Saturday, August 27, 2016

that time I saved England. ( or... that time I made a shopper bag)

Last Octobre, when I was visiting Oxford for work, England was suffering from a catastrophe of a national scale. Consternation everywhere.

"This is outrageous!" shouted a lady in front of me in Sainsbury's. "It's like they have taken away my freedom!" said a guy in a preppy Oxford to his mate.

What was happening? World War III? the beginnings of Brexit? No, this was much worse. Much, much worse. The government had decided to ban all free plastic bags in shops, and the country was in uproar.

Well, England, I haven't visited since, but I am certain that you will manage. You're a strong country. I mean, you have survived your own cuisine for centuries, you have lived through every single one of Hugh Grant's movie-dances and you have coped with Boris Johnson's hairdo. You will be okay, I promise.

And if not, you can always do what we rebellious Dutchies do when we are in a tight spot: nick a few free plastic bags( sorry, suddenly thought of that video) from the fruit department, use those for the rest of your groceries. Then you may go home and feel really bad about yourself ( because you should, you despicable human being ;) )

or... you could just.. you know... bring your own bag! Really, it's not that hard ;) And to make sure you will: today a way to make one, from scrap fabric.

You may recognize the fabric that I used for this project, since it gloriously featured in one of my earlier posts. Here's to remind you...

See it?
wait, I'll zoom in for you:

that's what I'm talking about: the hideous kitchen curtain!
just a liiittle bit more...

"help me!"

Well, it doesn't get any more Dutch than that print, does it?

Curtains underneath your kitchen sink may have been fashionable during the not-so-roaring seventies, but as you may remember from this post, we had replaced it with something more contemporary. 

But rather than doing the sensible thing and donating these two curtains to charity, I decided to make a shopper bag with it. 

Here's what I did:

I placed the two panels on my table, and placed an (already hemmed) piece of scrap fabric on the bottom half. I pinned in into place and cut it so it was about the same size. 

When both panels had this beige piece on the bottom, I placed both curtains on top of each other ( print facing inwards) and started sewing the bottom and sides. 

When I was finished I was left with this: A fabric sack. 

Not very fashionable so far...

To make it look more like a bag, I added boxed corners ( you know, the ones that look like milk carton corners)


When I turned it around, My shopper bag already had its basic shape! I then sewed the beige part with few vertical lines to the white/blue fabric, to make some sort of pockets. 

You know my love for pockets, since I have told you a million times about it. But the problem is extra important with big shopper bags, since with the conventional ones, I always find out that my keys are on the bottom of my bag (underneath a huge pile of groceries) as soon as I get back to the car. 

Now, with the bag part done, there was only one thing to be done: adding straps. 

I sewed a piece of ribbon in to make it easier to turn it inside out after sewing. I think it's my best sewing related invention ever ;)

and added then into place.

finally, I added a sturdy bottom, to keep my shopper from looking like a sack. 

just cut a piece of carton and wrap it in some fabric..  (Duct tape will be your friend)

and place it inside the bag. 

And..... done! 

A big is born!!
And you can use the pockets to store your keys etc.. 

or, your crossword.. yeah, that as well..
That means no more frustated digging in the parking, Yeehaw! 

a little sneak preview, since. (tum tum tum da tum...) I made that little bench myself, whoo!

There you go, you little Brits! 


  1. I am so happy Jillian had you on her blog. I enjoy every one of your blog posts.

    I think had asked about what any of us were crafting in your last post. Since I have to edit as much as possible on my novel before the writer's conference I'm going to in October, I took a few days to make a bit of writerly goodie swag. Next month, I'll put together the basket to add to all the others that will be there. We buy tickets to for the ones we like and the number are called out. If your number is called you win the basket. It helps us raise money for speakers and expenses for next year's conference.

    Love your bag and nice to hear you and Joost are doing well.


    1. aww thanks, I'm so happy to read that!

      How's the novel coming along? Not getting tired from the editing? ( I hate editing even with my academic articles, and those are only a few thousand words long!)
      I'm very curious what your novel is about! Or should I just wait for it to hit the shops? ;)

      And goodie bags, love those! and it sounds like a great way to keep the finances for such events!

      hugs, and good luck with all the hard work!!