Reusable Grocery Bags Sewing Tutorial + FREE Pattern
Why are reusable grocery bags so great?
People ask me this question all the time. Why are you so passionate about those reusable grocery bags? Well, in addition to them being far more durable, all those plastic grocery bags just go to waste. They end up in landfills, the ocean, and other places we don’t want them. I don’t know about you, but I love to spend time out in nature. And I don’t want to look at all the trash people have left behind. Please clean up after yourselves people!!!!
Reusable Grocery Bags Tutorial with FREE Patterns
I’ve seen so many different patterns for reusable grocery bags, but not really any I liked, so I made my own version. Did I mention this bag comes in two sizes and they are completely reversible?!?
This tutorial does use some intermediate techniques including topstitching but you have no need to worry, you can do it!
What You Will Need:
- Free Patterns – Download them (Regular or Small)
- 1 yd Outer Fabric (54” width)
- 1 yd Lining Fabric (54” width)
- Matching Thread (or contrast can be fun too!)
- Fabric Scissors
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Sewing Machine
1 | Cut the Fabric
First of all, you will need to decide which size bag you would like to make. Print out your patterns. The ones shown below are my originals made from poster board.
Lay your pattern on the top of your fabric with the fabric folded at the fold line. Then pin it to the fabric and cut around the pattern.
You will need two for the outer fabric and two for the lining fabric so you will have 4 pieces total.
2 | Pin the Pieces Together
Pin the outer fabrics with right sides facing each other, then sew those three lines. Repeat for the lining fabric pieces.
3 | Sew the Bag
For this project, you can use whatever seam allowance you would like as long as you are consistent. I personally use a 1/4 inch seam because I learned to sew from quilting, but you can use what you are most comfortable with.
4 | Press the Seams
Press the seams open. (Note: you can press the seams to the sides, but I find it to be a hassle trying to coordinate which way to press all the seams.)
5 | Sew the Box Corners
Next, pin your box corners, lining up your seams. Sew a straight line across your corner as shown below. Repeat with the lining fabric.
6 | Join the Outer and Inner Linings
Pin the right sides together. Make sure to leave a few inches to turn the bag right side out. You will also leave a gap from the end of the handles so that we can join them later.
(Note we will not be joining the handles yet as we will not be able to turn the bag right side out if we join them at this point.)
Turn the bag right sides out.
7 | Join the Handles
Start by pinning the handles open with right sides facing each other, then sew.
Press the seam open.
8 | Top Stitching
Next, we are going to topstitch the bag and by doing so, we will close up all the exposed edges. Fold the hem to line up with what has been sewn, then press so they are even and pin them in place.
From here, you will topstitch around the entire edge. I topstitched about a 1/8 inch from the edge, but you can choose how you would like to topstitch.
9 | Finished!
And you are done!
This is great, thankyou for sharing! I have a pile of reusable bags that I’ve bought but I would love to try and make my own!
I am a newbie and need help with step 6. Do I see before turning it right side out? I’m confused.
Yes, you will want to sew the bag pieces together before using the space you left open to turn the bag right-side-out. You will then topstitch the opening closed. Thank you for pointing out that section isn’t super clear for beginners! I’ll work on putting together a little video this weekend to make the whole process clearer. If you have any more questions, just let me know!
Thank you so much! Feel free to delete my other comment. I just saw where you replied. A video would be awesome! I’m stuck on the handles 😂
I’ll do a full video tutorial from start to finish. Hopefully, I can have it up really soon!
I don’t see sizes anywhere or maybe I’m missing them. How big please?
There are two sizes. The Regular is 17 tall by 22″ wide at the top and 20″ at the bottom and 5″ deep with the handles being 11″ by 2″. The Small is 11.5″ tall by 20″ wide at the top and 18″ at the bottom and 4″ deep with handles that are 10″ by 2″.
you cannot get pattern because there is a goggle block thing and on the website can you take this off please
Thank you for bringing that to my attention! I have fixed it so that you can download the patterns directly without having to use google
What kind of material do you use to make this bag? Cotton?
Hi Madge, I do usually use cotton for these bags, but I just recommend using a fabric that won’t stretch much. Quilting cotton and canvas both work great.
I just finished making this bag out of scrap fabric, and I absolutely love how it turned out. Thank you so much for sharing your pattern! 🙂
I’m so glad you like the pattern!
Did you ever make a video for this?
Hi Elisa, Did you do the video for this bag? I am lost in the woods on how to connect the handles! Thank you so much for the tutorial.
I am stuck with the straps- I didnt see a video on how to sew them- like where to start on the opening of the bag- do you then sew up the sides of the straps or not- just confused on how to sew them
I really like this pattern, but can you tell me what length you leave the handle seams open so they can be sewn together after the bag is turned right side out.
Is it necessary to wash the fabric before making the bag? Assuming some fabric could shrink?
It is always a good idea to wash your fabric first to prevent shrinking after sewing. I personally don’t always do this. I haven’t had any issues with quilting cotton, but that is just my personal experience.