Mend it Monday #3

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

And another one. This one isn’t at all complicated and the effect is pretty much invisible, but it has done the job.I noticed when I was picking up the groceries today that two of my shopping bags were starting to fall apart. The handle was coming off one, and the lining was peeling away from the inside on the other.

They’re not expensive or even particularly robust, but the rest of the bag is in decent condition, so I’m not prepared to replace them if I can fix them.

It was simply a matter of putting the right thread in the sewing machine and setting the stitch to zigzag.

And no, I didn’t bother to change the thread for mending the second bag. Good for another couple of years, I think.

That’s better.

51 thoughts on “Mend it Monday #3

  1. Kathe W. says:

    Excellent fix!

  2. magpiesue says:

    We’re not allowed to bring our own bags to our local food co-op at the moment. They’re giving everyone a fresh new paper sack or one of the cardboard flats they receive canned goods in to carry their purchases home. With talk of easing restrictions -hmph- we’ll see what happens next or when. The other store we use most frequently is still allowing shoppers to use their own bags. Seems safe enough to me but what do I know?!

    • katechiconi says:

      We are encouraged to bring our own, but we have to pack them ourselves at the far end of the belt, and the belt and surrounding steel area are cleaned between customers. They’ve also installed clear plastic ‘sneeze screens’ between the clerk and the customer, and we’re also encouraged to use ‘tap and pay’ cards rather than hand over cash, etc. The staff are quite happy with the arrangement, it seems. I also fling my bags in the washer every few loads, which doesn’t help their longevity but does improve their safety!

    • I like the idea of paper bags

  3. Brilliant fix …
    I’ve got a couple that could do with some tlc 🤔

  4. my favorite grocery store started by not allowing shopper’s bags but then 2 weeks later they changed to allow personal bags as long as the shopper packed them themselves. The city banned single use plastic bags about a year ago and shops were charging a nominal fee for paper bags – they’ve dropped the fee at this time. Remember when the big issue was all about the environment??

    • katechiconi says:

      I do indeed, and the plastic bag issue largely passed me by as I’ve been using these bags made from recycled PET bottles for about 10 or 12 years. I do occasionally have to replace them if the lining completely shreds, but they far outlive their projected lifespan if you take care of them.

  5. M says:

    I used to get sturdy canvas totes from all the teaching conferences I went to. They make the best reusable grocery bags — durable and washable. I’ve had to patch a few, but so far the handles are intact and ready to use once we can bring our own bags again. Just wish I was still going to conferences.

  6. kymlucas says:

    The store where I work no longer allows reusable bags, at least right now, which is frustrating because we were just getting people trained to use them.

    • katechiconi says:

      That IS frustrating. We started out the same way, but once it was clear the clerks needn’t touch our bags if we pack our own, it made sense to go back to bringing our own. There’s an awful lot of spray & wipe going on in our supermarkets just now!

      • kymlucas says:

        Here too. We have someone siping all cart handles and baskets, and counting people coming in and out. Our store is large for the volume we get so haven’t had to turn anyone away yet, but some of our others have had lines.
        And we briefly – like one day – did the pack your own bags thing and immediately switched to only our bags.

      • katechiconi says:

        Same, with the wiping and restriction of numbers. We also have a security person managing the queues to pay and pack, which means no one gets crowded and there’s certainly no arguments about standing too close. The shop staff tell me they like not having to pack, and the perspex screens, but the new lift-scan-swivel-drop motion is taking some getting used to. They tried insisting everyone took the supermarket’s bags, but there was an outcry about all the excess plastic… Quite funny, considering how long it took to get everyone to switch to their own bags!

      • kymlucas says:

        Wow. We don’t have security, and I have to admit people are pretty lax about keeping 6’. I think your cashiers are set up differently than ours, who stand. Only place that has them sit (like English stores) is Aldi.
        Found out today our case of COVID is a friend of mine, who I work with semi-directly. Nice guy so I was very glad to hear he’s not in the hospital, but recovering at home.

