you about it.  And yes, I've forgotten about moving my needle over to the far right or far left way too many times and have broken needles.  I don't want to think what it might have done to my machine.  Yikes!

Once you get your zipper casing (is that what it's called?) sewn into place, you'd normally want to iron it.  Obviously, that's not an option when working with plastic.  I grabbed my wooden iron I use for paper piecing and gave that a run:


Worked like a charm.

Here's what my bag guts looked like before folding it in half and sewing it together:


I didn't use a lining - I mean ... no need!  Here it is all zipped up (so to speak - ha!):


And my model, showing the finished bag:

"Sigh.  Mr. Bulldog, this is exhausting work!"

She and the Bulldog seem to have bonded.  It's a tad strange.

One more look:


I am thrilled with how it came out! So much so, that the next day I was back at it. Tune in tomorrow for Science Day Two. :)

Thank you so much for reading!


  1. How cool are those! What a great way to reuse and recycle those bags (other than the Sibe way)!

  2. That is SUCH a grreat idea! What a good use for those bags.

  3. Very interesting how you make the fabric. You might be able to do any pressing between parchment at a low setting if the wooden thing doesn't do the job.

    Glad to see you are conquering your fear of zippers. I saw your comment on the Bernina FB page today.



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