March 18, 2016


make your own shopping bags

I love the fact more and more people are using reusable bags when shopping. It is amazing how much waste you prevent buy using your own bags. Even though paper bags are better than plastic, the fact remains many people still don't or can't compost so where does the paper go? Garbage. I hope recycling but again either people just don't or they don't have it set up in their area. So it still creates waste plus it creates a need to cut down more trees.

Making your own bags is very easy. You don't even need a fancy machine. You can buy one of those tiny ones. You just need to make straight(ish) lines. So go grab some old sheets, or go buy some fabric. The choice is yours. Get yourself some ribbon for handles and you are ready to go. I used lefter over ribbon and 2 old night gowns (which is why they are so thin).

make your own shopping bag - bag 1

This is the easiest bag to make. I tend to use this size for farmers markets or light weight items such as veggies. This is easily adjusted. I don't do super long handles because I don't carry the bags from my shoulders. So the length is purely for looks.

2 - 13 inch x 13 inch pieces of fabric.
2 pieces of cut ribbon, length is up to you.

Before sewing, be sure to mark your seam allowance ¼ or ½ it's your choice. ¼ is more common.

  • Step 1: Sew the top of each piece to create your first hemmed edge.
  • Step 2: Line up your ribbon on the right side of each of the pieces of fabric. Pin then down so they don't shift when sewing. Sew them in place. For added strength you can sew an X at the top of each bag. Just gives a little something extra visually to the ribbon as well.
  • Step 3: Now place your two pieces of fabric right sides together. Pin then down so they don't shift when sewing. Now sew the two pieces together.
  • Step 4: Trim any excess fabric once all sides are sewn.
  • Step 5: This is purely optional. Create a flat corner with the fabric as shown in the image above measure in ½ – ¾ inches in. Pin then sew. Repeat on the other side and then cut the excess fabric. This creates sort of a flat bottom. I just like the look.

make your own shopping bags - bag 2

Now Bag 2 is normally used for boxier or heavier items.


2 - 11 inches x 11 inches pieces of fabric (I added a couple inches so my ribbon could have more fabric to sew into for stability. It is optional.)
3 – 11 inches x 7 ½ inches pieces of fabric
2 strips of ribbon in length of your choice.

  • Step 1: Take one of the 11 x 11 pieces of fabric and a 11 x7 ½ fabric and sew together. Repeat on the other side.
  • Step 2: Take add the second 11 x 11 piece of fabric creating an open box.
  • Step 3: Now we will add out bottom piece which is the 3rd 11 x 7 ½ fabric. Be sure to add extra stitching to the corners for stability.
  • Step 4: Pin down your hem and add the ribbon. Sewing all the way around. (I chose to add more fabric to the front and back so the ribbon had more to connect to given the thinness of the fabric. You do not have to do this.)

For added strength you can sew an X at the top of each bag. Just gives a little something extra visually to the ribbon as well.

That is it. I suggest using stronger fabric of course. This was just as an example.

Here are a couple of other places that make some cute bags. I will be making some based on their instructions. I really like the simplicity and look of them.

Do you use fabric bags? How do you like them? Why did you decided to use them? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Let me know is the comments. Thanks!

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