Plastic bags have a place in my house.
I have a bag holder FULL. OF. THEM.
They make great garbage bags, throw away lunch bags, etc. But I hate using them in the grocery store. They can hold enough and always feel like they shall break.
Enters stage left: reusable bags!
A few years ago I bought three for $2 a piece. Since then, they have been put through the wringer and only one survives to tell the tale… I have tried buying others, but have never found any that compare to those first three.
Enters stage right: my sewing machine!
When I got my sewing machine, 2 years ago, I bought some trial and error fabric at the MCC thrift store (still my favorite place to buy fabric). Some of it felt like my shopping bags! (A woven, polyester of sorts)
Enter center stage: an idea to make my own shopping bags!
Those bags are still going strong after two years. Now I was asked to make a few more as a gift! Of course, I couldn’t find my self drafted pattern anywhere so it was back to the drawing board.
Just remember, this is a no fuss pattern.
Its a bag.
Your groceries go into it.
Your parcels aren’t going to complain if you alter the size, shape, or choose not to finish your seams!
(I won’t tell anyone either!)
Here is the new pattern I came up with: (sorry no PDF – yet)
Grab a piece of parchment paper, news paper, or something else of the like. Draw a rectangle 10(width)x15(height)”. Add another rectangle to the top, 10×2″. From the top of the first rectangle, make a mark 2″ in and 10″ height. Draw a curve up. (Mark this side of the pattern to be cut on a fold). At the top of the curve, draw a straight line 2.5″ across. Then create another curve down to the top of the second rectangle that was drawn (it is nice to “flatten” the curve out for the last 3″ so it is touching the second rectangle top).
- Approx 1 yard fabric (Polyester is what I use, but any woven should be suitable)
- Typical sewing supplies (machine, thread, scissors, etc)
- Use a 1/4″ seam allowance (or so)
One color – Cut out two pieces of the pattern on the fold
Two colors (color blocked) – Cut the pattern in half an inch or two below the handle. Cut out two rectangles on the fold (for the bottom), cut out two of the top in a contrasting color/pattern on the fold.
If color blocking…. Take one top and one bottom piece. Match up with the right sides of the fabric together. Stitch together. Repeat with other two pieces. Finish seams with a zigzag stitch or serger. Fold seam up and top stitch in place (optional).
Match both pieces of the bag, right sides together. Start on one side of the rectangle (under the curve) and stitch along the side, bottom, and up the other side. Finished seams with a zigzag stitch or serger.
Match up tops of handles. Stitch across the top of each handle. Finish seams with zigzag stitch or serger.
Now, (if you aren’t lazy like me) you can use bias tape to finish off the handles/tops of the bags. Or, (if you ARE lazy like me) you can create a rolled hem around the edge as you go and stitch into place.
(Optional) Mark 3″ in on each side of the bottom of the bag. Folder each corner inwards the 3″. Stitch into place. (This makes the sides on the bag fold inward)
Lastly, the BEST thing about these bags is that they fold up teeny tiny to fit into your purse. So to make the bag holder…. (I have not perfected this part so if someone can think of a better way to sew it please let me know!)
Cut a piece of fabric 13″x6″. Finish the seams (zigzag stitch, serge, rolled hem, sheer, or just leave them be!).
Mark the center of the length on both side. Fold the top down 0.5″ past the center mark and pin in place (wrong side of fabric facing out). Fold the bottom up 0.5″ past the center mark and pin in place. (The fabrics will over lap). Stitch down both sides to create a pocket.
With pocket still folded with fabric wrong side out, stitch pocket to the inside of the bags top seam.
Then fold it all up and you are done!