Tuesday, April 22, 2008

earth day

I think it would make me a bad Unitarian if I didn't post something vaguely green today. So here you go - juice pouches recycled into a tote bag.

When I photographed it this morning I found it's showing signs of wear after a couple years of use, so please ingore the breaks in the stitching on the side seams. This one has been home to coloring books, paper and markers that we can grab on our way out of the house.

If you want to make one this size, you'll need 18 juice pouches (after they're empty, slit open the bottom of the pouch and wash the inside), some webbing for the handles (mine are each about 15" long), thread, and a larger size machine needle (I think I used a 90 - also note that once you use the needle on the pouches, it should never touch fabric again.)

Use a large zig zag stitch to join the pouches together with about 1/4" of the sides overlapping until you have the size you want for each side of the tote. The bottom will require overlapping the pouches to be the same length as the front and back of the tote. (I realize now that it would have been helpful to have taken a picture of that - sorry.)It's much easier to sew the handles in place on the front and back of the tote BEFORE you assemble all the sides. Once you've done that, sew the front and back to the sides with wrong sides together having your zig zag stitch run down the edge stopping about 1/4" to 1/2" before the bottom edge. (I used binder clips to "pin" my pieces together so I woudn't make holes in the bag with real pins.) Be sure to reverse your stitching at the start and end of the seams for strength.

Putting the base on is the tricky part. I stopped my seams short of the edge so I could fold out the bottom of each side to match and sew it easier to the bottom of the tote. I found it's easiest to treat each seam around the bottom separately - reversing at the start and end of each seam to lock it.

The kids love carrying this around - it gets a lot of attention. I've also seen small purses made out of the pouches too. Just subtract or add as many as you like to get the size you want.

By the way, the irony of posting an earth day project made of wasteful packaging isn't lost on me. We do try to use the pouches sparingly - when we're on the run somewhere.


Rebekah said...

this is so cute! I remember seeing something like this at a chain store a few years back and liking it. It never crossed my mind to actually make one with used juice boxes (those were my pre-sewing days). Great idea!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

What a fab idea! I don't think we can get juice pouches hee in Australia but I will have to file tht idea away for future reference in case I see any suitable materials. Looks so effective!