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  • Writer's pictureSew Retro

Turn broken and unusable plastic carrier bags into a cool wallet and matching key ring- Free Tutoria

Free tutorial -Beginners sewing project _ Make your own “Fabric” and up cycle old plastic carrier bags.

Materials and Equipment

A pile of plastic bags

50cm of cotton tape I got mine here

D rings x 2 I got mine here

A small piece of leather or faux leather

20cm zip I got mine here

Matching thread or contrast thread, pins, tape measure, chalk, glue and scissors.

Tips for beginners

Seam allowance 1 cm this is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitch line. You will find a series of parallel lines engraved on the needle plate of your sewing machine pick the one marked with the measurement you need and keep the edge of the fabric to this guide

RS = right side of fabric WS = wrong side of fabric.

Collect old, broken or unusable plastic bags, sheets of plastic and the plastic used to deliver mail order packages, is all suitable for this up cycling project.

I kept a few plastic bags that were given to me when I bought bread from the bakery on a holiday to Greece, with this project in mind.

Cut the plastic into as large as possible squares or rectangles, at this stage you can make your design, the images below illustrates that I have started with a square of plastic, cut out and put on top of the plastic a layer of plastic stars, then put another clear layer of plastic over the stars.

Your layers of plastic now need to be put between two layers of non stick baking paper, and ironed with a hot iron, the plastic bags will shrink slightly and “glue” together (creating one layer) leaving you with a “ fabric “that is suitable to sew together to make simple items. You may need to repeat this process a few more time to make enough” fabric” for the wallet and key ring.

Cut out 2 x 20cm x 15cm for "fabric" to make the wallet.

Using a hand held needle, stitch the ends of the zip together.

Cut two pieces of 5cm tape, and pin the tape over the end of the zip, the tape need to be close to the end of the zip. Using a sewing machine stitch over the tape and the end of the zip. Repeat on the remaining end.

Fold the tape over the zip and stitch into place; this just holds the tape in the correct position for the next stage.

With the RS of your “fabric” facing up, place the RS of the zip on to the “fabric”, pin the zip to the wallet.

Change to the zipper foot, you will have to start machine stitching after the zip head, (the zip head is too wide to sew closely to the zip) machine stitch to the end, secure the stitching. Undo the zip and sew the section that has not been attached to the wallet. Repeat to attach the zip to the other piece of the wallet.

Cut a 6cm piece of tape, and insert the D ring, fold in half, and with the RS of your fabric facing up, pin the D ring 4cm down from the zip edge, the D ring facing into the wallet, as shown in the image.

Fold the wallet in half and stitch the 3 remaining sides, catching the tape with the D ring.

Turn the wallet inside out, and gently push out the corners of the wallet.

Using a small piece of leather or faux leather cut a half centimeter strip

X 14cm long. Thread the strip through the hole in the zip and glue together.

Congratulations, you have just made an AWESOME wallet.

Free tutorial -Beginners sewing project _ Make your own “Fabric” and up cycle old plastic carrier bags

and make a key ring

You will have enough tape left from the wallet project and 1 x D ring.

Using a few pieces of your left over fabric; cut out 2 identical heart shapes, mine were 8cm x 8cm approx.

Fold a 4cm strip of the tape into 3 and using matching thread, sew a line of stitching down the middle.

Fold the tapes in half with the D ring in the middle. Pin the tape to the WS of one of the hearts.

Pin the hearts WS together, and using a zig zag stitch, stitch around the edge of the heart.Secure the stitching, and thread the loose thread onto a needle and push the tread back into the heart, through the stitching, this helps to keep the stitching secure.

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