Leggi questo post in: Italiano
Big news, guys! My pattern shop, Cucicucicoo Patterns, is just about ready to officially open! I’m just waiting on a few tax-related bureaucratic things before I can put items up for sale, but my first three PDF sewing patterns are ready! To celebrate, I’m sharing a FREE professional-quality sewing pattern with you: the Carry Everywhere Shopping Bag! Continue reading to find out how to get it!
Now, I know that there are plenty of free shopping bag patterns out there, but I wanted to make the most useful shopper possible: a reusable shopping bag that you can have on hand at all times. How many times, while paying at a store, have you realized that you’ve forgotten your reusable grocery bags at home or in the car?
The solution is a small and lightweight enough bag that you can carry around with you wherever you go, yet sturdy enough to pack full of heavy items (like the apples I was carrying for the photo above). A bag that you can keep in your purse or backpack so that you’re always ready for bagging unexpected purchases. My solution? One word: umbrellas!
Thus was born the Carry Everywhere Shopping Bag, made from the fabric recuperated from broken umbrellas! Hey, why not?! Old umbrellas are free, so your bag costs nothing. The fabric from umbrellas is very lightweight, so it makes a very light bag that can be compressed inside a small stuff sack. There are some really great colors and designs on some umbrellas, but even the ugliest umbrella makes a pretty cool-looking bag. And by using old umbrellas to make a bag, you are not only keeping them out of a landfill or incinerator (or from littering the street), you are also avoiding the use of the wasteful plastic bags that are so harmful to the environment and wildlife. It’s a win-win situation!
Of course, you don’t have to use upcycled umbrellas for your fabric. 90 cm (35″) of any 120 cm- (47″-) wide lightweight fabric will work well, too for this pattern. (I used a regular woven quilting cotton remnant from Ikea for the bag pictured below.) If you do decide to give new life to your old umbrellas, read this post on how to “harvest” the fabric from them.
The style of this bag was inspired by the magnificent Chico Bag, a nylon bag that gets stuffed into an attached drawstring pouch. I’ve had and loved one of the original Chico Bags for years, but it has two downfalls, as far as I’m concerned: 1. They are available in very few countries outside of the United States (and don’t ship outside of the USA, last I checked) and 2. They are made with new synthetic fabrics, whose production requires energy, water and petroleum.
But I love the Chico Bag’s lightness and how easy it is to squash the bag into the little sack, which I never have to worry about losing. So I incorporated these features into my own bag design, and figured out how to make the bag out of the fabric recuperated from a single umbrella, using its original seams as a design element.
The PDF pattern (here’s a post on how to print them out) includes professionally-drawn pattern pieces and full instructions with fancy line drawings (like the one above) illustrating the steps.
Aren’t those little sacks adorable? They weigh hardly anything and are so compact that you’ll never even notice them inside your everyday purse or bag! It’s hard to believe that there’s a whole shopping bag in there!
No folding, just shove the whole bag in there! And if you want, you can add a cord lock onto the drawstring for even easier closing.
Let me give you a tour of this bag’s features. This little bag is designed in a way to make it super sturdy. No more ripped plastic bags, thank you very much! The openings are finished off with clean topstitching, for a more finished look and adding strength to the handles. And I’ve already told you about the drawstring pouch, which is sewn into the inside of the bag so you can never lose it! (The pouch in the above picture is actually another bag, so that’s why it’s not attached.)
Let’s get a little more technical inside the bag. The tops of the handles are sewn with felled seams and the bag sides and bottom are sewn with french seams, two techniques which easily create a clean, professional look while adding stability to the seams. The top handle area has two layers of fabric to make them extra strong. The bottom corners are boxed, to let items fit inside the bag better without any weird pointy corners. And here you can see how the stuff pouch is sewn right into the bag’s inside seams.
But, if you’re a beginner, don’t get scared off by all those technical terms (like felled seams, which you can see in the photo above)! They’re all explained clearly in the instructions and, where necessary, there are links to tutorials for more information. As fancy as this bag looks, it’s actually pretty simple to put together. It’s been rated Intermediate level, but this is only because of the slightly slippery umbrella fabric, and even a beginner sewer can make these!
In order to make the full-sized Carry Everywhere Shopping Bag (55 cm/22″ high), you will need the fabric from one full-sized umbrella. If you only have compact fold-up umbrellas to take apart (like the type that you can easily fit inside your bag), you can either use two of them for a single full-sized bag, or resize the pattern pieces to fit on the fabric of just one smaller umbrella. In the picture above you can see one full-sized Shopping Bag and another one with a pattern resized to 75%.
Want to know how to get this FREE shopping bag pattern? Easy! Just sign up for the Cucicucicoo newsletter to receive all blog posts plus extra free patterns and materials for sewers and crafters by email, and you’ll get this pattern for FREE right then and there! Then you can enjoy aweing people in checkout lines when you pull out your fun and colorful shopping bag from a tiny little pouch, and swing it right over your shoulder!
(By the way, if you’d prefer receiving the free pattern and newsletter in Italian, just sign up here instead!)
Don’t forget to share pictures of your Carry Everywhere Shopping Bag in the Cucicucicoo Creations Flickr group, on the Cucicucicoo Facebook page, or on your blog or social media using the hashtag #carryeverywhereshoppingbag! I can’t wait to see your amazing bags!
This pattern went through two rounds of testing, once in English, then in Italian, in order to perfect it. (If you’d like to become a Cucicucicoo pattern tester, sign up here!) Want to see the lovely bags that some of my testers have made with this pattern? Over the next few days, the following talented ladies will be showing off their versions of the Carry Everywhere Shopping Bag!
Tuesday, February 10 – Judy from Stoney Sews
Wednesday, February 11 – Ilaria from Handmade for Love
Thursday, February 12 – Ingrid from kuka & bubu
Monday, February 16 – Irene from Serger Pepper
Sunday, February 22 – Ilenia from Penso Invento Creo
So what are you waiting for? Go get your free pattern and sew these up for everyone you know!