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.
- Heavy weight fabric, home decor, canvas, etc – less than half a yard (Get it from Fabric.com)
- Vinyl or faux leather – less than half a yard (Get it from Fabric.com)
- Wonder clips, paper clips, or binder clips
- Optional – double sided Wonder Tape
- A little time
Watch me make one
Step by step instructions
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
Or cut your fabric in the size to suit the bag 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.
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.