There have been so many versions of reusable shopping bags available for the last few years that are awkward or difficult to use repeatedly. This week’s Make This project is a pattern for making reusable shoppers that fold up into handly little bundles that are easy to carry with you which makes you much more likely to use them.
A full pattern set to make Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large reusable shopping bags with construction illustrations can be purchased for $5 USD.
Begin the project by printing out the pattern pieces for the size bag you wish to make. You will need the bag pattern, the matching pocket pattern, and the matching strap pattern. For the size large and x-large bag you have two strap options – a handle or a should strap. Layout the pattern sheets left to right beginning with page 1. Use the match marks (exaggerated on the image below) to line up each sheet accurately.
Cut from fabric and transfer the match marks.
Fold and press the pocket piece in half, wrong sides together. Sew a line of top stitching at the fold edge. Using the match marks as a fold line, bring the short ends up, right sides together and sew each long edge closed. Turn right side out and press.
Prepare the straps by pressing the long edges to the back at 3/8″. Roll the cut edge under and press again so the cut edge is completely enclosed. Sew the fold in place.
Line up the cut (unsewn) edge of the straps and the unsewn edge of the pocket right sides together to one of the bag panel pieces using the match marks for proper spacing. Sew them in place with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Attach the other ends of the straps to the other bag panel using the match marks and sew them in place with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Press the seam you just sewed (3/8″) to the wrong side. Fold again to conceal the cut edge creating a 1″ fold. Press. Sew the fold down with 2 parallel lines of stitching.
Place the bag panels wrong sides together. Sew a 1/4″ seam allowance down each side of the bag. Press the seam open. Turn the bag so the right sides are together and sew the side seams again at a 3/8″ seam allowance.
With the bag still inside-out, fold using the fold match marks on the bottom edge of the bag. Fold one edge toward each side of the bag. Sew the bottom edge of the bag closed at a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Turn the bag right side out. Press the bag flat so that the straps are folded in half and a nice fold is formed all the way to the bottom edge of the bag. Sew the bottom edge again at a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Sew a short seam at the very center of the straps to hold the fold.
Folding the bag
Lay the bag flat with the pocket opening up.
Fold the bag to match the edge of the pocket and fold the bag strap down.
Fold the other side in the same way.
Roll the bag up from the bottom edge dividing the bag into 1/3rds.
Tuck the bag into the pocket and that is it!
Now that you have made your way through the photo tutorial you can purchase the pattern to make them for yourself. The download is a set of easy to print PDF files. Each bag size is marked individually so you only need to print the size you want to make. It includes a fully illustrated instruction sheet with fabric estimates, suggested pattern layout, and printing instructions – all for $5 USD.