Saturday, November 27, 2010

DIY Plastic bag reusable tote

Heyo! I just decorated my house for Christmas and now I am getting around to Christmas gifts, this year I am doing a "go green" theme. Part of my go green is making reusable totes from grocery(or similar) store plastic bags via heat fusing, I figure this is one way to get rid of that stack of plastic bags you have accumulating in the back of the pantry!


  • Iron
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • A stack of plastic bags
  • Sewing machine

Hooray for a little floor time! Alright, bags, you are going to need a bunch! I do my totes 6 ply, so if each plastic bag is 2 ply, you need 3 bags per sheet, and for this tote you need 4 sheets, so you need at least 12 bags for this project. So on to the project! Shaping the bag for cutting, what I do is fold in the sides and lay flat like the picture below.

Next, snip off the handles and bottom.

After I pull the sides out to make the bag just a 2 ply plastic bag. Now repeat the first 3 steps with all the other bags. :D

Next, bust out your iron and parchment paper and find either the tile floor or the kitchen table, just somewhere big enough to iron your plastic bag sheets(make sure you are only ironing three bags TOGETHER at the same time!!) If your grocery bags have ink on them, make sure to sandwich them between parchment paper because the heat WILL make the ink come off. I know this first hand as I now have [WALMART] inked onto my craft table, haha. Heat setting: slightly warm. Haha, I know, not what you want to hear, but something that will just fuse the bag together, not turn it into a gloppy mess, it should take about 5 minutes to combine the plastic bags, not a 1 or 2... I put it on cotton but my iron also sucks. When you put your hand near the iron, you should feel a slight heat, not a burn your hand from an inch away heat.

This is to show you that there will be some shrinkage, not a lot but just a little. haha.

 Now that you have all four sheets, time to measure and snip! For the normal sized grocery store bags, these are the measurements I used(after trimming the sides to make the bags "even")

Measurements(these measurements are not for the final product). You will need two of all of these. Handles: 2in by 18in. Bag sides(the bottom is included in the bag sides): 7in by 18 in. Bag faces: 9.5in by 18 in.

Now to the best part, sewing! I did all my seam allowences at 1/4 or so inches. Hehe, I'm so precise. I sewed the handles first, I tucked in the ends to make a nice hem and then sewed down the sides, making the handles 1in.

 Then I sewed the two side pieces together, short sides touching with the right sides facing each other.

This is a little tricky, flip your sides so the right side is up. Take one of your face pieces with the right side down(you can fold it in half to create a little seam to help) and lay the middle of the face on the sewen middle. Make sure the edges "match" up and then sew along the edge of the face piece. Repeat with the other face.

It should look like the picture below, now we are going to sew up the sides. So lift the bag and line the two sides together.

Pinch the corner kind of like this and sew from the corner to the end of the side, repeat on all four sides.

Like this. I sewed along the bottom of the sides to give the bag a better structure. I also folded the top of the bag down half an inch to form a hem and it makes it look much nicer an also makes the top of the bag even! I dont have a instructional picture for sewing on the handles but it's easiest when the bag is inside out like this. I also zig-zagged the handles on then trimmed the excess.

Finished! And to test it.....

My 16 pound cat! LOL I also got my 20 pound kiddo in it, but I couldn't take a picture of it and my wonderful hubs was playing SCII.

Again if you have any questions feel free to use the contact me on the side! :D

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Econobums Review

I've been thinking about making the switch to cloth diapering only within the last few months as the cost of other things as been rising. On average, I spend 70 bucks a month on disposable diapers. Considering during the day I change koen's diaper around every 2-3 hours and once a night(as of recently) but that all depends on if he has a poopy diaper or not. Haha, but I am going to start this review off with looks and end with the more important stuff. I got a econobum cover and 4 pre-folds from a nice lady on who said they weren't her style and if I paid shipping costs I was more then welcome to them. (deal!) So regardless on if she's previously washed them, I pretended as if the prefolds were brand, stinking new and washed them 3 times in hot, hot water with a little detergent. I also want to note, along with the econobum prefold, I was also using gerber birdeye prefolds which I purchased from the Military Post Exchange. I will note which prefold I am reviewing at the time. So after drying all the prefolds, I stuck Koen in his new cloth diaper with a econobum prefold(EP).

Cloth butt: EP cloth butt wasn't too bad, he didn't have to move up a side in clothing because of it, but it did stretch out the clothing he normally wears. It also made him look like he had been riding a saddle and to me, he looked uncomfortable. I'd ask him how they felt, but he is four months old and all he can tell me is, ooooohhhhhhaaaagggggg. They also looked like they were limiting his leg movements. He is a kicker and it looked like he was having trouble moving them. But then again, he wasn't crying so it couldn't have been that uncomfortable.

Gerber prefolds(GP) are a lot thinner than EP, so the cloth butt is highly reduced and to me, looked just like his sposies did. Even when I doubled up the GP(as in used two GP for one diaper).

Absorbency: I think the EP are very absorbent. I didn't get the chance to test the EP for poopy absorbency, but I am fairly(90%) confident they can take a beating with a fairly poopy diaper. As for the pee, my little guy is quite the water hose and they held up pretty good. I wouldn't recommend leaving the diaper for more than 2 - 3 hours though, but since I change him that often, not a problem. And I think they would hold up fine overnight.

GP. One prefold alone would have to be changed every hour. They kinda suck for absorbency. But if doubled or combined with the EP, they are awesome as extra for the EP or when doubled with itself it can handle a couple hours of pee. Now as for poop. I think it could hold it's own against a decent poop. Maybe not a seriously epic poopsplosion, but a normal poosplosion. Sure. Easy peesy. They absorbed very well to a normal poop, so. lol. But I will warn, I left the diaper for too long with the GP's and it leaked a little out the back(Pee, not poop. LOL) So while the GP's are cheap and give less cloth butt, they are a little weak in the absorbency area. But maybe with more washes comes more absorbency and even if they don't work for you. You at least have some more burp cloths! And who doesn't love burp cloths?

Econobum Cover: In my honest opinion, I remember reading that someone thought it was a little flimsy and were scared of the snaps coming off. The cover is very light weight, but is very water proof. As for the snaps, I agree, at first you'd think they would rip right out of the fabric, but after forgetting to be delicate with them while changing Koen and just yanking them off, I think they could hold their own. Trying to size the diaper is a little fun at first(did I mention Koen is a kicker?) but once you figure out the best snap setting for your little one, it's easy as pie.

Overall, I think it's a pretty good cloth diaper for the expense paid(3 covers and 12 prefolds for 49.99). If you don't mind the EP cloth diaper butt, then I think these diapers are fantastic! :D