Reusable Market Tote Bag

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Are you looking for ways to help the environment and cut out using plastic bags? Sew your own Reusable Market Tote Bag with this easy tutorial!

Are you looking for ways to help the environment and cut out using plastic bags? Sew your own Reusable Market Tote Bag with this easy tutorial! #ecofriendly #reducewaste #sewingproject #reusablemarkettote #diy #diymarkettote

Reusable Market Tote Bag

Are you trying to help the environment by using a reusable shopping bag instead of a plastic bag from the store? It’s the right thing to do, but I find the store-bought reusable bags aren’t so great and tend to wear or rip too soon, especially at the bottom where they get poked by boxes and sharp edges.

So here is a reusable eco-conscious shopping tote bag you can sew yourself and know that it’s going to be long-lasting and hard-wearing. Oh, and it looks really good too!

–You make also like this Homemade Sandwich Bags Sewing Tutorial

Materials Needed:

  • Heavyweight fabric, home decor, canvas, etc – less than half a yard (Get it from
  • Vinyl or faux leather – less than half a yard (Get it from
  • Wonder clips, paper clips, or binder clips
  • Optional – double-sided Wonder Tape
  • A little time

–New to sewing? Check out my 7 Sewing Must-Haves List before you get started!

Watch me Make a Rectangular Tote Bag:

How to Make a Reusable Market Tote Bag

Cut out the following pieces:

  • Fabric – two pieces: 16 inches wide by 11.5 inches tall
  • Vinyl – two pieces: 16 inches wide by 8 inches tall
  • Fabric strap – two pieces: 22 inches long by 1.5 inches wide
  • Vinyl strap – two pieces: 22 inches long by 2 inches wide

You can easily customize this bag to be any size you’d like. Want to make it deeper or taller? Add to the height. Want to make it wider? Add to the width above.


Match the vinyl to the fabric at the bottom edge, clip together, or pin within the seam allowance and then sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Fold the fabric of the seam allowance in half and tuck it underneath the vinyl seam allowance.


Sew close to the edge of the vinyl on the wrong side to enclose the raw edge. Repeat for the other side. Match the two sides WRONG sides together and stitch down the side seams with a 1/2 inch seam.


Trim the side seam allowance in half. Turn the bag with the right sides together, pin or clip the side seams neatly, and then sew them again with another 1/2 inch seam allowance to enclose raw edges and make the bag good and strong.


Sew across the vinyl bottom of the bag, with the right sides facing. Stitch the same seam again just inside the original line of stitching for extra strength. Box the corners of the bag with a 3 inch depth. Match the side seam with the bottom seam and sew across the corner twice for strength before cutting off the extra.


Around the top edge of the bag, turn in about a 1/4 of an inch and press and then turn in another 1/2 inch and press. Top stitch twice. Once close to the top fold and once close to the bottom fold.


Prepare the handles. Fold the vinyl edges in towards the center and secure the vinyl with either some strips of Wonder Tape or some clips. Do the same for the fabric straps and press them neatly.


Add the fabric on top of the vinyl, covering the point where the edges meet and clip it in place. Top stitch close to the edge of the fabric on both sides, keeping the fabric in the center.


Mark on the inside of the bag for the handles. Measure in 4 inches from each side seam and make a mark. Around this mark, draw a box 1 inch square on the fabric underneath the turned over top seam. This is where the ends of the straps will finish.


Sew a rectangle around the edges of the strap to hold it in place. Repeat for the other strap.

Market Tote Bag

Your bag is done and it looks great! Now you can shop in style knowing your groceries aren’t going to all fall out of the bottom. Why not make enough bags to take with you for a big monthly shop and check out these great tips for buying in bulk. Or make an extra bag to gift to a friend!

Did you enjoy making this reusable shopping bag pattern? Find more sewing projects to get started on:

Easy Bag Holder Sewing Pattern
Easy Sewing Projects
Free Printable Sewing Patterns
45+ Free Simple Sewing Patterns
Even More Free Printable Sewing Patterns and Tutorials
Little Sewing Projects You Can Do in Your Spare Time

If you would like to try sewing some more bags, take a look at the free patterns and videos for the Teeny Tiny Zipper pouch or the Turning Japanese easy bag for beginners.


