Yesterday I bought up lots of supplies to put together some Black Friday 'Survival Kits'. As part of the kit, I wanted to include a cute reusable shopping bag. After I spied some polypropylene fabric at JoAnn's, my first thought was to make the bags myself... But then I thought about the time commitment and decided that embellishing some pre-made bags might save a little more sanity. With all of the inexpensive bags available at retailers, it was pretty easy to find the perfect bag in a Christmas-y red...
I started out with a nice, roomy bag from Target ($1)
And ended up with a cute, ruffle-y bag that I can't wait to take shopping!
Because the Target logo was so big, I needed to embellish the whole side panel. I decided on ruffles for both the cute/girly factor and the speed to market (heh heh). After I had the size and spacing of the ruffles figured out, it only took me about 30 minutes to ruffle both sides of the bag.
The ruffles are made from snuggle flannel cut with pinking shears. The pinking will help reduce the amount of fraying (not that snuggle flannel frays much to begin with) but, since the purpose of the bag is shopping, I expect them to take some abuse.
For this particular panel size (7 inches across), I found that a length of 21 inches worked great for a single ruffle. That ratio is also my standard rule of thumb for ruffles - I start with a length that is 3 times the desired finished length. In this instance, it was also convenient that 1/2 of my fabric width was 21 inches.
After a little experimentation, I settled on a ruffle width of 3 inches.
To ruffle each strip, I simply run it through my sewing machine, smooshing it into gathers as I go - but use whatever ruffling method you prefer.
To attach the ruffles to the bag, start with the bottom ruffle and work upwards.
Pin the ruffle onto the bag and top stitch. I found that it took constant vigilance to make sure that no other part of the bag found itself under the needle.
Once you get to the top ruffle, you'll want to finish it off with a clean edge. To do that, start by sewing the top ruffle on upside down, right sides together
Once stitched, flip the ruffle over and pin in place
Then top stitch 1/4 from the top. I tried to keep the edge flush with the existing seam of the bag
And here it is just waiting for it's first shopping trip :)
I think this would make a such a great gift bag too!
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