Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week 28 or The Baguette Bag

I buy a lot of baguettes at our local bakery. They're delicious. They're fresh. They're the only thing my younger child will take for lunch.
Courtesy of A & J King Bakery, Salem
I've seen cloth bread bags on other blogs or webshops, but scoffed at them. I already teeter on the line between reasonable eco-consciousness and tree hugging granola freak, and that's only because I live in Massachusetts. If I were farther south, I'd be over the line already and too embarrassed to carry them. In any case, we don't have a breadbox, and most of our bread gets thrown in the freezer for storage beyond a day or two. The loaf breads, when you get them sliced, come in a plastic bag. So I freeze them in those. The baguettes, though, come in a plain white paper bag, which is useless for the freezer. I've been happily recycling the paper bags every week. Except that they're kind of a pain to fold up and stuff into the bin.

So there you have it. The real reason I will be carrying a cloth bag to the bakery next week is that I don't like folding long, skinny bags. As a side benefit, I get rid of an otherwise useless piece of fabric. And I save a tree over my lifetime. And I save some bleach from being used to whiten those bags. And I save the gas used to haul those bags to the recycling center. And to reprocess them. And to ship them back to where they will eventually be used again.

One of my pet peeves is people doing nothing about climate change because they don't believe the science. Forget the climate change part, there are plenty of other, completely unrelated reasons to reduce, reuse and recycle. Like mountain top removal coal mining. Or fracking. Or acid rain. Or resource depletion. Or the destruction of pristine habitats for the extraction of rare minerals. Or industrial accidents like Bhopal. Whatever your reasons are, start with the reduce, then go on to reuse and, as a last resort, recycle things you actually needed and used until they wore out.

This bag was made from material from a friend who was clearing out her house to prep it for sale, so she gave it to me. It's the same butterfly material that lined the teacher's bag a month ago. I'll use the bag until we stop buying baguettes on a regular basis, which might be the day I die, they are that good. Hopefully, when I am done with this bag, I will still be able to bring it to the city's fiber recycling day so it can be made into cotton paper or carpet backing or car soundproofing material or home insulation.

I started by cutting out a rectangle. Then I pinned the wrong sides together and sewed  along the long edge and one short end. Then I pressed the seams open, clipped the corner off, turned the bag inside out, and sewed the seams again. That's a French seam, which seemed appropriate for a bag for French bread. Plus it would keep me from getting stray bits of thread in the bread.

Then I sewed two button holes near the side seam and the fold, about 2 inches from the top of the bag. I turned the top edge down so the buttonholes were barely not folded inside the bag. And I sewed all the way around the bag,  just above and just below the buttonholes. Spelling out "Baguette Bag" using the over-the-top feature of my sewing machine that allows me to sew letters. Lastly I threaded two lengths of cord through the casing I'd just made, with one knot coming out of each buttonhole. VoilĂ , a Baguette Bag.

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