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Supermarket checker: "paper or plastic?" You: "neither, I brought burlap."

Instead of limiting your shopping bag choices to paper or plastic, consider creating, then toting a reusable grocery sack. To make a bag like the one shown here, for yourself or as a gift, all you need is 1 yard of stout fabric such as burlap, canvas, or denim. Use 42- to 48-inch-wide fabric; the width determines the bag's circumference. For lunch bags, use dimensions given with right-hand photo. Cut a 12-inch-wide piece across the width of the fabric; set it aside. Across one raw edge of the larger piece, turn under, press, and stitch a 11/4-inch hem to finish the top edge. Fold this fabric in half, with right sides out and selvages together; using a inch seam, stitch up the side and bottom. Turn the bag inside out and make a French seam by creasing and restitching to capture the first seam allowance. To square off the bottom, measure 4 inches up from the base of bag along the seam; keeping the seam in the middle, spread sides to form a triangle with an 8-inch base (see bottom-left drawing) and stitch across the base. Repeat on the other side. Hand-stitch the sides of each triangle to the bottom of the bag. Turn bag right side out; give the rest of the bag shape by stitching an 1/8-inch seam from top to bottom on all four corners. For handles, cut the 12-inch strip of fabric in half lengthwise to make two 6-inch-wide pieces. Fold long raw edges toward each other, press, then fold strip in half again; stitch 1/2 inch from both folded edges. Sew handles (shorten if needed for comfortable carrying) to the inside of the bag on opposite sides. Use fabric markers or a brush and acrylic paint to decorate the bag. Look for stencils at an art supply or stationery store.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1990
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