Friday, October 9, 2009

veggietober - useful is as useful does

I was given this sheet and have been determined to up cycle it into something special. Brown stripes really aren't my thang... so thinking of ways to refashion this sheet has been a bit of a challenge.
I've already lined this grocery bag with it - which was a relative success and led me to continue on three themes associated with that project: (1) doing the shopping; (2) fabric printing and (3) experimentation.

I decided on creating 'Keeper Fresh Veggie Bags'. Making veggie bags allowed me to dally with all three themes. Firstly fabric veggie bags are a replacement to the yucky plastic bags when doing fruit & veg shopping (perfect for up cycling) and as such experimentation with fabric printing was almost ideal - I wasn't really going to worry if imperfections were present in the bag that I stuffed full of yummy apples. Another benefit to creating veggie bags is that I have been wanting to learn how to sew using french seams. As I am not in possession of an over locker/serger french seams are a neater and stronger finish than simply zig-zagging. There are lots and lots of tutorials out there on the inter-web explaining how to sew a french seam but this was my favourite.

I found inspiration and direction in Betty Oppenheimer's book Sew and Stow (Storey Publishing, 2008: p122) for 'Keeper-Fresh Veggie Bag'. I currently have the book on loan (again!) from my local library - it is jammed packed with inspiration for really useful stuff. In essence all you need to do is make a smaller version of a very rustic pillow case.

If you've been popping by over the past couple of months you already know that I'm currently rather preoccupied with fabric printing. I am naturally drawn to white and when I consider printing on fabric my imagination always starts with a blank canvas. I have wanted to challenge this tendency and so the desire to experiment with printing on patterns has been growing within me. This sheeting has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to test some new inks and to play around with patterned base cloth and non-opaque inks. So I started with some baking paper and cut some really simplistic shapes to block the ink from penetrating the fabric.

(I have today discovered that freezer paper would probably have been much easier to use as it is waxy on one side - check out the Shopping Sherpa's explanation here)

I used a foam roller that I picked up from the two dollar shop and covered pieces of fabric in ink. In order to make it easier to spread the ink I dunked my roller in water to keep in moist.
I let my prints dry flat over night before curing them with a hot iron.

Then it was the all important test to check that they were colour fast. Before throwing them in the machine with the regular wash I threw them in the bath tub for some intensive hand washing.
Much to my relief all was good.

In the photo above you can see that when I rollered the heart shapes the larger shape moved - I think if I had been using freezer paper rather than baking paper this would not have been an issue.

These veggie bags perhaps turned out narrower than I had anticipated. This is because of the french seam (& my novice status). Next time I make these I will allow for a larger seam allowance.

Daa -daa: the finished product

These veggie bags are now en route to my paternal grandmother - the original sheet owner ;) and the very first up cycler I ever met!


  1. Love these veggie bags, the printing is lovely. I can’t find a followers button on your blog, but I am going to add you to my reader.

  2. Fabulous printed bags - what a great idea to repurpose an old sheet.

  3. oh wow these are FABULOUS thanks for entering my giveaway I am loving your blog and I hear your need to learn to crochet!! I thought I was the only one on the planet who couldn't do it yet!! I hope to make a granny square before I die!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Great experiments Sally, I love that you've gone beyond the practical to the artistic in making your veggie bags. Now I must go check out that french seam link... as of about a month ago I do own an ebay-purchased old overlocker, but I've yet had the guts to try to set it up and use it!

  5. I love your vegie bags, and so want to make some!

  6. Hi Sally, the veggie bags are awesome. I made a couple last night too. Mine arent as lovely as yours though. Cant wait to see what you come up with next. I have added you to my reader too. And thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad that I found you.

  7. How cool do they look! You must be so pleased. I love the tree one so much.


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