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Recently in the state of California, a ban on plastic bags has been enforced in all supermarkets and retail stores. Shoppers either had to buy a reusable bag or attempt to carry each item without a bag. Both options are equally inconvenient. An alternative to buying a reusable grocery bag to simply create one.

This bag is made from materials that are commonly found in
most households which makes this project very convenient. The material is made from a rice bag which is strong, durable, and easy to clean which are the perfect qualities for a reusable bag. With the correct material and stitching, this reusable grocery bag will seamlessly pass as a store-bought bag.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Needed:

  • A large rice bag
  • Tape measure/ Ruler
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread (Nylon)

Optional:

  • Cardboard

Step 2: Remove Excess Material

Most rice bags are sealed with strips of thick paper secured with thread to contain the rice instead. These strips are not needed for this project. Cutting through the seams will easily remove the strips from the bag.

Step 3: Clean the Bag

The rice grains inside of the bag are full of starch which tends to rub off inside the bag. Take a wet paper towel to not only clean the inside but also the outside.

Step 4: Hem the Top

Hemming the top of the bag will give the end product a clean look and will resemble a store bought bag. Begin by folding over about two cm down and securing it with a pin. Do this to the front and back of the bag. Then stitch all the way around the bag. A back stitch will securely hem the top, but any other stitch will work as well.

Step 5: Measure, Mark and Cut

Measure the height of the bag to decide the length of the bag. This reusable bag will have the same height and length. Mark where the height and the length will be the same. For example, if the bag is 37 cm in height, measure 37 cm lengthwise and mark there.

You also need to add a second mark to create the bottom of the bag. Add enough cm depending on the width of the bag. If the bag's width is 12 cm, add 7 cm from the first line to create flaps for the bottom. You need to half the width since it there will be two flaps and add some overlap to make it more secure.

Cut the second line drawn. Keep the leftover material since it will be used to make the handles.

Step 6: Fold and Crease

Fold the bag on the first line drawn on both sides of the bag. Then fold inward the bag and crease it well. Creasing it is crucial since the bag will follow these lines when folding and unfolding.

Step 7: Cut the Sides

After creasing, small squares will form near the bottom. These squares make the bag more bulky so removing them will give the bag a cleaner look. Cut along the folded lines and repeat on the other side.

Step 8: Sew the Flaps

Sew both of the flaps to the side of the bag. Using a ladder stitch will secure the flaps to the side but other types of stitches will work as well. After sewing the flaps to the side, sew the flaps to each other to close the bottom of the bag.

Step 9: Cutting the Handles

Using the leftover piece from earlier, measure the width of the handles. After deciding the width of the handles, double the measurement because you will fold them in half. For example, if you want a handle that is 3 cm width, measure and cut 6 cm since it will be folded in half later. Repeat this step twice to create two handles.

Step 10: Sewing the Handles

First, sew the folded handles to make them stronger. Then decide where you want the handles to be. How deep the handle will be depends on the width of the handle. For example, if the width is 3 cm, the handle should be 3 cm deep to create a square. Sew on the handles in the desired place.

To ensure that the handle is secure to the bag, stitch the perimeter of the square then stitch an "x" in the middle of the square.

Step 11: (Optional) Add Reinforcements

To make the bottom of the bag stronger, measure and cut a piece of cardboard that is the same size to reinforce it.

<p>Great!</p>
<p>That's a neat fix :)</p>

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