In between sewing projects in 2011, I’m going to recount the sewing projects that I completed in 2010. This post is one of those projects.
After finishing the save the date books, my now husband and I then embarked on our next wedding-related sewing challenge: making welcome bags for those coming in from out of town for our wedding.
It was important to us to have these bags as we’re always the out-of-towners at weddings, and we’ve found that being greeted by a bag with snacks and information can really start a wedding weekend off on a good note.
We decided early on that we wanted to not only make the bags but make them out of something nice so that our guests would reuse them. Our first idea was to use a light-colored canvas so that we could screen an image of Virginia, the state we were getting married in, on each of them. I’d seen similar bags all over the crafty, wedding-inspired internet.
I’d already made the image, and we’d already identified a place where we could screen the bags, but we hadn’t yet found a canvas that we liked. Then, while scouring a discount fabric warehouse for a nice canvas, we stumbled across a bolt of striped Burberry fabric, and our plans immediately changed. We threw screen printing out the window and dove head first into making striped bags.
We didn’t use a pattern for the bags but instead focused on optimizing the width and length for the size of the bolt of fabric while ensuring that the final bag was large enough to hold a magazine. First we cut out all of the bags, making a simple rectangle of fabric. Then we hemmed the short sides of the rectangle and stitched on the handles, which were equal lengths of black webbing we’d bought in bulk from the same store. Finally, we folded the rectangle in half, right sides together, and stitched up the sides of the bag. We then flipped the bag right-side-out, and voila! a reusable tote bag for a wedding guest.
We filled each bag with information about the weekend, guides to local attractions, snacks, tokens local to the area, and a reusable metal water bottle. We also attached a note that read:
Welcome! Thank you so much for traveling to Richmond for our wedding. We are very excited for this weekend, and it means a lot to us that you can be here. Please enjoy this handmade, reusable bag and all of the goodies inside. We lovingly filled it with a few snacks to curb your hunger, including Hubbies peanuts local to Virginia and Ghirardelli chocolates local to San Francisco. Inside is also a reusable water bottle that has already been filled with purified spring water for your convenience… So that you can take home a bit of the sweetness of the weekend, there is also a small jar of local Virginia honey inside. The jar is sized to carry on the airplane if you happen to be flying home. We also included a book since we both love books, but don’t judge us by its content. The choice of the book was random, unvetted, and purely for fun. We hope it might bring a smile to your face as you travel home after the weekend. Finally, there are a few touristy things in the bag, such as maps and guides to the historic areas in downtown Richmond, to encourage you to explore this amazing city.
From what we heard, our guests really liked them, and we’ve enjoyed seeing the bags in use by family and friends ever since.
One final note: scale is important. It’s very different to sew one bag than it is to sew 40!