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Sew Away Don’t Throw Away: DIY Plastic Free Ideas

DIY VEGIE BAGS

Instructions by Transition Town Guildford

Photos by Robyn Rosenfeldt

You will need:

  • Some lightweight fabric
  • A4 paper x 2 sheets, a ruler, pencil and glue
  • Cord (about 75 cm for this pattern)
  • Sewing machine, thread and pins

Step 1. Make your pattern

Take one of the sheets of paper and fold it in half lengthwise. Glue the other sheet along that centre line. On the right edge, measure down 6 cm and mark. This is your marker for where the drawstring goes.

Step 2. Cut your fabric (using your pattern)

Fold your fabric, right side to right side, and pin the pattern to the fabric. Don’t forget to cut a notch on the right edge where you marked the drawstring entry point.

Step 3. Time to start sewing!

3a. First, sew the right side from the notch to the bottom. Use a straight stitch that’s quite small.

3b. Then you can use an iron to flatten the seam allowances up to the top of the bag.

3c. Change your sewing machine to a tight zig-zag and sew around the drawstring opening. Change your stitch back to straight stitch, and sew the other two sides of your bag (bottom and left-hand side).

Step 4. Sew the tunnel with the drawstring

4a. Using your zig-zag, sew a narrow hem along the top of the bag.

4b. Then fold down a wider hem, and use your straight stitch to sew down the edge to make a tunnel for the drawstring. Start and end at the drawstring entry point.

Step 5. Insert drawstring

For this pattern, the cord needs to be about 75 cm long. If you’re using a different size pattern, measure across the top of the bag two and a bit times. Lastly, using a safety pin (tie one end of your drawstring cord to the safety pin), thread your drawstring through the tunnel and tie the ends together so it doesn’t unthread itself.

This is a great project to do with kids. The pattern is very forgiving.

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UPCYCLED ORANGE BAG

Instructions and photos by Holly Jenkins

You will need:

  • An orange bag
  • Needle and thread, or sewing machine
  • Scrap fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • An iron

Step 1.

Cut both ends off the orange bag, and as gently as possible, remove any labels. Sometimes labels will leaves small holes in the bag, but not to worry, we’ll patch them over later. Next cut the bag in half to make two groovy upcycled orange bags.

Step 2

If there are any holes in the bag, patch them over using strips of scrap fabric or cut out shapes. Hand stitch over smaller holes or use a tight zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine.

Step 3

Reseal the bottoms of the new bags. To do this, grab some sturdy scrap fabric and cut a strip that’s just slightly longer than the length of the opening (about an extra 2 cm). The width of the strip will be about 4–6 cm.

Step 4

Fold along the long edge of the strip on both sides, so that the edges are meeting in the middle. Iron the folds to keep them in place.

Step 5

Lay the strip flat with the folded side facing you, then lay the opening of the orange bag over the top half of the strip. Next, fold the bottom up over the orange bag so that it is sandwiched between both sides of the strip. Pin and sew. Be sure to use a close zig-zag stitch so that the net is tightly secured.

Step 6

Reinforce the opening of the bag. Make another strip (the same as in step 4), but this time it has to be long enough to go around the entire opening of the bag. Pin and sew.

Step 7

Next make the carry straps. To do this, make two more strips (as in step 4). The length of the strips depends on how long or short you want your straps to be. Our bag straps are made from 50 cm strips folded in half. Pin and sew one strap on each side of the reinforced opening.

Step 8

Snip off any stray threads, patch over any sneaky holes, trim any ugly edges, and voil.!

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CUTLERY KEEPER

Instructions and photos by Maude Farrugia

You will need:

  • A sewing machine
  • Scraps of fabric in contrasting patterns (the main pattern for the outside and contrasting for inner and strap)
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Fork, spoon, knife and reusable straw

Pattern pieces:

  • Cut 2 x rectangles 15 cm x 45 cm in main and contrasting patterns
  • Cut 1 x rectangle 5 cm x 65 cm of the contrasting fabric

Step 1. Create the strap

Out of your longer rectangle, press the edges 1 cm over all around and then fold in half lengthways, tucking short ends under at each end. Stitch flat to create your outer strap.

Step 2. Attach the strap

Find the centre of your strap and pin it to your main fabric rectangle, in the centre, 15 cm from the base. Stitch securely in place with a 1 cm x 1 cm square.

Step 3. Join the main and contrasting fabrics

Pin the 2 rectangles, right sides together, ensuring you bunch the strap in the centre so it won’t get accidently sewn! Sew a 1 cm seam around the perimeter of the rectangle, leaving a 10 cm gap at the bottom left hand corner. Snip corners off, trim edges, turn inside out and press flat.

Step 4. Form the cutlery pouches

Road test your cutlery pouch spacing with the cutlery you intend to use in it. First, fold up the bottom flap of the rectangle, until the fold is 2 cm from the strap. Flip over and pin edges in place. We found our fork needed 3 cm, our spoon 3.5 cm, reusable straw 2 cm and knife 3 cm. You want pouches to be taut, but not so tight that you can’t squeeze items into them. Use pins to mark each pouch and sew vertical lines between the base of the rectangle and the top of this flap. Sew a few reinforcing lines horizontally across the top flap of the pouch if you like, to keep it flat.

Now you’re ready to stuff your pouches and roll, crisscrossing the strap around the rolled pouch to keep it secure.

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