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How To: Make Fabric Shopping Bags

Did you know that each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide?

To do your part to reduce this huge amount of waste, make your own fabric shopping bags with these easy instructions from Kristina J. Millar when you


What You Need

  • heavy-duty fabric, such as canvas or upholstery fabric
  • thread
  • scissors
  • sewing machine

How To Make It

  1. Choose some fabric — something heavy like canvas or upholstery-grade cotton. It can be as plain or as fancy as you like.
  2. Measure out a long rectangle for the bag (your finished bag will be about half the length of your original so decide how big you want your bag to be, then double the length). Measure out two long rectangles for the handles that are about 6 inches wide (if you want long handles measure out long rectangles; the ones above were 20 inches long).
  3. To sew the handles, fold the long edges of your rectangle into the middle, fold in half then topstitch it together.
  4. Sew a half-inch seam along the short ends of your long rectangle on each side (they need to face each other when you fold the edges together) and attach the handles approx 4 inches in from the edge on the sides with the seam.
  5. Fold the good sides together and close the two long sides (the bottom of the bag is made up of the fold, which is why you cut a long rectangle). As this bag won’t be lined you should zig-zag stitch the seam to prevent fraying.
  6. Turn right side out and enjoy your shopping!


Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
One of my friends makes this kind of thing for You basically make them and then hand them out at grocery stores. I just wish somebody would show me how to use a fricking sewing machine? I have one but I have NO CLUE on how to use it!!
craftyfingers craftyfingers 9 years
Regarding the post about just buying a shopping bag, I think the idea is to recycle fabric you already have - not promote more production of new goods.
pinkmermaid23 pinkmermaid23 9 years
I always borrow my roomate's bag she bought from publix...and although economically friendly, it's not that attractive. I think I'll make a couple this weekend with my mom and give one to every one of my roomates as gifts!
tkoblondee tkoblondee 9 years
Such a cute idea...
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
Oh! I love fabric shopping bags! It's especially rewarding to know that you're helping the environment. I like taking these to wholesale stores that don't have bags, such as Bj's, and they're so useful.
emalove emalove 9 years
Great idea! I'm trying to be better and use my canvas tote bags when grocery-shopping...sometimes I forget though.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
I start my sewing class on Friday. Once I'm done with it and know how to sew, I'm totally making these!
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
This is such a good idea- but I would have to make like 15 of them cuz when I go grocery shopping i buy a TON
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Neat idea!
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
I have a bag that I got at Whole Foods for $1 and I do use it often. But what bothers me a little is that the handles will slide off my shoulder, so I have to keep readjusting them. I think that this is a fun craft idea. I love crafting and sometimes I just want a one-of-a-kind bag, so this is just perfect. Kudos, CasaSugar!
sugarbecky sugarbecky 9 years
I need to make one of these. I will say that when I do get plastic, I reuse them instead of just throwing them away.
Lizzard214 Lizzard214 9 years
I love this! Thanks!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
oh, i generally just use my backpack for getting groceries since i walk or take a bus home from the stores, but sometimes the heavier items need to be put in a sturdy bag like the ones you've shown.
marcella marcella 9 years
this seems silly to me. why bother making your own when you can buy them for a dollar or so from trader joes or whole foods? i'm sorry, but i don't have that kind of free time.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
to the ones you've posted) that she made from leftover fabric just for me! so sweet.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
great tutorial! when i went back home for christmas, my mom surprised me with a few bags (similar
lulis lulis 9 years
Cool! I've been wanting to make my own and give them out as gifts.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
That's a cute pattern!
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