      • katechiconi says:

        Ours stand too. Formerly, they’d pack the bag directly below the scanner. Now, they have to pass the goods to the slide on one side so the customer can pack. The security guys were introduced to stop fights over toilet paper and to ensure people stay a correct distance in the queues to pay. These days, they mainly stand around chatting amicably with the lady wiping down the trolley and basket handles 🙂

      • kymlucas says:

        Ours stand, but items generally go down a belt to end to packer. No fights in our store, as far as I know. A couple of extremely rude people, and some complaints when we don’t have stuff (as if we’re contrarily choosing not to order yeast or their favorite bread). But many people are very appreciative. Someone bought the whole store lunch last Friday – an Italian feast with about 4 main dishes, salad, bread … delicious!

  7. I like the way you’re subverting the system… chilly bags are great and reusable for a while. But their lack of longevity, cheap replacement cost and destination landfill makes them not so environmentally friendly… which you have worked around.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s quite satisfying extending the life of something designed to be temporary. They’re good bags, a good design and size, they’re just shoddy and poorly made.

  8. cedar51 says:

    I’ve just found a “crack or two” in a retro pyrex type mini bowl I use a lot…I would really love to work out how to repair it, so it doesn’t inadvertently become only fit for the garbage…

    regarding brown paper bags of old…not the new trend. All your potential wet things were wrapped in newsprint or old weekly newspapers before it went in your brown paper bag…

    • katechiconi says:

      Do you microwave or put boiling liquids in your bowl? It would affect any possible repair.
      The Snail of Happiness first put me onto Sugru® (, which is a mouldable silicone putty which hardens and can be used to stick things together. It has been used to mend cups, glass vases, etc. The Snail used it to mend her teapot lid, as you can see here: (
      So unless you plan to heat it over 180°C or use it for very acid substances, which Sugru doesn’t like, it might do the trick.
      And yes, I remember newspaper or butcher’s paper being used to wrap stuff, but no more… We used to dry it and make twists for lighting the woodstove from it!

      • cedar51 says:

        okay, I see we have stockists of sugru in Auckland, but of course will have to wait until “one can truly go shopping in a real store”

        no I never heat it…as such, I use it for things like putting snacks in or I might have my cereal out of it…

        It and two of it’s other friends who are actually china are about the size of a cup but bowl shaped…

        thanks for your help…

      • katechiconi says:

        I ordered mine online and got it through the post, if that’s an option in NZ? It’s good stuff: I made ear-moulds to go around headset ear buds for plugging myself into the motorbike intercom. They worked a treat, cutting out the noise inside the helmet whilst allowing sound from the intercom system through. I like the fact it comes in lots of different colours so you can use either a contrasting colour or mix colours to achieve a reasonable match. Sadly, it doesn’t come in clear!

  9. nanacathy2 says:

    Now that’s what I call thrifty!

    • katechiconi says:

      I really couldn’t see myself chucking them out because some stitching had come loose. That’d be like those blokes who throw a shirt out when they lose a button, instead of learning to sew it back on. Imagine!

  10. tialys says:

    Yes, very thrifty indeed. I have several ‘bags for life’ which you use until they wear out and then the supermarket replaces them for free. However, in fifteen years I’ve probably only ever had to get one replaced as they seem to be made from strong stuff which, even if not recyclable, will have saved I don’t know how many thinner plastic bags over the years. I think France was ahead of the game with these as this was happening when we moved here and everybody is used to taking their own bags with them. So far they haven’t stopped us doing that and I’ve never seen anybody pack shopping bags for customers here anyway – as if!

