Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reusable Shopping Bag Tutorial

Okay, so I don't consider myself a green girl but I try to implement more practices in my life. One that I have been doing for a couple of years now is the reusable shopping bags.

My mother got me started with these and now I almost do it automatically. Notice I said almost, you have to work up a collection, remember to put them in your car, and remember to take them into the store with you. The stores have these bags for purchase for a pretty reasonable price right? But they don't go in the washing machine (found this out after getting some maple syrup in one) and some of mine are now getting holes in the bottom. It occurs to me after flipping through a book on uses for one yard of fabric, that maybe I should start replacing some of my ratty shopping bags with some cute homemade ones. Of course I get to pick out a cute fabric ( hard to choose just one, but I will make more) and I get to put custom hooks on them (something my older bags do not have) for a certain dreaded but regularly visited store.
 I chose this cute black and cream scrolling pattern fabric in 100% cotton from the home decorating department.

I have one yard at approximately $10 a yard, that will make two bags. You will also need thread, 1 1/3 yard of 1/4 inch ribbon, and sewing machine with notions.
 First cut the top 5 inches off of the selvages ( I did this second so I had to seam it together, you can learn from my mistake).
Next cut the fabric in half(NOT on the fold). The fold will be your bottom.
After that sew the side seams at 3/8 inch.

Then pull the bottom corner out and line up your bottom crease with your side seam. At the spot where six inches meets each edge, mark a line straight across.  Sew on this mark. This will be an envelope style seam.

Then fold your point up and tack to the side seam.
You can take your selvage edges and cut them lengthwise into 2 1/2 inch strips. You should have 4 all together.

Then press the longest edges right side under 1/4 inch on both sides.

Next line up pressed edges with right side out, and topstitch.

Back to the bag, press your top edge turning right side under 1/4 inch.

Next cut four lengths of ribbon to 7 inches and two to 10 inches.
I lined the ribbons up with the hooks from a bag from the store I frequent. Tack the ribbons down.

 Pinning as I go, I pinned the straps 1 inch down to keep from getting too bulky. 

Then fold your top edge over 1 inch and  your ribbons up, stitch both edges.

Turn bag right side out and admire your handiwork! A bag you are proud to take to any store not just the grocery.

Remember to stash it in your vehicle so it will be ready!


  1. I never thought of making my own bags. I have quite a collection of others, mostly give away ones. I have lots of unused denim I could use.

  2. I love it when I can do a project and have little to no leftovers. Pretty bags make those routine chores just a wee bit easier to stomach. :)

  3. @ Bo Peep, me too. Although I am keeping the selvages right now for a future project!