Thursday 5 July 2012

Cotton Bags: About

I dread to think quite how many cotton bags I have decorated over the last few weeks. It's been fun - more akin to craft than art at times, perhaps, but that doesn't really matter. Anyway, as Oscar Wilde once inferred, if it's useful, it can't be art.

And they really ought to be useful. I've adopted Botallack: Chimney and Blue Spiral Celtic Dragon for myself, and they get put to work the same as any reusable carrier bag might do. OK, so maybe it wasn't wise to try to stuff a cycle helmet and a coat into Botallack: Chimney, but a few minutes with a needle and some thread soon sorted the split seam out.

A selection of bags

I thought I ought to make a few notes on the bags themselves, not least because they are for sale. The people I bought the plain bags from say,
Cotton Bags generally come from the sub continent from countries such as India, Pakistan and China. Cotton shoppers coming from India are generally (but not always) considered to be better quality and more ethically reliable. We have visited every factory that we buy cotton carriers from to ensure the working conditions are suitable, and that there is quality control in place.

Our cotton canvas bags are made from 5oz cotton as standard and with top quality stitch to ensure the bags can handle a good weight. Beware of bags that claim to be a higher weight. Whereas the bag may weigh more, the cotton itself could still be made from a lower weight, sometimes 3oz or 4oz. [...]

 - Carrier Bag Shop
So, they should be ethical as well as fairly environmentally friendly. And I hope that you think they look nice, too.

In use, the bags are quite strong - quite up to carrying groceries including a 4 pint bottle of milk (but don't overstuff them!) - and the handles are long enough that you can carry them over one shoulder. They are only simple, flat bags (that is, with no gusset), and they aren't really heavy duty canvas - but they fold up nice and small (the fixed wax finish seems to take folding very well).


All bags are £6 including UK p&p (please contact me; if the bag you want has been sold, it is possible that I could do another one). If you have a new idea for a bag, I'll be willing to consider it.

Post Script: Care Instructions

The bags are, as noted above, pretty robust. The artwork will not mind getting wet, and is machine washable at 40°C. However, it should be noted that the fabric will get very crumpled (it is pure cotton, after all), and the bag will need A Jolly Good Iron after washing.

Do not iron directly on the decoration (especially if it is wax-based; there is a possibility that the wax may melt onto the surface of your iron). Instead, turn the bag inside out or use a sacrificial tea towel.

1 comment:

  1. A recent laundry experiment reveals the reason why fabric wax crayons have the edge over their standard friends; they just don't have the same staying power in the face of detergent! (The marks were still there - wax crayon doesn't always wash out easily, after all, even if it hasn't been heat-treated with an iron - but rather paler than before they were washed.)

    Ah, well. I suppose the kids can have the big tub of Crayolas I bought at the weekend.


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