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  • Writer's pictureSew Retro

Graham and Gracie DIY Grocery Bags

If you have recently bought a sewing machine, this is a great project, ! It is also a great project if you have owned a sewing machine for ever, who doesn't need a fab grocery bag ? Graham and Gracie are roomy and strong, able to hold all your fruit, veg, packets and tins, when you go to the grocery store. When not in use, they fold up neatly and can be stored in your car, bike bag. backpack or handbag.

Re -usable and washable, Graham and Gracie are green too !

To give the bags extra strength they are sewn with a french seam. French seam are most commonly used on delicate fabrics and lingerie. If you haven't sewn a french seam before, this will be a new skill to try.

You will need:

50 cm of fabric I was kindly gifted mine from Sew Essential

3 meters of webbing tape mine is 1.5cm wide

Matching thread/ pins/ small piece of paper that measures 8cm x 8cm

Sewing information.

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

Unless stated used a 1 cm seam allowance

Cutting Measurements

Cut 1 x 54cm x 116 cm from your fabric

(I ordered 0. 50 cm and have used the total length given (just over 50cm and the total width 116 cm)

Using a scrap of paper cut a template for 8cm x 10cm.

1.Cut your fabric using the measurements given above.

2. Fold your fabric in half (short edges together) and* place the template in one corner as shown on the fold line. Cut out the 8cm x 10cm shape. The 10 cm is placed on the fold line. * Repeat from * to * in the remaining corner.

3.With the RS of the fabric facing you, fold over the short edge (as shown) for 1cm, press and fold again for 1cm.

4. Machine stitch the hem into place. I did two close rows of stitching to strengthen the seam.

Repeat on the remaining side.

5. Making sure not to accidentally twist the webbing strap join the two raw edges with a 2 cm seam allowance, press flat using a cool iron.

6. Fold the webbing strap in half (from the sewn seam) and mark with a pin.

7. lay the bag flat on a table with the RS facing you.

8. Mark the middle of the bag with a few pins. (as shown)

9. Measure and mark 7 cm in from the cut-out rectangle as shown. The measurement is 7 cm from the inside of the cut rectangle and 15 cm from the outside edge of the bag.

10. Place the strap on the bag, with the raw edge of the strap facing the bag.

11. Match the sewn seam on the strap with the middle of the bag (marked with pins) pin into place as shown. Repeat on the opposite side matching the pin (from step 7) with the pins marking the middle of the bag as shown.

12. Continue pining the strap to the bag, the measurement is 15 cm from the raw edge of the bag after you have pinned the section by the cut-out rectangle.

13. Machine stitch the strap into place. I have sewn one row of stitching close to each edge of the strap, to reinforce the bag.

14. If you want to, also, sew two rows to attach the strap to the bag, start in the middle of the bag adjacent to the cut out rectangle and stitch to the top of the bag, leave you needle in your work as shown.

15. Turn the work around (also known as pivot) and stitch across the top of the strap as shown, leave your needle on your work again, turn (pivot) your work again and continue sewing down the other side of the strap, until you have attached the strap to the bag, repeating the process on the other end of the strap. Repeat on the remaining side.

16. We are now going to finish the bag with French seams, which will help strengthen and reinforce the bag. Pin the seams on the RS of the bag together as shown (taking care to match the top bottom and edges) and using a 0.5cm stitch the seams together. Repeat on the remain side.

N.B. we are NOT sewing the cut-out section now, just the long straight seam.

17. Cut off any loose thread. Press the seam flat.

18. Turn the bag to the WS and press the seam again.

19. Lay the bag on a table and as shown pin the seam together taking a 0.75cm seam allowance.

The seam allowance needs to be bigger that the seam you have just sewn, as you pin you will be able to feel the seam and you need to pin on the outside of that seam. When you turn your bag to the RS the raw edge will be completely enclosed. French seams are most commonly used on lingerie, and normally you would be asked to trim your seam before you pin, however as we are using the French seam to strengthen the bag, I am not asking you to trim the seam.

Machine stitch into place using a 0.75 cm seam allowance. Check that you have enclosed the raw edges. Repeat on the remaining side.

20. With the RS of the bag facing you, lay your bag on the table. Using a pin mark the middle of the fold at the end of the bag as shown.

Bring the pin to match the side seam. Pin that seam as shown. Using a 0.5cm seam allowance stitch into place. Turn the bag to the WS and pin the seam again enclosing the raw edge. Stitch into place using a 0.75 cm seam allowance. Repeat on the on remaining side.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G you have just made the Graham Grocery bag……………….AND sewn some French seams. Well done.

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