Sponsor | Grocery Tote with Oly*Fun Fabric!

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I’ve been sewing all of my life, having learned at my mom’s sewing machine when I was very young. Although I grew up watching my mom sew clothes, my passion for sewing is less about fashion and more in the craft and home decor type of project.

After all of this time sewing, it’s rare that I get to try something truly new, so I was excited to get the chance to try out the new Oly*Fun fabric by Fairfield (the makers of PolyFil).

Oly Fun

(Pictured above is just a small sampling of the 18 different colors that Oly*Fun comes in, including a full selection of colors perfect for school spirit projects.)

Shopping Bag Pattern

I had recently bought a pattern by Butterick, intending to make myself some reusable grocery totes from pretty floral fabric. But the problem with pretty fabric is that it is expensive, not that durable, and – for a pattern like this – requires a lot of fussy work to protect the fabric’s edges from fraying by using seam binding. So I procrastinated, and somehow the totes never quite got made….

But this new Oly*Fun fabric is weather resistant – perfect for shopping on rainy summer days in Florida. It is also strong and durable, perfect for taking a beating from loads of heavy groceries. And, the cut edges do not fray, so I would be able to make my totes without having to worry about doing all the extra detail work for protecting the edges! The Oly*Fun fabric is also very lightweight, so my totes would be easy to carry to the store to do my shopping.

With this incentive, I set to work making a reusable grocery tote finally, and this is the result:

Shopping Bag Empty

Oly*Fun was a very easy fabric to work with. It stitched very easily on my machine with a regular needle and Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP thread. The fabric cut like butter with my regular Fiskars fabric scissors. The stiff body of the fabric made it very easy to lay out and pin. Speaking of pinning…you would think on a fabric with this much body that the pins would leave huge marks behind, but surprisingly the fabric healed itself very well when they were removed and any small mark remaining could be smoothed out with a finger.

I accidentally got part of the fabric wet during construction of my bag. The water barely affected the fabric – in fact, the fabric almost repelled it. I blotted the surface of the bag dry and after a moment, you couldn’t even tell the bag had been wet!

Fairfield advertises Oly*Fun as a great product for beginning sewing enthusiasts and there is definitely truth in that claim. The fabric stays where you put it while working, and the lack of grain in the fabric means pattern placement and cutting is simple. It cuts crisply, like paper, making it easy to make accurate cuts even for those with limited motor skills or experience cutting patterns.

Oly Fun cutting

Even though I was working with a practical fabric, I still wanted to make my practical project a bit pretty. I used my Silhouette machine to cut some quilt fabric (backed with iron-on interfacing) into a pretty yellow flower. I couldn’t iron the flower directly onto the tote bag because Oly*Fun’s one limitation is that it won’t take a hot iron. Instead, I ironed the flower onto a piece of white fabric and then trimmed around it as a background.

Shopping Bag Applique

I handstitched the flower applique onto the tote, and also did some decorative top stitching inside the flower (which will also do double-duty helping secure the flower). I was amazed at how easily the Oly-Fun fabric took handstitching, despite the bulk and strength of the fabric.

Shopping Bag Full

At about $3/yard for 60″ wide fabric, Oly*Fun is definitely an affordable way to create a project like this. Especially when you calculate the savings in supplies like seam binding that weren’t needed when working with Oly*Fun.

With a whole rainbow of Oly*Fun to work with, I look forward to making myself many more totes to do my grocery shopping with!

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