Sunday Afternoon Sewing for the Planet – Our Social Fabric

Sunday Afternoon Sewing for the Planet

Well, it's Sunday afternoon and I feel like sewing, but, I just want to sew something without fussing with perfect seam allowances, straight stitches and other perfectionisms that sometimes make me crazy. Come along with me as I stitch up a Recycling Bag made up entirely of grocery store bags - you know your sewing machine is not just for sewing fabric! If you have a decent machine you can stitch this little gem. Industrial machines or domestics with a walking foot would be even better.


I save most of my grocery store bags (cereal bags, snacks, pet food etc)  When I'm ready to use the contents, I empty the bags into glass containers, wash the bags thoroughly and leave them out to dry completely. When enough bags are gathered, they are sorted by size and stitched together in columns. The length of the columns end up being approximately the height of the bag.

To create this bag (72cm long X 46cm wide X 15cm deep), create 6 columns of bags that have been stitched together (3 for the front and 3 for the back). Topstitch down the seam allowances so they lay flat on the inside of the bag. The height of each column is approx  75cm which is a bit long but makes for a nice tall recycling bag - less trips to the bin!.  

The next step is to stitch the columns together to create front and back bag bodies. Once stitched, topstitch the seams so they lay flat. When assembling the columns, stagger the crosswise seams slightly so you are not stitching over many layers of plastic.

Add two 53cm straps to the outside top edge. Position the straps about 10cm in from each edge. (you can make the straps longer or shorter as needed).  

To finish off the top edge and create a small facing, sew 10cm wide strips of bag plastic to the top edge, encasing the ends of the straps.

Lay the two bag bodies, right sides together, and stitch across the bottom and up the side seams including the facing.

There are two ways to create box bottoms: cut out an 8cm square from the bottom corners, match up the side seam and the bottom seam and stitch across the opening. OR, simply squeeze the corners, lining up the side seam and the bottom seam and stich across the triangle.  Here's a YouTube video that may be helpful for beginners. 

To finish off the top edge, fold over the facing and topstitch in place. 
You'll notice that the straps hang on the outside of the bag - this is done so that the straps don't fall down inside the bag with all the recycling containers, and stay nice and clean on the outside. 
Hope you enjoy this bit of Sunday afternoon recycling fun. Do send us pics of your recycling bag creations.
Happy (non-perfection) sewing!
from Carol for Our Social Fabric

1 comment

  • I love this idea! Looks great


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published