Another Cool Fabric – Laminated Cotton

Of course, this may have been discovered on the left and right coasts long before it was by me in Minnesota, the latest innovation in my sewing life has been Laminated Cotton. (I would have called it Oilcloth, but oilcloth is heavier than the stuff I’ve been working with, and has its own category on  And of course, what I’m making out of it is not really news, particularly to my friends and rellies (relatives) in Maine who’ve been bringing their own bags to the supermarket since about 1985.  I’m making tote bags.  Like this one.  Click the picture if you’d like to see it larger.  The point I’d like to make, though, is that all good ideas can be tinkered with, and sometimes the results are better.

Hip Waterproof Tote

I started with a pattern (The Mighty Tote, by Susan Fuquay, copyright 2008  American Quilt Retailer) that I got as part of a goodie bag at Bear Patch Quilting Co. in White Bear Lake, MN.  That’s also where I spied and bought the lovely laminated cotton you see in the photo.

Of course, after reading through the pattern, which makes a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ bag, (which won’t fit in my shopping bicycle’s baskets), I forged off on my own.   After a couple attempts at measuring standard brown grocery bags, making the thing taller,  adjusting the size of the piece to leave open for turning, etc., I now have some new dimensions.  I’ll probably publish these later after I’ve done the math for the cutting layout, etc.  I plan on doing this for our quilt retreat in March.  I’m debating whether or not to put a Peltex or cardboard, plastic mesh piece in to make the bottom firmer in the next iteration.  The bag is fully lined with the same laminated cotton (or in my case, one bag has a contrasting lining of a leafy pattern).

Why is laminated cotton so cool?  Why is it perfect for shopping bags for me?  Why does this pattern rock?  Because if the milk leaks or fruit gets mushed in the bag there are

  • no stains


  • no extra laundry

because I can just rinse these puppies out under the faucet, or wipe them out with a wet cloth!

All this, and I think they will be a great fashion accessory with the Mary Poppins bike this spring.  (Even though I’ve started to use them already.)  They can also be used as an impromptu cooler, if you throw in the ice or ice packs.  I can also see this as the hip new pool accessory among the swimmers I know for toting suits, fins, goggles, etc.

What are your thoughts regarding solid bottoms vs. bags that can be rolled up, dear readers?  I can see pros and cons to both arguments.

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3 Responses to Another Cool Fabric – Laminated Cotton

  1. Kathy Seifert says:

    I am all over the “pattern as a jumping off point” strategy. I often can’t find one for what I really want to make, so I find something close and modify from there! I’m looking forward to receiving the dimensions and instructions at our retreat!

  2. MOM says:

    ‘Way back when, probably sometime in the 70s, there was a shortage of paper bags. (It was while Mama Dot was running the grocery store.) I made some bags from ticking fabric I had. I, too, used a paper bag for the dimensions. Like mother…..?

  3. Sheila says:

    I love those big, bold zinnias. You are going to be the queen of the farmer’s market this summer!

What do YOU think?