Friday, February 12, 2010

Another pillowcase project

Today for Building Our Homes Together, I thought I would share some homemade grocery bags that are truly frugal to make. It seems that in some parts of our country, it is now pretty much mandatory to use reusable grocery bags. These are especially frugal because you may already have the makings right in your linen closet! Have fun with this idea!

Here's the post, which again, is an older one:

I mentioned how I seemed to be in a real pillowcase mode with my Christmas gifts this year... I made vintage style ones and also embroidered and cross-stitched ones. But it went beyond that. I saw a tutorial for making pillowcase grocery totes from existing pillowcases. You can find it here:

pillowcase grocery totes

I had so much fun making these. I wanted to make a set for each of my daughters for Christmas. I think I ended up with a set of eight for each girl, plus I made a few for myself. Mostly, I just used pillowcases I had on hand. We love flannel sheets, but we don't love flannel pillowcases (not to sleep on, anyway; I've occasionally used some as sort of slipcovers for pillows). And every set of flannel sheets comes with two of them. They turned out to make gorgeous, sturdy grocery totes. I also purchased several pillowcases at the thrift store for 50¢ each to use for this project. Each tote took an hour or less to make. It was so much fun to see how the different prints turned out!
A snowflake tote.

This was a king-size pillowcase from the thrift store.

A blue toile in flannel

This flannel sheep pillowcase made a smaller tote, so I kept it for myself.

More snowflakes.

A western design.

Most importantly, I managed to devise a way to present the pillowcase grocery totes as a gift! That had been on my mind for some time. Of course I could have just stuffed them in a gift bag or a large box, but then the recipients would have to think of a way to store them. My idea was to make the gift packaging something that would be usable for storing the bags.

As I observed shoppers at my local supermarket, I noticed that most of them who use fabric bags just bring them all stuffed into one bag, and then just send that bag along on the conveyor ahead of their groceries. I also envisioned that they probably store the fabric bags in just the same way -- stuffed into one bag and hung on a peg or nail or whatever.

So it made sense to package the bags within one of the totes. But I wanted/needed some sort of label -- something to make it look a bit gift-y and to identify it. So I came up with the idea to make a clear plastic pocket for the container tote and to attach it with bias tape. I then made up a label to slip into the clear pocket.
For the plastic pocket, I utilized a clear plastic pocket that had come on a package of pillowcases -- a set that I had bought to embroider. I cut the pocket off, then edged it with bias tape and sewed it to the tote, then slipped the label in.
The pocket without the label in place.

I designed the label to be the right size to fit the pocket and printed it out on card stock. I figured that when the recipient starts using the bags, she can put anything she'd like in the clear pocket -- coupons, shopping list, a picture of the kids, whatever. I am quite pleased with how this idea worked out.
The pocket with label in place

So there you have it. I couldn't share all this before, much as I wanted to, because then two Christmas gifts would no longer have been a secret! Hope someone else can use this idea!

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  1. Your totes are wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I hope to get out to thrift shops to hunt for pillowcases. I also saw a tutorial for making dresses out of pillowcases for children in Haiti.

  2. Thanks for the kind comments, Marie! Hope you find some wonderful pillowcases at the thrift shops.

    Please stop by and visit any time! It's a blessing to have you here!

    God bless,


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