Friday, 23 November 2018

Christmas Sacks {Combatting Disposable waste}

I am by no means an eco warrior but sometimes I find that there are areas in my life that I can reduce, reuse and recycle. If you follow the blog you will have seen that in recent weeks I have spoken a lot about spending better, buying better quality and reducing waste impact on the planet in the form of fast fashion and homewares. With Christmas Coming up, and the purchasing of wrapping paper happening it got me thinking about the waste this produces. Yes, fortunately with lots of wrapping it will recycle or degrade, but the more glittery, plastic and thicker paper you will actually find is not as recyclable as you think.

 For birthdays, we have long used brown paper bags which I peg together with little patterned cards on. Yes, it gets rid of the 'tear it open' effect as we actually reuse every single bag for the next round of gifts, but boy has it cut down on paper waste and it is really apparent in our lives.

I think toys come with so much disposable packaging already; I was always really conscious of not making more. And also the cost for something that is thrown away has always really annoyed me.

 Wrapping paper has got so cheap and nothing frustrates me more than when you are trying to wrap a present nicely and the corners rip around a box, or that when it doesn't actually let the tape stick to it (I hate you glitter!). So now I always end up using brown bags and decorating them or having my huge roll of brown paper ready to personalise myself.

This year having started working a lot more in the sewing industry I suddenly realise that I had loads of tools to inspire and make my own gift bags. Not only is this probably a better way to spend my money, but we can use these time and time again, so today's post is to show you just that: how I have made super simple gift bags (even for the big presents) that will help reduce waste.

First thing, find your fabrics. For me, the simpler the better but if you want the bright green Christmas scene, you go for it! I know that there will be presents I still wrap, so I wanted to pick a fabric that will go with my brown paper supplies!

Higgs & Higgs is one shop I always go to but some of my fabric for these bags is also from The Fabric Fox. Like I said, I really like more modern designs and they suit our style well so my choices represent this. Also, I plan to use these all year round now I have made them, so luckily they would suit that role!

As far as instructions go, I am going to offer my own but these are taken from the wonderful SEW OVER IT BLOG who explain it so well so feel free to look at theirs also.

The instructions for you to make your own drawstring bag are as follows:

You will need;
a sewing machine
ribbon or cord for the pull ties
scissors or fabric cutter

To get started, cut yourself two identical pieces of fabric which will make the body of the bag. It can be any size you want. Really, big or small, I made a mixture.
You will also need to cut 2 lengths of fabric to make the topper for your cord to go through. These lengths should be 2ish inches longer than the top of your bag.

Place the right sides (patterned sides) together and you will sew the inside of the bag.

Sew a straight stitch 1/4 inch in from the edge around the 3 edges of the bag. Leave one open which will be the top of your bag.

Now, along the three edges you have just sewn, sew along the very edge in a zigzag stitch to hem it. This will stop the fabric fraying.

When you have done that around the 3 sides, turn the right way around and iron. This will just help seal the stitching and you will work on the bag this way.

Take your 2 strips that will be the header to your bag. To stop the two end pieces fraying zigzag stitch across the ends. These will be folded inside so you will not see them.

Press the fabric in half, long ways, and press the ends in an inch, or until they are as long as the top of the bag. This is slightly more guess work but don't worry, you won't notice.

Now sew the ends down. Open the fabric strip back out and keep the inch ends in. Sew them down so they stay in place. Then fold the fabric back in half.

Place the raw open edge of the strip along the raw open edge of the bag. Make sure the start and end of the strip run from seam to seam of the bag.

Flip the header fabric on top of the bag.

Now sew the two pieces together using a straight stitch 1/4 of an inch from the edge. If you are able, work on your machine arm as you can put it in the bag and move your work around easily. Sew both strips on to their respective sides.

Now, sew a zigzag stitch along the very edge around the whole top to prevent fraying.

Lift the header up and the seam inside should naturally position downwards. Give it a press to encourage in.

Now with the header up and in inside seam, join down, sew a straight stitch just under the seam join to secure it in place.

That is your bag made.

To create the two pull closure get two pieces of ribbon or cord that are just longer than the whole circumference of the bag.

Thread one length through both headers but make sure you end with the two ends out, and tie.

Now tread the next piece into the header but from the opposite side, leaving the two ends out, and tie.

When you pull each side you will gather the top of the bag.

That is it!

Once you get your head around it you will find they just whip up so easily. Top tip, if you are making lots, do all your cutting, then all the sewing of the three edges, then all the headers. I found bulk making them is much easier as the three edges take no time at all once you have a pile!

For me, this project is to help cut waste, but you have to admit how nice it is creating something that you can pull out at special points in the year and know that you made that for your family! These bags are going to look great under the tree and I love how my colour combination turned out!


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