Making a Reusable Shopping Bag

Reusable shopping bags are a common item as a part of today's waste reduction efforts. This is a guide about making a reusable shopping bag.

January 10, 2012 Flag
13 found this helpful

I don't know about you but I hate having to unload 20 bags of groceries that only hold a few items each. seems like it takes forever to haul them all in. I love using my own handmade fabric grocery bags. I keep material that is from clothing or scraps from fabric and make my own shopping bags. This way I am using my resources instead of the plastic bags that end up in the dump. You can make original bags that are gorgeous or just plain bags.

I also love the versatility of them. It makes me very happy to put my recycled material bags on the conveyor belt at the grocery store before I unload the groceries. I always ask them to pack the bags full. Also I find it so much easier to handle the groceries once I get home and have to unload.


So don't pitch that material. Make up some one of a kind grocery bags for your next shopping trip. It will make your experience so much easier.

I also use handles from discarded items or ties from clothing to make the handles. It is a breeze just to sew it onto the inside of the bag once it is finished.

By gem from Gordonsville, VA

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January 12, 20120 found this helpful

I do that too! I line mine, and double stitch them. They hold a lot more weight than paper or plastic! I keep some of them in each vehicle. They sure come in handy!

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Anonymous Flag
January 12, 20120 found this helpful

I wish I had a sewing machine to make my own. I do use the recyclable bags though and, yes, it does feel wonderful to place them on the conveyer belt ;-) I also love that, depending on the weight when full, I can carry two bags over each shoulder and usually only have to make one trip from car to door!

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January 20, 20120 found this helpful

Up here in Canada, a lot of stores (grocery stores, Walmart and Zellers included) charge 5 cents for plastic bags now. I think that is great! Too many stores use plastic and it just keeps adding plastic to our landfill sites.

Those stores that charge .5 for plastic bags also sell reusable bags for $1.00 and they can hold a ton of stuff and last for years. I've got 2 bags that I still use that I've had since 1999. They are washable too, so if they get soiled inside, I just put them into my bathtub, squirt some soap or cleaner in, then wash and hang them to dry. So much better for the environment.

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January 6, 20130 found this helpful

Can you send instructions or a picture on how to make these bags? It would be a big help. Thanks.

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January 7, 20130 found this helpful

Please, I hope all of you WASH them after EACH use. These fabric bags carry tons of germs from raw food, etc. They may look nice going down the conveyor and make you fell oh-so-special and better than the next guy but remember that they need to be WASHED after EACH use!

I would rather use recycled paper, which, when done, I line bird cages with. Plus, paper doesn't cause problems in the landfill, AND the trees are grown for this purpose and are replenished - all good for the environment.

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August 27, 2015 Flag
2 found this helpful

Enjoy this easy project and be ready for lots of compliments!


  • reusable shopping bag
  • two different materials
  • belt for shoulder strap
  • jean pocket (optional for inside of bag)


  1. Remove handles from bag and sew jeans pocket to inside of bag (optional)
  2. Lay bag on doubled fabric. Make sure to allow for side seams and add four inches to the top. This will be one long piece, not two!
  3. Sew one side seam right side of the fabric to the inside.
  4. Cut three strips of fabric (two of the print, one of the plain) 5 inches wide. You will hem BOTH sides until the strip is four inches wide. Length will be determined by how you pleat.
  5. Measure half the bottom of the bag and add four inches. This is where the fist row of pleats is placed. Sew the three rows on.
  6. Sew other side of the bag.
  7. Square the bottom of the bag. You will have two triangles to material to cut off.
  8. Sew fabric to the top of the bag.
  9. Attach belt as the shoulder strap. I like to use an old woven belt.
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September 5, 20150 found this helpful

These are cute, good job!

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August 2, 2010 Flag

Here is a homemade reusable grocery bag with matching coupon holder.

Approximate Time: 2 Hours



  1. Cut out body of grocery bag: 23x15 inches.
    lining: 23x15 inches
    strap: 15x4 inches
    pocket (if desired) 5x5 inches square
  2. Lay out material and cut out body of bag. With contrasting material cut out lining and straps.
  3. Fold bag, right sides together, sew sides, at bottom of bag, sew corners, 1 inch, cut off access.
  4. Sew lining the same as the body of the bag.
  5. Fold the cut straps of contrasting material, in half, sew along one short end, and along side, turn right side out, press, sew other strap the same.
  6. Leaving body of bag wrong side out, insert into lining, making sure the seams are together.
  7. Insert straps, 5 inches from side of bag. Sew along top of bag, leaving 5 inch opening for turning.
  8. Turn bag, hand sew or machine sew the opening.
  9. The bag is now done.
  10. For the coupon holder

    1. Using 1/2 yard of material, cut 23x20 inch piece of fabric, if desired, use contrasting material.
    2. Sew the front and back together, fold 1/4 way up the front of the piece.
    3. Sew each end, turn, sew up the middle of the pocket.
    4. You have 2 pockets for holding your coupons.

    By Barbara from Spring Hill, FL

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    August 28, 20100 found this helpful

    Now these are smart! Great idea.

    I just love when folks use common-sense to come up with a great idea for most everyone to use.

    Everyone needs to use reusable grocery bags and the coupons are smart anyway. Having them in front of you while you shop ensures us, we will pay more attention.


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April 21, 2009 Flag
1 found this helpful

This is a really simple project that requires no real pattern and once you feel comfortable, you can just cut freehand and "eyeball-it"

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