Sustainability is the hot topic of the moment and we’re all spending more time considering how we can be more mindful of our choices, and how these choices impact on both the environment and the world we live in, is more regularly assessed. At the beginning of 2018, after an understandable outcry on the overuse of plastic bags, many shops and businesses began either charging for shopping bags or stopping offering plastic bags entirely.
Whilst some stores sell reusable shopping bags, more commonly known as “bags for life”, I’ll be honest in saying that they aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing, and whilst they may be suitable for supermarket shopping, there’s something to be said about wandering the high street with a garishly coloured bag for life. Whilst there are some stores that offer pretty, and patterned reusable bags, what better way to support sustainability than by creating your very own bag for life?
If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m a huge crafting fan, and the thought of creating something not only beautiful and practical, but good for the environment is an exciting one. By designing and creating your own reusable bag, you’re not only able to reduce plastic consumption, but also have the option to upcycle old clothing or bedding if available.
Here are my top tips for designing your own bag for life:
Find a pattern that works for you
There are a whole load of different free and downloadable sewing patterns available online, with everything from your basic canvas bag to a double strap shopping bag template on offer. Consider if you’re going to be using the bag as a shoulder bag, or as a carrier, as this will determine not only the
size of the bag, but also the length of the associating straps. If you’re a more experienced crafter, you may want to consider finding a pattern that involves lining the bag, and a range of accessible pockets.
The materials you choose for your re-usable bag could make or break the sustainability of the project. Of course, you’re going to want to choose materials that have patterns or colours that compliment your taste, but the strength of the materials is also important to ensure longevity. Stick to materials such as canvas or cotton, they’re light yet durable.
Consider Lining the Straps
If you’re planning on using your reusable shopping bag for heavy shopping, it’s going to need to be sturdy. By lining the straps of your bag, you’re able to best prevent any unwanted breakages. Not only this, if you choose to line the straps with a softer material, you could well find the bag more comfortable to wear.
Try a double pattern
With so many materials and patterns to choose from, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one. Consider a double pattern, in which half of your bag is created from one pattern and the other half is created with another, for a fashionable, clashing look. If you’re running short of old cut offs, and are on the market for some material specifically for this project, Terrys Fabrics have a fantastic selection of patterned materials, with everything from polka dot to multicoloured checks and everything in between, which would make for great additions to your design.