With many states moving away from allowing the use of plastic bags in their grocery stores, we all may need an alternative. I have been looking into the cheap, reuseable bags that most stores have available for purchase, but the quality is poor, they do not stand up well to use, and they simply aren't cool or stylish enough for me. I ALWAYS forget them at home or in my truck.
Needless to say, I was skeptical when designing this pattern. I thought this would just be another bag for my collection that I never use.
BUT!! I have been using this bag for EVERYTHING. I love it! It is very durable, it is simple, yet stylish enough that it goes with anything that I wear, and I don't feel like a bag-lady when I am toting it around.
Some other plus's to this bag: It is mesh (see-through) so is allowed into stadiums, it is mesh and perfect for the beach because sand falls right through the little holes.
Now, I bet you are super anxious to get your very own bag made! The utility mesh fabric is really only available in black, so you can use different colored webbing (for the handles) to give a personalized flair to your bag.
Also, don't be nervous about sewing this mesh. Leave your machine on a normal stitch-length and the mesh will hold just fine! I used a normal universal needle, you do not want to have too fine of a sewing machine needle while sewing these heavy-duty materials.
An iron will not be used for this project--we don't want to melt the mesh!! just fold seams as if you were folding paper.
What to Cut:
- 1/2 yard of utility mesh
- Trim to one piece of 18 in. by 35 in.
- Cut a rectangle out of the middle of each long edge that measures 3in. by 5.5 in.
- Cut piece should look similar to this:
- 3 1/2 yards of 1 inch webbing or belting
- Used for handles
- Fold the mesh piece in half, matching short edges, and use two pins to mark the center of the long side (on the fold). Then, lay the mesh piece flat.
- Melt the cut edges of your webbing (this is done for you at our Sip N Sew events) with a match or lighter to keep them from unravelling. Then, fold the piece to find the middle. Mark this with a pin.
- Place the halfway mark on the webbing 1.5 in. in from the edge of the mesh piece, matching with the halfway pin on the mesh piece. Pin in place.
- Match the raw edges of the webbing against each other and place them 1.5 in. in from the center mark on the opposite side of the mesh. Make sure that you don’t have any weird twists in your webbing.
- Pin the straps in a straight line along the long edges of the mesh, placing the strap 4.5 in. away from the outer edge. Place your last pins on each side 1.5 inches away from the short edges.
- Sew along both long edges of each strap, starting and stopping at your last pins (1.5 in. away from the short edges of the mesh piece).
- Pin the large piece of mesh in half, right sides (the side with the handles) together, matching the short ends to each other and pinning along the two sides with the rectangle notches.
- Sew along the 2 pinned sides, stopping above the notches on the fold. DO NOT sew around the rectangle notches near the bottom fold.
- Reach your hand into the bag, forcing it to open and look somewhat like a bag should. This will cause the folded edge to flatten out and form a flat bottom. If you look at the open rectangular notches that were near this fold, you will see that the raw edges are meeting each other, perpendicular to the side-seam that we just finished. Pinch these raw edges together, right sides together, in a perpendicular line to the side-seam, and pin.
- Sew these corners together.
- If you are using plastic-coated mesh (this is what we use in classes and events because it is sturdy), we will not be using an iron because the plastic will melt. Instead, the seams should fold similar to paper. Fold the side-seams flat, to one side.
- Next, turn over 1 in. around the top opening of the bag, fold it toward the wrong side of the fabric (this should still be the outside of the piece you are working on unless you got excited and turned it right-side out). Pin in place and sew along the raw edge, about 3/4 in. away from the fold, all the way around the top.
- The end! Success!