    • katechiconi says:

      I actually prefer to pack my own, because I can then decide what goes in which bag, but my small local supermarket doesn’t have any self-checkout aisles. I tend to state my packing preferences up front in normal times. Now, of course, I can please myself, but it does make a bit of a scramble: stand 1.5m back, then quickly unpack, rush your trolley through, start packing when the checkout person is already a bagfull ahead, scan your loyalty card, finish packing, pay, and get out of the way quickly for the next person. I feel sorry for the staff, the checkouts aren’t set up for all that lifting and twisting they now have to do. But at least my bags are now up to the job 🙂

      • tialys says:

        Customer service in France – such as it is and it isn’t much – has never extended to anybody packing my shopping up for me at any point in the proceedings. Mind you, I don’t remember it happening in the U.K. either although Mr. Tialys says it’s getting a bit more common (or was in life as it was before).

  11. Going Batty in Wales says:

    Wales was the first part of the UK to introduce a charge for single use carrier bags in stores. The money they collect goes to heir chosen charity. For a while tourists made a fuss but the rest of the UK caught up and now everyone expects the charge. I was already using fabric bags made from old curtains I was given. Some of them I quilted for chilled or frozen food. And yes they get mended from time to time to keep them going. I haven’t been to a supermarket since lockdown began so I have no idea what they are doing about bags here!

    • katechiconi says:

      You actually can’t get a single use plastic bag in a supermarket here, you are obliged to buy a sturdy reusable one or bring your own, which takes them out of the rubbish chain entirely. I have a fold-up nylon bag in my handbag which is much-mended and 12 years old (I got it as a housewarming present, so I remember the date!) but these particular bags will always be favourite because of their ease of folding up flat and their flat bottoms and lids. I like the idea of recycling curtains into shopping bags!

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Maybe getting rid of single use bags will be the next step. Most supermarkets do have a place where you can dump old ones to be recycled again.

  12. Emmely says:

    In a lot of supermarkets we now have the option to take along a scanner ourselves, so you take an item from the shelf, scan it and put it in your bag. Depending on the supermarket at the end of the trip you either hand over the scanner to the cashier so she knows how much you have to pay or you pay at a machine. I think this already encourages the use of your own bags. And it is so much faster than standing in line waiting for every item to be scanned.
    Great mend!

    • katechiconi says:

      I like the self-checkout machines you get in larger stores, big enough to park your trolley but allowing you to pack yourself. I’m not sure the Australian population is honest enough to be trusted with the scanner option; I’m sure lots of things would walk out of the door without being scanned – unless they have security tags or cameras watching the customers!

      • Emmely says:

        They do random checks to see if you scanned everything. In some stores they then scan everything or the cashier has to scan 5 items or so. It really is random, I’ve not had any checks in 2 months and then twice in a row.

  13. claire93 says:

    well that’s two bags made sturdy again and all set for several years more of service!

    • katechiconi says:

      I have several more in service in other capacities: one holds our swimming things, one lives in the car, one is reserved for the dog’s bowls and toys, etc. I can always rotate out bags that don’t get much use if one of them gets too shabby. After all, the dog won’t care!

  14. Great saves! I find it all too easy not to mend something even though once I actually do get round to it it turns out to be quite quick and provides a real “win”… just like these, so well done for doing it when you noticed.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’d been noticing loose threads for a while but the mend hadn’t actually ‘shouted’ at me yet. Sometimes it does take a shout to make me take action, like two pairs of torn work pants and none left in the drawer!

  15. rutigt says:

    Bra jobbat! (Well done!) 🙂

  16. Hope your energy is contagious. My mending stack is a teetering fright. Fortunately there’s only one stack, much better than the multiple to-do piles on my desk.

  17. Joanne S says:

    I like this “Mend it Monday.” I have quite a few mis-matched conference totes (some sturdier than others) I like to use. Our local stores/shops are all over the place in terms of social distancing. Some require lines, 10 at a time, 6 feet, masks. Others are quite lax. It’s quite frustrating, actually.

    • katechiconi says:

      I hope I can keep up the mending posts, but there’s going to be an awful lot of Husband-pants mending – I just discovered another rip doing the laundry yesterday! I must see if I can find something a bit more interesting to repair…

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