Fabric cloth bags are an eco-friendly choice over single-use plastic bags and they’re simple to make. By choosing to carry these reusable bags, you’re making a positive impact on the environment. I really want to do something about the plastic menace. And I though of tempting you with ways to make them and decorate them – in the hope that you will make and use them, and perhaps save the world from choking on all these
This Christmas, when you head out shopping, take a stand against plastic pollution. Instead of relying on store-provided plastic bags, often pricey, make your own. Carrying a bag you’ve created not only saves you money but also lets you shop with a clear conscience, knowing you’re doing right by the Earth. We have the power to choose; the Earth doesn’t. Let’s choose wisely and save the earth.
The beauty of an eco-friendly cloth bag is its ability to be reused. And you are not using single-use plastics and adding to the already full-to-the-brim landfills. It is said that they remain in the landfill for centuries. You are also helping the economy by shopping. Don’t these reasons make you feel in the right spirits for shopping this festive season?
In this article I will cover:
Different types of eco-friendly cloth bags you can make
Organic Cotton or Linen Tote bags
Infact all natural fabrics are durable, and biodegradable, so they are the best materials to make your eco friendly cloth bags. Comonly used Natural fabrics include cotton, linen and silk. And also jute and hemp.
I would choose cotton and linen over all other fabrics as they align with the Reuse and Recycling principles. You can wash them and use them for many many shopping trips. And fold and keep them for the next season.
Choose linen bags as a sturdy and stylish alternative to plastic. And linen is a beautiful fabric to embroider on. Organic cotton is a step above this, as organic cotton is made without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. You can be sure that your shopping will not harm the environment by virtue of the bags.
But if you are looking for cheaper options here they are –
Hemp is known for its strength and can be grown with minimal pesticides and water. As a natural fiber, it will disintegrate into the soil, once you decide to discard it. Jute fiber is tough and durable, and the material has a rustic charm – and is biodegradable as all of the above natural fabrics. Cheap cotton is always available in shops and at home – you must have some left overs after making muslin or something.
Make your own Cotton canvas shopping bags
You can buy the cheap cotton canvas bags and then decorate them Or just stitch one yourself with fabric pieces you already have at home (You will if you like sewing, right?) Add grosgrain ribbon handles for a charming touch or just your regular cotton twill tape.
A medium sized shopping bag is usually made with just a 36 inch by 14 inch to17 inches piece of fabric. You need a 3 inch wide fabric for the handles. You can cut 2, 3-inch wide fabric pieces of length 22 inches for making the bag handles.
Sew the hem of the short edges and then sew the sides and attach handles and you have a nice shopping bag. Checkout this tutorial for making tote bags and this shopping bag tutorial for detailed tutorial ; Or the tutorial for making grocery bags.
Decorate your bag with embroidery.
I can teach you a very easy embroidery stitch to make your shopping bag pretty and get aligned with the christmas spirit.
Mark the area you want to embroidery – in my case a 6 inch square marked with a square ruler.
Mark 1 cm down the edges of the square, all over inside the marked square. Just make a dot as a mark on these markings.
Make small detached chain stitches on alternate dots on the square.
You will need to carry forward the thread when making the dots on the back of the fabric, as otherwise it ia very timeconsuming.
Using a red thread, weave through the chain stitches in a particular pattern.
Start weaving through the stitches.
This is a very easy to sew embroidery pattern as most of the stitching is just passing the thread through the small stitches.
Sew back stitches to make an outline for the woven stitches. Add beads or simple and small french knots to the inside of the sections.
Make those red fabric handles.
Or make a red bag and embroider christmas trees on it or an applique star. Is there a more enduring christmas motif than a star? other than Santa, ofcourse.
To make the star shape, cut out 5 diamond shapes from fabric of your choice (red ofcourse, for christmas). How to make the diamond template is detailed in the tutorial to sew a star with fabric.
Arrange these 5 diamond shapes in the shape of a star.
Sew them together. Clip the seam allowance every 1 inch or so.
Now pin your star in place on the bag fabric and sew in place. You can use close zigzag stitches to sew the edges or turn under the edges of the star and sew with a straight stitch.
Another option is to use embroidery to add letters in the form of sayings, nice wordings etc.
You can also make your bag using recylable materials. If you are making them in bulk, consider getting recycled cotton fabric itself from thrift shops and other such places where recylced clothes are dealt with. As for other materials, an option is to use Non-Woven Polypropylene material. Polypropelene material is actually spun bonded and heat-sealed to form a sturdy, recyclable material. While polypropylene is a type of plastic, these bags are considered eco-friendly because they are recyclable and reusable numerous times.
If you are giving gifts, have you considered leaving out the plastic gift wraps and using these fabric bags instead. They are a similarly reusable alternative to gift wraps. (You may want to just use fabric gift wraps if you have read about Furoshiki, a reusable wrapping cloth from Japan – it is a delight to see the different wraps you can make and do with that simple piece of cloth.) Scented candles in recyclable cardboard boxes will fit perfectly inside your newly made cloth bag, won’t it? .
Consider placing your gifts in these fabric cloth bags tied with grosgrain ribbon. They can be the champions of your thoughtfulness and environmental awareness.
Related posts: Eco-friendly fabric list for making bags