How to Reuse Coffee Sacks and make a coffee sack bag

coffee sack bagIt’s been quite a while since I last posted a tutorial and with the summer holidays in full swing that (hopefully) means extra time on your hands for getting crafty. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to reuse coffee sacks and make a coffee sack bag!

I love old coffee sacks with their rustic charm but finding a use for them can be harder than you think. They’re made for strength which means the material can be quite rough with a largish weave. They’d make great looking cushions but you might not enjoy leaning against them but their hardwearing nature makes them perfect for a shopping bag tote!

What You’ll Need

1 Coffee Sack

Colourful/patterned fabric to use as lining

Fabric to make bag handles (needs to be reasonably strong, not a lightweight cotton)

coffeesack1Step 1

Give the sacks a good wash, it’s easiest to do this in a rubber tub outside if you can, then peg up on a washing line to drip dry.

coffeesack2Step 2

Once dry cut out two large rectangles from the sack, both the same size as each other. The actual size you cut will depend on the design printed on your sack and how large a bag you want to make. As long as both rectangles are the same size it doesn’t really matter.

Step 3

Using your lining fabric cut another two rectangles the same size as those made from the coffee sack.

coffeesack3Step 4

Now take the fabric you have chosen for the bag handles and cut two identical long rectangles of fabric (length is dependent on how long you want you handles). Fold each long rectangle in half and iron to make a centre crease. Unfold the rectangle, fold each of the cut edges into the centre meeting the ironed crease, iron into place and then refold in half. This should enclose the cut edges. Sew along the open side.

coffeesack4Step 5

The handles can now be sewn onto the right side of each coffee sack rectangle along the top short edge.

coffeesack5Step 6

Next sew the top edges of the lining fabric rectangles to the top edges of the coffee sack rectangles (right sides together). The handles will hang between these two layers.

coffeesack6Step 7

You can now sew the whole bag together. Unfold the lining and coffee sack piece that you sewed together in the last step. Lay with the right side up onto a table, then lay the other coffee sack/lining piece on top so that the right sides of the fabric are together. It will make one large rectangle which you sew all the way around leaving a gap at the bottom of the lining.

coffeesack7Step 8

Before turning the right way we’re going to give the base of the bag some structure. To do this you need to squash each of the four corners to make a triangle and then sew straight across (see pic), do this to each of the corners. If you’re unfamiliar with this technique then check out this tutorial on the sewing directory.  Trim off the excess fabric.

coffeesack8Now turn the entire piece the right way out through the gap left in the lining. Sew closed the gap in the lining and push inside the bag.

Optional Step: Once the bag is complete you can top stitch around the top edge of the bag to give a good finish and extra rigidity.

A Creative Break

This week has seen a lot of us returning to pre-Christmas routines, with school, work and even social commitments changing back to a familiar and at times unwelcome pace. For my own part life is often so busy that I have lists that tell me which list to tackle first and that leaves very little time to actually sit back and enjoy doing something creative.

So when I found myself with time on my hands I did what any creative sort would do and started a new project. I decided to tackle a kit that I was given for Christmas, of course it was Christmas 2010 but sometimes that’s just the way of things.

Many of you will know that I’ve given needle felting a ‘stab’ (excuse the pun, I couldn’t resist!) I loved sitting in front of the TV jabbing at wool and actually creating something at the end of it. Unfortunately I put down my needle felting when other commitments got in the way. I was therefore more than a little apprehensive when I picked up this little kit, aside from my extended break, the designer is one of the most renowned and talented needle felt artists out there Dominica More Gordon.

My finished dog (pic above) may not have the precise features of Domenica’s, I’m sure she spends many more hours then I did on this little fellow. He also exhibits the same kind of facial expression that all my needle felted creations do (I assume this is my own personal look coming out) but I’m really very pleased with him. Now the only thing I have to do is keep him away from my youngest son who is determined to try and play with him.

I wasn’t the only one jumping on the creative bandwagon though. My daughter was given a lovely Buttonbag bunny kit and being the kind soul she is shared it with her brothers, here are their finished bunnies. I think they’re absolutely adorable, you’ll have to forgive a soppy proud Mum moment 😀

Even my husband has joined us and taken up ragrugging. A hobby that we find suits both of us, he shreds up and uses the old scraps of fabric/clothes I couldn’t bare to throw away and I get a tidier house! So far he’s shredded up old jeans, sheets, curtain offcuts, nothing is safe! I’ll have to remember to post a pic once it’s finished.

Have any of you been especially creative over the festive break?


Happy New Year!

The festive season seems to have whirled by as usual and here we find ourselves in a brand new year! I can’t say that I’ve made any resolutions, I learnt many years ago that just because I decided something at new year, it didn’t make me any more likely to stick to it. But new year always feels like a fresh start, time to rethink or restart. My house is often the lucky recipient of new paintwork or rearranged furniture at this time of year for that very reason.

But first on my agenda this year has been the beginning of a big sort out. I’m something of a hoarder so this is always a mammoth task. But in my usual spirit of reusing/recycling I like taking something new and giving it new life. This time it was an old ripped pair of jeans. The denim had got to that stage where it was lovely and soft to the touch, so even though the jeans were no more we couldn’t resist using the fabric again. Above is my new needle case, finally I will have organised needles!

My daughter also got a new skirt (seen above) and bag (her name will be sewn on in due course). The bag is a particularly whimsical one as it’s made out of the old jeans pocket.

Never one to leave someone out my son also got a new bag (again name to follow). He is going to keep some of his character cards in here. So happy child as he has a new bag and happy Mummy as his cards are kept together 🙂

I hope the new year begins the start of fun times for all of you as well.