Saturday, June 9, 2012

a reusable bag!

As a fairly eco-conscious person, I am aware of both the possibly of reusing and recycling plastic bags, but I also know I bring way more than I can use into my apartment. To reduce my use of the bags, I've been using reusable bags for a while. One of the big problems with them is actually remembering to bring them along or having them with you for spontaneous trips. Most people mention to put the bags back in your car as soon as you're done. As someone without a car, this doesn't really work. And those giant, 99 cent bags you find or are given for free every place don't fold up well and are rather bulky. Same with canvas bags or even ones made from most cotton-knit material. Reuse tshirts for a bag? So now I'm carrying an equivalent of a few days worth of shirts with me all of the time? I also have to say, I hate all of the advertisements, logos and words that come on the bags. I regularly turn them inside out (including my "Brag about your bag!" from the Coastal Cleanup events...)

Over the years I've found that the bags that seem to make it back into my purse, backpack or pocket are the tiny, nylon ones that fold up into a little ball of some sort. I've also realized there is such a wide variation in design - some force you to carry them on your shoulder, hold them in your hand or give you the option of both. Some also have their "holder" as a separate piece vs. being part of the bag itself. Since I've aquired sewing machine skills in the past year, I decided it was time I tried my hand at making my ideal bag, using some discount nylon remnants from Joann's.

I did a lot of browsing online for shapes and designs and used my own experiences to come up with this pattern. I'd definitely tweak it some for subsequent bags, but it's working out well so far. I made the bag a few weeks ago and have tried to use it as often as possible without any problems. Next up, I get see how it stands up in the wash after a smoothie jar leaked onto it in my backpack yesterday! It is a little larger than some bags when folded up, but that also makes it easier to handle than some that require a particular folding method. It still squishes down in the pouch, it's just fluffier, like a marshmallow instead of a rock! Or something. I ordered 10 yards of nylon to play with and have come across some worn-out items that can be chopped up and used for these bags as well. Joy for custom bags!

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