To make the hand-bag shown you need:
- Lots of clean food wrappers (it’s good to keep them out of landfill)
- Sewing thread
- Lots of time
- Handles (I used the string handles off a Department store presentation bag).
Step 1: Cut your wrappers into rectangles, two inches x 4 and a half inches.
Tip: make yourself a rectangle template from cardboard or plastic milk bottle. I use a sharpie to draw around my template straight on to the food wrapper so I can easily see my cut lines.
The bag shown is 9 rows of 62 folded links.
Tip: the first two links are the hardest to connect. By the time you get to the third link, the links stabilise each other.
Step 3: Join each row into a circle.
Tip: I join with the last link added to the first link. Read the written instructions here. Use a pair of scissors or flat screwdriver to push the legs back up into the inner chain.
Step 4: Sew the rows together.
Use a cotton or string that matches the overall colour of your bag. I use sewing cotton.
Tip: Make yourself a sewing bobbin from an old credit or store card. I made mine from an old Suitability for Working with Children Card. Cut a thin strip, hole-punch one end, round the edges. Tie one end of your cotton to the punched hole and the other end to your starting link of your first row.
The sewing motion is a simple up and down stitch through the links. The stitching is invisible because it lies behind the links.
Tip: Each link has a positive and a negative side. Have a look and you can see that they are different. For easy sewing the trick is to place your rows so that a positive sits on a negative…the touching ends will look different to each other and this makes the sewing action easy. Read the instructions again.
and it continues row upon row, outside and inside to make a smooth finish.
Tip: Tuck the ends in toward the inside.
Step 6: Make your handle either from another row of links or re-use handles as I have done. I simply pushed the nylon thread between top rows and tied a hearty knot on the inside.
Happy food wrapper weaving – this is a fantastic sustainable and recycled craft. I look forward to seeing your bags – styles are plentiful once you master the weaving and sewing technique.