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I picked up this pretty bird fabric either last year or earlier this year, and I started making a tote. Other than the cute birds and the super low price, I don’t know why I picked up the fabric because it feels plastic-y — not soft and not meant for clothes refashions. The rough plastic feel reminded me of reusable bags that probably shouldn’t be thrown in the washing machine but really should be cleaned somehow on a regular basis (there’s a story behind the last part of the sentence).


Anyway, I decided I could make a reusable bag for our stash of drinking recyclables, i.e. cans, bottles, etc. To encourage recycling, the state enforced a five-cent deposit on carbonated beverages and alcohol bottles and cans during time of purchase. The empty bottles and cans are returned to any store that sells pop and alcohol. Although the project was super easy, I abandoned it for months and stashed it away in one of my many, many project bins.


Other craft projects and two part-time jobs have distracted me from my sewing machine for a few months, but it’s nice to hear the familiar hum again. During a boring weekend, I spotted the abandoned tote bag and decided to complete it. For the first tote, I used an old pair of Charlie’s pants for the liner. I sewed the most basic tote — hemmed the two shorter raw edges (top of the tote) for a clean finish and stitched the two sides together.


For a more fancy tote, I could have made a sturdy bottom by folding and sewing the bottom edges, but again, I don’t need a fancy bag. My totes just need to be pretty and functional. Anyway, somewhere in my project bins, I have some red woven ribbon perfect for the tote straps, but for some reason, I can’t find it. Boo. Instead I used black woven ribbon (the correct term is escaping me) for the straps. Eventually, I’ll probably hot glue gun some embellishments to hide the raw edges of the straps.


For the second tote, I took the remaining fabric and decided against a liner — too much work for this lazy girl. After a quick hem for the top part of the tote, I turned the long remnants of the fabric into straps and simply sewed handles to each side. Easy peasy. I’m in the process of organizing my crafty and sewing stuff (just ordered a new cubby storage unit) and when I find my jackpot of embellishments, I’ll tack some on to hide the snipped edges of the straps. But for now, I’m pretty happy with the results.


Categories: Jennifer Elliott

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6 replies »

  1. The birds on really nice and make the totes look nice. I agree, even though the bags have a plastic feel to them, they should still be washed. I am surprised so many people don’t wash their bags. So gross.

  2. I hate it when I can’t find something too! Like I know I have a ton of bias tape somewhere, but I can’t find them whenever I need them for a project! I know exactly how you feel. So frustrating. I like your bags.

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