I read an article this morning that reminded me I’ve been meaning to get some reusable grocery bags made.
After watching an episode of Vet Adventures when Luke cuts open a cow and pulls out about 35 lbs of plastic bags, the kiddoes and I decided we really wanted to change our habits!
I went ahead and started getting some supplies together but haven’t found a tote pattern I really like yet. So, in the meantime as I was researching I found this post about fusing together plastic bags to make a new “fabric” that can be sewn together.
What a cool idea! I had to try it.
So I just jumped in and did it. I folded out 8 bags, and used my rotary tool to quickly cut off the bottoms and tops. Then I individually slit the middles to make each one a long rectangle.
I laid them all flat together and put parchment paper under and on top. I grabbed my iron, set it to the highest heat setting under the steam ones and then gave it a go. I kept the iron moving and checked as I went to see if it was fusing. It was!
Now, it was also shrinking, so I may have my temp set too high, but I wasn’t worried about how it would look. It was kinda shriveled and melty in places, but the layers were fusing.
Once I finished the top, I flipped it over and repeated the efforts on the bottom. And then I had a long single piece of “fabric” to work with. As I looked at it, I folded it in half and it kind of resembled a mailing envelope. And that’s where I got my idea:
I was going to use it to make a removable sleeve for my frozen groceries!
I just fused the sides and then trimmed off the edges. Then I sewed a quick seam up each edge and around the top to reinforce it.
For the cover, I cut some cotton from an old sheet I use for projects like this, and then I did the same thing: Cut it on the fold, then sewed a seam up each side. At the top, I flipped the edge down a little to make a small cuff and then sewed a seam to hold it. Turned it inside out and put the plastic sleeve inside:
Now, for the closure, I poked a little hole in the top cuff and used my yarn needle to pull through a piece of cotton yarn. I tied it in a knot and put one in the end. Then I added a little button on the front of the cover so I could just wind the yarn around it to close it.
This one looks pretty plain, I agree. But you could easily make it fancier by using this tutorial for printing on fabric. I did a test piece using this same old sheet using a graphic the hubs is fond of:
And it turned out to be really easy. (The hardest part was finding the freezer paper. I think I found it at walmart for about $7~.) The colors weren’t super saturated, but I can easily see that if I planned ahead, I could print “FROZEN” or “ICE CREAM” in a novelty font, or a cute graphic on the fabric before I sewed it up. (Another great idea is to use a novel print fabric.)
Next up, I will tackle actually making the grocery totes!
Would love to see what you come up with too-