This Reusable Market Tote Bag was originally published on Little House Living in September 2014. It has been updated as of October 2019.

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  1. absolutely lo e this bag. As a couponer, I go through lot of those bags bringing my sales and finds home. These would be much stronger and save on the purchasing new re usable bags as I forget them lot and purchase more. These would also be great for carrying my coupon binders for larger shops. Plus so pretty and much nicer patterns than store logos. Love how you can personalize it to you.

    1. Yes, you are much less likely to leave your own bags and they’ll last so much longer, and look nicer too.

  2. I use totes every time I go to the market. love this one!! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop. xo

  3. what would you recommend as the best positioning inside for adding a pocket for a wine bottle or glass jar? some of the cheapo shopping bags I’ve had – have a pocket in the corner somehow. I actually find myself using those corner pockets to keep bottles or jars or cartons of things like cream from falling over.

    this is a great bag! great instructions! I actually have everything I need already, just need the time. I’m going to try to make a couple of these since I’m always using the .99 ones from the store and they really don’t last long.

    thank you!

    1. If you wanted to add a pocket like this on the inside, you would make a rectangle of fabric, neaten the edges and then fold it to form a tube with the raw edges together. Then make sure to catch the edge of the tube in the side seam as you sew the bag together so that you get a suitable round pocket on the inside of the bag where you could keep a bottle upright. Would be a very useful addition – great suggestion.

  4. I love it! Having things poke (rather, fall…) out the bottom of bags is a big problem. I love the vinyl at the bottom, and adding it to the straps as well. And the colors are so cheery! Thanks so much for sharing, your post is featured in tonight’s What’d You Do This Weekend! Pinned 🙂

  5. Love this bag idea, just have the right fabrics to make it 🙂 I will try to make a lining also with little pocket including.

  6. The best video I have ever seen on Tote Bags! Thank you for doing this, your very talented. And I am just a beginner.

  7. Wonderful bag! Do you finish off the ends of the straps before attaching them to the bag? Thanks 🙂

  8. Among all the video tutorial I watched, yours captured my heart! I love how you sewed this bag and I will make one for myself soon! 🙂

    I just have one question and really hoping to hear from you so I can start sewing! I need to know what type of thread did you use for vinyl? Would a regular thread work? Or I need to get a heavy duty upholstery thread? I am just concerned about my sewing machine if heavy duty thread will work. Thank you!

  9. I am new to sewing and just made this bag yesterday. The instructions were very easy to follow. The problem I encountered was with getting the many layers of vinyl to feed through my machine. I put my walking foot on but still was getting stuck on the seams. I lowered my feed dogs and still had trouble. Maybe I should try a different method for bowing the bottom.

  10. I love the tutorial on making a sturdy tote bag, I appreciate if you can help me to make the technique how to make wine tote bag with oblong bottom by using a materials like upholstery and with lining on it.
    Its my first time so Im not so sure if i can do it.

  11. Wow, I just loved the tote. After watching the video it seems like anyone can make it easier and it will definitely reusable bags. I am glad that I visited your article which offers great tips and I can efficiently apply it. Thanks. I will try to make it today…

  12. I love this and I’m going to give it a go even though I am complete beginner!! I can’t find the exact material though. Do you know what the print is called or could point me in the right direction please? Many thanks, Katie

  13. I love watching your tutorials Deby. You have a soothing voice and your instructions are so easy to understand.

    Thank you for making all of the tutorials.

  14. I can’t wait to make this tote bag. You do have a soothing voice and make everything look so easy. I listen to you every night in bed, listen to your tutorials.

    Thank you for all of the beautiful patterns.

  15. I’m a beginner and this was my very first bag. First time through, my vinyl seams didn’t align with the fabric seams. I have kept on making the bag, though, and each time it gets better and easier. Today I made it with red quilted fabric and it came out beautifully. This is my absolute go-to bag! Thank you for such clear instructions.