Did you know that California does not like plastic grocery bags? The hatred is so strong here that there is legislation in the works to ban (tax) grocers statewide from handing out single-use grocery bags to customers. Just like the trend-setting city that Los Angeles is, this town has already banned freely handing out single use plastic bags and replaced it with an ordinance charging 70 cents for a plastic bag or 10 cents for a paper bag.
As someone who loves the environment this is great. As an LA newbie who did not know about this legislation when she first met LA and went to buy groceries after moving here, it was less great. (Mostly the shame of feeling ignorant and the necessity of spending more than I planned, etc).
SO, if you're cheap like me and love to find ways to recycle items from around your home that you would normally have thrown away or donated, then you are in the right place. Today I will show you how to make a reusable grocery bag
First, start with an old t shirt.
Sorry for the blurriness, I don't think people of the internet need to know where I or my husband once worked, do you? 10 points to Gryffindor if you recognize that logo though!
I began with the sleeves. I cut them right along the seam line of the armscye (armhole) leaving the stitching that connected the sleeve to the shirt on the sleeve piece. I cut specifically here so that the cut arm holes would look even on both sides and the stitching would be on the cut sleeve leaving the armscye free to be slung over my own arm. *note: leave the shoulder seams where they are!*
Then I cut the neckline. If you look close you can see that there are two parts to my neckline scraps. There is no exact science here, I would just hold the shirt neckline in a circular-like opening and then imagined stuffing my groceries in it. Afterward I decided that I would need more space and made the opening more oblong/oval-like.
Finally, I cut the bottom about 2 inches since I knew this bag would stretch with use and I didn't want to begin with it being too big.
Now it's time for the fun part! SEWING! The only stitching you need to do is along the bottom edge of the shirt. This becomes the bottom of your shopping bag.
Knits react differently to being stretched than woven fabric does so it is important when you stitch your shirt/bag closed with right sides together that you use a zig-zag stitch so that your stitches don't pop when you're carrying your groceries home from the store. I would even test it out on a scrap from your shirt to see if it will hold up before sewing on the real thing. Just to be safe zig-zag stitch twice over the bottom of your bag to make sure everything stays secure. (Or serge if you have access to one of those lovely machines.)
One more thing you can do to ensure the bottom of your bag doesn't go anywhere is to use a double needle on the outside of your bag after you've zig-zagged or overlocked it shut. If you look closely you can see that's what I have done here.
Since Jersey knit material doesn't fray I decided to leave the arm and neck holes free without finishing the edges. If you have access to a serger/overlock by all means, serge around the edges of your bag.
The final trick is the hardest; to remember to take the bag with me when I go to the store :)