Sewing Shopping Bags

How about your New Year Resolutions? I believe that many of them got lost during the days of January – I definitely know that mine did (more or less). Except of one.

I decided to use less plastic and paper bags this year. To say “no, thank you” to plastic bags in the bookstore, in the drugstore and even when doing the groceries. That’s when I get out my “homemade” fabric bag to store the goodies I’ve bought.

Sewing these bags don’t take a lot of time (half an hour to be precise) and you can use any fabric in your stash. Although I confess that I did choose my fabrics carefully. I’ve got a bag for vegetables (that means groceries in general), I’ve got one for everything (the black and white one) and sometimes my bags just reflect the season. I am still searching for a fabric with books – yes, I do go to the bookstore rather often.

If you also want to avoid all those plastic and paper bags that fill up your home and the dumpsters – here is the pattern:

You need
2 pieces of fabric (might be different fabric) 18 x 20 inches (46 x 51 cm) for the bag and
2 pieces of fabric (should be the same fabric) 18 x 4 inches (46 x 10 cm) for the handles.

Take one piece of fabric for the handle and fold it in half lengthwise, right sides out. Iron and open up again. Bring each side of the fabric to the ironed line in the middle, iron again.

Fold the fabric again in the middle along the line you ironed in the beginning, iron once more.

Stitch the open sides of the handle together. Make the second one.

Take your two pieces of fabric for the bag and lay one on top of the other. If the design on your fabric has an up- and a down-side check that it runs in the same direction on both pieces. Fold over approx. 1 inch (2 cm) at the top of the fabric and iron, doing this with both fabrics at the same time. No need to fold exactly 1 inch (2 cm) as it will automatically be the same width on both fabrics.

Now work with one piece of fabric at a time. Pin one handle to the left side of your fabric 4 inches (10 cm) away from the edges of the fabric. The handle lies exactly on the folded part. Pin from the right side of the fabric.

Fold the upper edge of the fabric (with the handle) once again, same width as the first fold. Pin.

Fold the handle outward and pin it in place. Stitch this hem close to the fold and close to the upper edge. Make the second part of the bag in the same way.

Put the two sides of the bag together, right sides out (yes, that’s correct). Stitch the three sides of the bag together using a seam allowance of only 1/8 inch (4 mm). Backstitch at the beginning and at the end of the seam. Turn the bag left sides out and stitch the three sides again, this time using a “normal” seam allowance of 1/4 inch (7,5 mm). Turn right sides out.

See – it’s really easy. And fast. So why not make a few more bags? For yourself or as a gift. Or even as a gift wrap. Choose fabric you like or find the perfect novelty print if it is a gift.

Have fun and enjoy the feeling that you create something beautiful that helps the environment as well.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.