Make a linen bagfor bread and produce

Bread remains fresh longer if protected from sunlight, kept cool and allowed to breathe. Plastic bags trap moisture and make the crust rubbery and soft. Keeping bread in the refrigerator will suck out the moisture and it will stale faster.

Herbs, lettuces and most produce also keep longer when stored in a bag that breathes. Wash the produce first and then put it into the bag without drying it. This little bit of moisture helps maintain freshness. Stow the bag in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.

Linen is an ideal fabric. It is heavier and stronger than most cottons and because the fibres are coarser, the fabric has a more open weave. Linen is difficult to find and most clothing store sales clerks don’t even know what it is.

I have searched Western Canada and found only two sources: Gala Fabrics in Victoria and Mitchell Fabrics in Winnipeg. Both will email pictures and send out fabric swatches for distance shopping.

This simple drawstring bag works equally well for storing produce and bread. We are creating a simple bag with French seams all around and a drawstring top. French seams have no raw edges exposed.

What you will need

  • 2 pieces of fabric 14 inches
  • by 16 inches (35 cm by 40 cm)
  • co-ordinating thread
  • 1 yard of 1 inch twill tape (1 m)

Step 1: Prewash the fabric, dry and press it before cutting. Cut fabric to size. If you want to personalize the bag with embroidery work, do it now.

Step 2: Place one piece of fabric with short side at the top on your ironing board. Along this short end, mark 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) from each side edge. Fold the fabric at this mark and press down the long side about three inches (7.6 cm) on both sides. This finishes the edges of the openings for the drawstring tubing. Then fold the top edge of the fabric down 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) and press. Open this fold and turn under the raw edge by 1/4 inch (6 mm) and press. Repeat with the second piece of fabric. You now have the channel formed for the drawstring.

Step 3: Stitch along the bottom of the tube. With scissors, snip the folded fabric just under the tubing so that it will lay flat and press.

Step 4: Pin the two pieces together, with the right side facing you. That means that it will be pinned with the wrong sides together. This is not how you normally make a seam. This is the first step in making a French seam, where no raw edges will be exposed. Stitch the three raw edge sides of the bag 1/4 inch (6 mm) from the raw edge. Trim off half of the seam allowance. Flip the bag inside out and press.

Step 5: The bag is now inside out. Stitch again the three sides at 1/4 inch (6 mm) seam allowance. Flip the bag right side out again and press. You now have all the seams with no exposed raw edges. The outside edge of the bag should be flush with the outside edge of the tubing channel.

Step 6: Reinforce the side seams just below the tubing channel with a wide machine zigzag or with hand stitching. To finish the drawstring, attach a safety pin to one end of the twill tape and guide it through the tubing.

Stitch the ends of the twill tape together to form a loop that is used as a drawstring to close the bag.

For more information, contact Gala Fabrics at 250-389-1312, or galafabrics.com or Mitchell Fabrics at 800-797-2690, or www.mitchellfabrics.ca.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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