To Make or to Buy?

With increasing cost of fabric and materials along with counting my precious time, I've sometimes thought, "should I make this or buy this?" when I see something I feel I want or need.

At Quilt Market Lori Holt had the cutest vinyl shopping bag and I asked her where she got it. She bought it at the check out for $1.00 at TJ Maxx. It was kind of a patchwork pattern vinyl and so cute, especially at that price.When I had some time I went to TJ Maxx and at the check-out area I looked for Lori's vinyl bag. Of course they were out of stock. But they had some similar vinyl bags in other patterns. Again, for $1.00, how could you go wrong? So I picked up a couple bags and have used them for shopping and moving things from place to place.

I don't know if you realize but oil cloth and vinyl coated fabric is becoming more and more popular. In fact, your favorite fabric is likely out or coming in in a vinyl covered version. Jennifer Paganelli has some really cute vinyl covered fabric out right now. All the cool designers are doing it. Riley Blake is coming out with their best lines in a vinyl version. So I've been thinking I want to use some of that laminated fabric and make some bags.
I actually have some laminated fabric and oil cloth I hadn't used on hand. I thought, why not make a shopping bag. And I did. But it was more work than I thought it would be. Anytime I make something new or different it always takes me longer than I think. I purchased cotton webbing for the handles since I really don't like how the synthetic webbing feels on my hands. You can find that on etsy or a google search. And the handles on the TJ Maxx bag were too long. Making a bag let me customize the handles.
Of course I think mine is more stylish than the purchased bag. I used several different patterns and pattern ideas to make my bag and didn't follow 1 single pattern. I had purchased an oilcloth bag pattern but all I really used from that was the size and the idea to baste seams with applique glue.
I created the bottom (with heavy duty interfacing) my own way and constructed it in a similar method to other tote bags I've made. This bag is not lined however, obviously.
I had this premade decorative seam binding for a while now and I've been wanting to use it. I like the accent and how it is similar but different than the bag materials. And of course I really like the green hounds tooth on the sides of the bag.
I will make more similar laminated bags. After all, Lori has laminated fabric coming out and I will want to use that. Next time though, I'll change some things and I think it won't take as long to make my own shopping tote. But, a few $1.00 bags from TJ Maxx can't be a bad thing to have around.

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Barbara said...

I love how yours turned out - great combination of patterns and colors. I admit to being a fan of the TJ Maxx/Marshall's bags. They are perfect for estate sales - I can get tons of junk in one!

Darlene said...

Yours is darling - since I'm seriously bagophobic I simply buy the bags. LOL

Shari said...

Make vs Buy is an interesting discussion. I won't make shopping bags because at a $1 each, it simply isn't worth my time. And if something spills it won't upset me. However, I would probably make a lovely shopping tote for fabric shopping and wandering the shops with the girls - when pretty matters. Laminated fabric would be quite expenive here - more than $20/metre is my estimate. So pretty could equal too expensive. Still, if you just want what you want, you make it.
Having said all that - I just love the bag you made.

circle r motel said...

The fabric store in my town has vinyl fabric as well. I wanted to get some for a table cloth. I also had thought of making some bags for my college student daughter. Thanks for showing! I still need to buy some of Lori's fabric. I just love it - "Sew Cherry".

Betsy said...

I love your bag Nanette

Thimbleanna said...

I always feel the same way about socks. It's SO much cheaper just to buy the socks than knit them, but where's the fun in that? I love your bag though -- very cute!

Jennifer said...

Your bag is adorable! I especially love the houndstooth. I know what you mean about making vs buying and I have been weighing that more carefully than I used to.

Jennifer :)

beth said...

Love your bag!

Unknown said...

you can't beat $1 bags for ease...but your bag looks a million $!!!!

Brandie said...

Great colors in your bag. A dollar and an hour of your time make you think about buying those bags, but than you can't have the pleasure of saying " this old bag, Oh I just made it to match my shoes".

Kim with a K said...

Your bag is very pretty!!!

Nedra said...

Your bag is so much nicer! And I didn't know Lori's fabrics will be coming out in laminate. Yeah!

pratima said...

Your bag is beautiful, Nanette! The houndstooth fabric cordinates with beautiful big flowers so nicely. And it's great that you got to customize the handles and colors just the way you like it :)

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

No contest, Nanette, yours is definitely the better bag! It is extremely stylish and up to the minute. That being said - cheap and not having to do it is a good thing, too. LOL

Kim Walus said...

What a fun way to use laminates. I will have to make myself one at some point. I just need to shorten my list of things to do. Great bag Nanette. I love it!

Sherri said...

Love your bag Nanette! I really want to do a bag using laminate!

Sandi Linn Andersen said...

That is a really cute bag, Nanette! I have some oilcloth I bought three years ago and still haven't made it into a bag. I thought I'd make one for my mom but when she saw the fabric, she said she'd seen enough oilcloth in the 30's and 40's and it didn't interest her now. LOL! So that's why the oilcloth has never been stitched into a bag. :-) Another place that has cute bags is JoAnn Fabrics. I got the cutest ones with a sewing theme for just $1.99 each.

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

It just makes you feel better to carry one you've made, don't you think? Love how yours turned out. I guess I'ld pick up the $1.00 ones to grab and not worry what I could put in them for that cost. Love to put my gifts in the $1.00 ones, makes them a little bit special.

Kim D. said...

Cute bag, you can't go wrong for $1.00. I recently bought some clear vinyl at Joann's to make a bag, can't wait to see how it turns out.

Retrogirl said...

We don't have cutesy ones like Lori's TJ Maxx bags around here for just $1...I make heavy duty ones for the library books and grocery shopping because they'll last forever.

Will have to check out Jennifer's fabrics & Riley Blakes when they come out...I'd love a few cute ones for on the go.

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