Vintage Tablecloth Grocery Bags

I made 66 of these reusable grocery bags which I gave as Christmas presents in 2007. The heavier fabric of an old tablecloth is perfect for these bags. If it has a small hole, you can cut around it, patch it, or just ignore it — it won’t matter. The pattern is one I found on Jan Andrea’s web site. The directions are very clear and the bags only take about 30 minutes to make, counting the time spent cutting them out. You can easily change the dimensions, which I think I might have done just to make better use of each tablecloth. Jan suggests using French seams, which makes the bag sturdy and it washes well — no exposed seams, so no raveling. The handles are securely attached by folding and stitching them twice. A couple of my tablecloths were a little thinner, so I put two pieces together to make one bag. I could get two bags out of the smaller cloths, and 3 from the larger ones.

Having used these bags for quite a while now and comparing them to other cloth bags, I would say that they work well, but they are a bit floppy and you have to sort of hold them open to load the groceries. They may not stand up on their own like some bags I’ve seen, but they’re a lot cuter.

In the photo below, they are hanging on a rack made by my niece, Jennifer, using her hand-made tiles. She is very artistic and makes beautiful tiles as well as many other crafty things.

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