Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day: The Wasted Swap Tote Bag (Stowe Bag Hack)

Recently I took part in a swap put on by Jenelle from Trashn2tees. I was pushed to think outside the box and think differently about construction, materials and design. 

Earth Day is looking at how we treat the environment. And what a better way than looking at the materials we use when constructing projects for sewing. This challenge was really looking at what we use and using materials that could be reused and recycled. 

"This year I thought it would be so much fun to host an unconventional & reuse sewing exchange! You're invited to join the fun. Participants are encouraged to push past their traditional fabric choices and look at "waste" materials in a new way- repurposing and reimaging items we might throw away." -Jenelle

I had a very difficult time thinking of "waste" materials. After seeing all the great ideas that other people were coming up with-I was getting a little discouraged. Ended up just going into a thrift store and put together some great pieces and an even better color scheme. 

This swap gave me a great reason to try the Stowe Bag pattern from Grainline Studio. It proved to be a confusing with construction but I turned it into my version or hack so this bag isn't exactly to their instructions. 


I used an XL Men's long sleeved button up shirt. I did stitch close the front but left the buttons. Ran into a problem when I cut out the handles, the shirt had some pleats that needed to be flattened out with my seam ripper. 


The lining was made from two pillowcases. Another problem arose when the mint green pillowcase was short and wouldn't cover the handles. So improvised and used the remaining sleeves from the shirt to make up for the short material. 


I apologized for not photographing my construction of the outside of the bag. Ended up using a pair of jeans rather than the khaki pants that were originally planned. The blue looked better with the shirt. Used pieces of the pink pillowcase to add some trip and appliqué "Sew Happy" because my swap partner also loves to sew. 


Used handmade binding and chose two coordinating colors of pink and blue for the handles. With the leftover end piece of the pink pillowcase, there was enough to make a small pencil case, that I appliquéd a pair of scissors on. 


The finished bag was so cute, cheerful and springy. I learned so much putting it together. As to the Grainline Studio Stowe Bag instructions, I did a regular 4" inch gusset for both the lining and the outside of the bag. Where you were to pull the handles inward for the binding, mine are in the opposite direction so that you see in the inner fabric on the outside. 

I did purchase a second mens western shirt, so I gave it another go with some jeans. It was another successful bag. 

Thank you to Jenelle from Trashn2tees.com for putting together this great swap. It was so much fun to think outside the box and create something from recycled materials. 

If you have any questions please feel free to comment and ask. A lot went into this bag and I tried to be as clear as possible. 

~Amanda