A few Christmases ago, I decided to make reusable grocery bags for all my friends and family members. I bought ripstop nylon in three colors and got to work sewing up BurdaStyle's Charlie Reusable Grocery Bag. You can download this easy pattern for free. I sewed mine on a regular sewing machine, using a zigzag stitch in contrasting thread on the opening and French seams throughout. This worked well, as the nylon unraveled like crazy.
What also unraveled was my grand gifting plan. I only finished enough bags to give one per couple. It seriously bummed me out. Not only did everyone have to share, but I hadn't made a single one of the lovely orange versions I was saving till last.
That year I learned that I need lots of lead time for handmade gifts. I stick to one gift per holiday now and start working a month ahead.
If I thought anyone still needed a new grocery bag, I would be sewing Charlie bags for birthday gifts. I love this design. The bag folds into its own attached pocket, perfect for stowing in a glove box or purse. When expanded, it can hold an ample amount of groceries, library books, or (as in my fantasy scenario, below) delicious coffee and tea from Roos Roast and TeaHaus. Maybe I'll make an orange bag for myself. I'm still using my husband's from that Christmas past.