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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Calico Bags - Gift Wrap

Last week our order of 500 calico bags arrived, to sell at the market. This is part of our group's mission to have our local Grower's Market go plastic bag free.

We have progressed from sewing bags ourselves from curtain off-cuts (we couldn't keep up with the demand), to then buying reusable bags from large local stores, you know the ones - made from recycled plastic, to ordering them ourselves online (much better deal), finally getting to these better quality, biodegradable calico bags. We couldn't afford to get them printed, so they are beautifully clean skin.
I was a little nervous that they wouldn't sell, as I had invested $1200.00 of my own money, but last weekend proved that they will sell just fine at $2.50 each.

I decided to create a little promotion for pre Christmas so that people will see the bags as useful for environmentally friendly giftwrap that is actually useful afterwards, or for Santa sacks.

Calico wrapped gifts with cool little chalkboard gift tags - reusable!

If you like that deer head silhouette that I stencilled - you can make your own with the free image from

The market manager has just secured 10,000 cornstarch, biodegradable bags for the market sellers to replace their plastic bags. While this isn't the perfect solution, it is a whole lot better.
At the market this weekend 97% (my estimation) of people had their own bags or bought them from us. Plus there was co-operation from sellers to provide produce without plastic. I feel that 9 months of our effort is paying off.😊

One of the things that plastic bags were useful for was picking up rubbish in. We still get a little supply from family members who don't manage to use reusable bags 😩, but mostly I give them to the lady at the market who sells plants, so at least the are reused. I decided to upcycle Munta's dog biscuit bags by sewing on handles to them for rubbish collecting missions - they work great, being big and sturdy.

They are also great for collecting seaweed off the beach for the garden.

Just an update on the rats - I bought one of those cage traps, which I bait with home made mixed nut and seed butter on a crust, leaving the trap where we know they are going outside. We have caught 8 so far (ew). So thank goodness something is working.


  1. That is just wonderfully exciting news on your reusable bags and recyclable plastic at the farmers market. And what a smart idea to market the bags for Christmas. The deer is really nice and maybe you should do up a few like that to sell. I bet they would sell well.

    1. Yes, I was thinking that too Cynthia, but it will have to wait until I'm mobile again following a bad back.

  2. Love what you are doing at your local market!
    The calico bags look great!

  3. I like those little blackboard tags...what a clever idea! To reduce my xmas wrapping, I have been repurposing calico flour bags by turning them into drawstring bags. My boy wanted to send "Xmas sacks" to his faraway grandparents this year so he wrote their names on cloth bags, I stitched over his writing and he then put little gifts for them inside. No wrapping paper required! Meg:)

  4. Hi Meg, I didn't know anyone still sold flour in calico bags, that's awesome. I bet the grandparents love their Xmas sacks. I've just spent a bit of time looking around your blog - a fellow gardener! You have some beautiful photography going on there too. I will be back.


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