I mentioned a while back that my sister and I were talking about how much her girls love playing pretend store. That led to the idea of actually making a kid-sized grocery bag. It had to be durable, washable, and a lot like an actual bag you might see in a grocery store. And so, the fabric 'Thank You' Grocery Bag was made.
I've put together a tutorial, with lots of photos, to show just how to put this bag together. It's a fairly quick sew, less than an hour for sure. The bag is designed just like the plastic bags you get at the grocery store.
1/2 yard fabric for outside of bag
1/2 yard fabric for lining
Heat Transfer Vinyl (also called iron-on vinyl)
First, draft your pattern following the pic below. Tape two blank pieces of white paper together to get the paper tall enough. It's probably easiest to cut the paper into a 7.25 inch by 16 inch rectangle and then cut out the curved parts.
Pre-wash your fabrics so there will be no surprises later on. I know, pre-washing takes more time and is seriously annoying when you finally have a free hour to sew and realize you haven't pre-washed yet! But, do it anyway. :) I try to remember to wash my fabrics right after I purchase them so they will be ready when the need to sew arises.
Iron your fabrics before cutting so your pieces don't have any weird wrinkles. Yet another annoying step, but really, it will only take 5 minutes and makes your project so much better!
Now, you are ready to cut. Lay your pattern on the fold and cut two from each fabric. I used a quilter's cotton for the inside, and a plain natural ticking fabric on the outside. I love how soft the ticking is and it makes the bag just the right thickness. You really could use any fabric for this bag, from a thin cotton, to a lightweight canvas.
Cut two from each fabric, as shown.
With right sides together, sew one piece of ticking to one piece cotton fabric on the middle 'U' shape. I use a .25 inch seam allowance. Repeat for the other two pieces. Next, sew the outside 'J' shapes, starting at the curve, and sewing upward. Stop sewing about 2 inches from the top of the handle. Repeat on the other 3 outside 'J' curves, as shown.
Turn both pieces of the bag right side out and press the seams.
To connect the two pieces of the bag, you will sew the top edge of each handle, matching up the cotton fabric pieces together and the ticking fabrics together, right sides together.
Pin together across the raw edge and sew. Repeat on the other handle.
We'll get to the topstitching in just a minute!
Stitch along the sides, using a .25 inch seam allowance. Don't forget to line up the center seam, and keep the handles (inside the 'bag sandwich') tucked out of the way.
Turn right sides out, and press.
I love the red 'Thank You's on the bag and think it makes it so much fun! I added it using red heat-transfer vinyl. I really love this stuff because it is easy to use and I can personalize my projects with it. I buy mine through a local business here.
Follow the instructions that come with your heat transfer vinyl. I cut my lettering using my Cricut machine, paired with the SCAL software. If you have a Silhouette machine, that would work great, too! However you cut it, remember that you'll need to flip the text before cutting. I have more details about heat transfer vinyl here.
Make sure the vinyl lettering is ironed on well since this bag will be well loved. :) (Remember to never place your iron directly on the vinyl. Use a press cloth or even a piece of paper between your iron and the vinyl.)
Fold the handles in half, just like a real plastic bag. This is how you'll create the gusset in the bag that allows it to fold neatly and open up to hold so much.
Turn the bag inside out, pushing the bottom corners out as much as possible.
Turn right side out and you are done!
Gather up all your fake food and let your kids have a blast with their new shopping bag that is just their size.
You can even take it with you to the real grocery store and let them help you bag up your purchases. They'll absolutely love it!