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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.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Dec 1, 1990
Words:308
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