Participants in the “Tank Top Grocery Bag” class on Sept. 18 will learn the basic pattern and instructions for sewing a reusable, quilted shopping bag. [Photo courtesy of Deb Slechta]

Why use throwaway plastic bags when you can make your own quilted, washable and reusable shopping bags?

After learning the City of Moab was considering a ban on plastic bags, Deb Slechta, owner of It’s Sew Moab, was prompted to teach a class on how to make a reusable shopping bag.

Slechta, who has taught sewing classes since she opened her shop in November 2014, was already teaching a “Bag of the Month” series when she decided to focus her next class on how to create fabric shopping bags.

It will be an easy project that beginner sewers can do, she said.

The “Tank Top Grocery Bag” class will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18. The gray and black reversible fabric that will be used to make the bags is a strong, rip-stop nylon. The completed bag will resemble a scoop-neck tank top, Slechta said.

Slechta recommends making more than one bag to carry separate items.  

She will show class participants how to stitch various colored threads on the outside of the bags to designate the bags that are to be used for carrying specific foods.

For example, green-colored thread could represent that a bag is primarily used for carrying vegetables. A reusable shopping bag made with red thread might indicate that the bag is for carrying raw meat — reducing the possible risk of cross-contaminating the different foods, said Slechta. With quilted stitching and two layers, the bags are designed to be washed.

“A lot of people don’t wash their bags,” she said, which can also cause cross-contamination.

Slechta said most people prefer to bring their own sewing machines to class, but sewing machines can also be reserved at the shop.

The $25 class fee will include fabric, the pattern and instruction. Sewers are requested to bring their own basic sewing supplies, such as scissors and pins, as well as their own colored threads. Threads or embroidery floss can also be purchased at the store.

Marsha Williams of Salt Lake City visits It’s Sew Moab during each of her visits to Moab and has gotten to know Slechta through attending many of the quilting classes offered at It’s Sew Moab.

“The sewing classes are for any age, any ability — whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned sewer,” Williams said. “She tailors them so that everyone can learn and take home a completed project.”

Williams became interested in the “Tank Top Grocery Bag” class after she heard about the proposed plastic bag ban.

“I thought that is a tremendously ingenious idea,” Williams said. “Plastic bags can only last so long.”

Slechta gives a 10-percent discount on purchases to customers who belong to quilters’ guilds.

Local business demonstrates reusable bag-making at monthly class

When: Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 5:30 p.m.

Where: It’s Sew Moab, 40 W. Center St.

Cost: $25

Information: Call 435-259-0739, email or visit