This tutorial will show you how very simple it is to make your own
reusable grocery bags, gift bags, lunch bags etc.
(This is a basic pattern for beginners and yes, it's long... sorry )
Any fabrics can be used, just be sure to consider the bags
usage in choosing the weight of fabric.
I think it is wonderful that stores now sell reusable
bags, but many are not washable, and if using for food products,
food safety is paramount, so make yours washable.
Advanced sewers know that these can be embellished with trims,
pockets etc, but for our purposes at PG, we just want to reduce
plastic bag use and wasteful gift wraps, so simple it is.
For my grocery bag here I used two different
Home Dec fabrics leftover from a purse I had made.
Pre-wash fabrics if necessary.
Size is up to you. I used 17 x 17" squares of fabric but you
can make them any size square or rectangle, the same
method applies for every size.
I used webbing sold by the yard for the handles.
( I had some leftover from another project)
You may make your handles out of fabric
if you wish or some other sturdy material,
I rotary cut two lining pieces 17x17 and two outer fabrics 17x17
I cut two pieces of webbing 20" each.
Place one end of one handle 6" in from edge of top side of lining.
(right side of fabric)
Place other end of handle 6" in from other top side of fabric.
The webbing end is flush with the end of your lining,
and make sure you do not twist handle.
If you are using a print that has direction make sure the handles
are placed at the "top" edge of the fabric, or your
design may be sideways or upside down.
Now, lay your outer fabric right side down or right sides together (RST)
Line up your edges perfectly, and again make sure the "top" of your fabric,
if there is one, is placed correctly. I use a 1/2" seam.
Sew this seam.
I go over several times in area of handle for extra strength.
Repeat with other handle and other lining and outer fabric.
Open the seam and press carefully.
You now have two pieces that (should) look like this.
Keeping the linings together on one side and the outer
fabrics on the other side, flip these two pieces right side together.
Make sure your handles are tucked inside
and that they won't get caught in the seams we are about to sew.
Line up the seams you just sewed on each side. I pin carefully here.
Then pin all they way around the outer edge, leaving an
area open on the lining end for turning.
You can see my opening where I have the double pins.
Prior to sewing it should look like this.
That bump is the handles tucked inside.
Double check before sewing that you have (RST).
This is my opening.
Sew all the away around the outer edges,
leaving that opening for turning.
Trim your fabric on the diagonal in the corners to reduce bulk.
Now, reach in and grab your outer fabric and pull it through the opening.
Pull it all out and push out all your corners in both the lining and outer fabric.
The lining will be all out on one side and the outer fabric will be all out on the other side.
Your lining will have the messy opening on one end.
Iron the edge in neatly and sew across to close.
Now press your lining if needed and push it back into the bag,
making sure to push out all those corners very neatly.
I use a bone folder. Be careful not to poke through fabrics.
This gives you a nice, lined, handled tote without gusset,
but for most items I like a gusset.
So, for that turn the whole bag wrong side out, your
lining is now showing. and tidy up all the corners again.
Putting your fingers inside push one corner as far in as it will go and then
flatten out the corner so it looks like a triangle shape, with the
seam running down the middle.
I marked in 2" with washable marker for a sewing line.
The deeper the inches you mark in the wider the gusset.
So if your bag is much smaller or much larger, adjust the depth.
You can see the sewed opening and the seam running
through the middle of the triangles.
Make sure you have all the corner nicely flattened out in there,
the lining and outer fabric is bulky so take the time to make it
very neat. Sew across this triangle forming the gusset.
Repeat for other side.
Turn bag right side out again and your inside should look like this.
Now, there are fancy ways to have these reversible and no gusset tabs showing,
but I figure if we keep it simple you are more likely to make these in multiples.
The gusset you made.
The lined handled bag you made!
From start to finish this size bag does not take even an hour to make.
When I am making these in multiples. I cut out all my squares
and handles one evening, and then sew together another evening.
These totes are a gift all by themselves and the hardest
part is choosing what fabrics to pare together.
(For ease of the tutorial I chose a solid)
I have used old quilts, bedspreads and burlap.
There are no limits to your imagination, and
this is a great way to recycle leftovers from the craft room.
Even a small 6x6" scrap of fabric can become a gift bag for jewelry, or CD's.
A weekend is all it take to make enough to replace all your holiday gift-wrap.
Advanced sewers know that these can be embellished with trims, pockets etc
but for our purposes at PG, we just want to reduce
plastic bag use and wasteful gift wraps.
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