Hello and welcome to our Organic Cotton Reusable Shopping Bag Tutorial! Today we will learn how to make a reusable shopping bag with pocket(s) and a matching mini bag to store your shopping bag while you are not using it. This is a great holiday gift idea for the environmentally conscious shoppers on your list. When it comes to choosing fabric that will be carrying your food, organic cotton is a great choice. The organic fabric I chose for this project is from the very cute and new line by Birch Fabrics called Koi. It states on Birch’s website, “our fabric is produced from 100% organic cotton, and printed with low impact dyes.”
Okay, lets get sewing! You will need the following:
- 1 yard of Organic Cotton Fabric (Pre-Washed)
- Measuring Tape or Ruler
- Sewing Pins
I’ve included a simple Pattern to use, you can either print and cut it out, or follow the measurements I’ve given.
Our first steps will be to fold our fabric down to make it easy to cut our bag shape. First we lay our 1 yard piece out on our workspace so the measurements are 36in x 22in, folded selvedge to selvedge. Next, we will fold our fabric down lengthwise on our 36in length at the 12in point, so our shape is now 24in x 22in (see images below). And finally we will now fold up our 22in width in half, so our final folded piece of fabric is 24in x 11in.
Now we cut out our pattern shape. Keep your scrap pieces that are left from either sides of your bag straps – these will turn into pockets and the mini bag.
Next, we will trim down our NON-FOLD side, bottom, and top of our strap.
Here are the piece we should have from our fabric. We should have:
- 2 pieces for the body of our bag
- 2 pieces for the handle linings
- 4 “U” shaped pieces for our mini bag and pockets
Now lets get sewing! First we will pick up our handle lining peices and hem the bottoms of them.
Next, we will sew the handle linings to the bag body fabrics, right sides together. When finished sewing these together, flip right-sides out. Once you’ve done this, you can topstitch over what you’ve just sewn. This will just keep the lining in their right spot and keep them from wanting to come out of your bag.
Next, we will sew our pockets on our bag. I decided I only really need one pocket on my bag. First, I hemmed my whole pocket piece and then sewed it onto my bag.
Now, we will sew our bag together. Sew up the sides, bottoms, and handles right sides together. I decided to use French Seams, so that in future washing of the bag, I will not have any fraying.
While it is still inside out, we want to square off the bottom corners of the bag. I gave myself a 4in width.
We are finished our bag!! Congrats!! However, we are not finished our project. Now to sew our mini bag to store our shopping bag in when we are not using it!
Grab your two left over “U” shapes. Trim one of them like so. I trimmed my one piece down about 3inches. Keep this extra piece, it will be your tab.
Pick up your tab piece and fold it like so (below). Now fold that a second time, and sew it down so you have a mini little strap. I then trimmed an inch off the length because I thought it was too long for such a mini-bag.
Next, you need to hem the tops of your two “U” shapes. Once hemmed, we will now make an “envelope” out of the two pieces. If you have ever made in envelope pillow, it is very similar. Grab only your taller “U” shape, and fold it down about 2.25 inches.
Great Job!! Now, you will pick up your tab peice, fold it in half (I gave a little twist and fold on mine), and lay your folded tab down so it will get sewn in to the edge of your mini-bag.
Now, grab your shorter “U” shape and put it face down on your tab and taller “U.” IMPORTANT: Make sure the “U” shapes overlap. Pin this.
Sew this down, and flip it inside out! I reinforced it with zig-zag stitch, so when I wash it, it won’t fray!
Congrats! You have now finished your Organic Cotton Shopping Bag and Mini-Bag! Give this to friends for the Holidays, or keep for your next shopping trip! Just remember to bring it in the store with you ;)