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DIY Reusable Grocery Bag Tutorial + FREE Pattern

Are you looking for a project that is environmentally friendly, fun, and simple? I got one for you, this DIY grocery bag.

If you don’t like using paper, or some other kind of disposable bags, you probably already own a tote bag for groceries. This one, however, is different because it isn’t made with one of those plain grocery bags patterns.

Instead, it’s made with a folding grocery bag pattern. That means it can be neatly folded up and as such, you can even fit it into your pocket. Then just unpack it and you can easily carry groceries, books, or some nice fabrics you stumbled upon accidentally on your way back home from work!

easy reusable shopping bag modeled


Useful, stylish, and versatile. Foldable shopping bag!

Below you will find my step by step written tutorial how to make a grocery bag with VIDEO instructions for all the visual learners.

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How to make a shopping bag

Supplies and tools

supplies for making the reusable grocery bag

Follow us for free patterns & tutorials! [easy-profiles]

How to Sew a Grocery Bag

Watch the diy reusable grocery bag video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
Please enjoy and don’t forget to Like and SUBSCRIBE over on YouTube to be kept up to date with new videos as they come out.


DIY Reusable grocery bag INSTRUCTIONS:

STEP 1: Prepare the shoulder straps

Cut two strips of fabric 5 x 30 inches (12.5 cm x 76cm). Fold the straps in half lengthwise and press with an iron. Unfold.

Then fold again from the top and bottom to the crease along the middle. Press flat with the iron again. Here’s how making the straps of the grocery bag looks in action:

making the handles of the reusable grocery bag

Sew around the straps using about 1/8″ (3mm) from the edge.

handles ready to be attached to the diy shopping bag

STEP 2: Prepare the main fabric

Before you do anything, wash the fabric thoroughly and iron it. Cut a rectangle that measures 40″ x 19″ (102 cm x 48 cm).

Then fold it so that the short edges meet and iron again. You will need that crease later on.

Fold the shorter edge of the fabric 1 inch (2.5cm) towards the wrong side twice, and press flat with an iron.

hem of the reusable shopping bag

STEP 3: Set the interfacing

Cut a piece of interfacing that measures 5 x 19 inches (12.5 x 48cm). Take it and fold it in half lengthwise so that the long edges meet. Press flat with your hand, or a book.

Unfold and put in the middle of the fabric, on the wrong side. Align the crease on the fabric with the one on the interfacing. Press with an iron to fuse the interfacing to the fabric. Then stitch two lines along on the either long edge of the interfacing.

The interfacing will give some extra strength to your bag so that you can carry more weight without tearing the foldable grocery bag.

fusing the interfacing to the bottom of the reusable grocery bag

STEP 4: Sew the shoulder straps

Measure and mark 7 inches (18cm) in on either side of the top hem (use sewist chalk or a washable pen). Insert the shoulder strap under the top hem fold and position each end at the corresponding mark.

Repeat for the other shoulder strap. Pin or clip to keep the straps in place.

exact placement of the handles of the reusable grocery bag

Sew along the bottom edge of the hem to stitch the straps in place.

Lift the shoulder straps and pin or clip them in place.

Stitch along the top edge of the hem to secure the straps in the upward position.

Turn the bag inside-out and iron it.

STEP 5: (Optional) Reinforce the handles

Sew an X on the folded hem to reinforce the handles.

STEP 6: Make a French seam

Fold the fabric in half crosswise, with WRONG sides together, aligning the short edges. Stitch along each side, using a 1/4 inch (6mm) seam allowance.

Turn the bag inside-out and press it flat.

Now stitch along the sides again. This time, use a 1/2 inch (12mm) seam allowance to enclose the first seam. Make sure to reinforce all your seams by backstitching at the beginning and the end. Ta-da! You’ve just made French seams

making the french seams of the diy grocery bag

STEP 5: Box the corners of the shopping bag

With the wrong side of the bag out, fold the bottom as shown. Measure 2.5 inches (6.5cm) from the corner, at a 45-degree angle. Mark it. Now draw a line going through that marking. If you did everything right, that line you drew will form a 45-degree angle with the side edge of the bag.

If you don’t have a ruler with a 45-degree angle, just use a square piece of paper. Fold it in half to make a triangle and you’ll get the 45-degree angle.

boxing the corners of the diy grocery bag

Stitch across the line.

Repeat for the other corner.

You can then trim off the corners or leave them to give the bag extra stability. When I’m leaving them I’d like to stitch them down to keep them in place.

STEP 8: (Optional) Sew the folded corners to the bottom

Again , completely optional, but this additional step gives the bag a more polished look. Plus they won’t mess with your groceries.

STEP 9: (Optional) Sew a button and a loop for easier storage

All that’s left to do is put on a button and make a loop that will attach to it. First up is the loop.

Find the center on the open end of the bag and mark it. Cut the elastic down to about 4 inches (10cm) long. Make a loop with the elastic and stitch it to the mark you made.

Measure out about 5 inches (13cm) from the bottom of the bag, on the same side where the elastic is, and mark it. Try to keep it in line with the loop.

Hand-stitch the button onto the marking.

The grocery shopping bag is now complete!foldable grocery bag hanging on a tree

I hope you enjoyed reading this diy grocery bag tutorial. Now that you know how to make grocery bags, you can go ahead and make some for your loved ones as well. If you have some suggestions for improvement, tell us in the comment section, your feedback is precious to us. Have fun shopping!

Do you like this tutorial how to make a grocery bag? Pin for later:

DIY reusable grocery bag (pattern and video)

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 33 comments
Joanne - July 16, 2020

Thanks for sharing your wonderful tutorial with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

Shelbee on the Edge - July 17, 2020

This is such a cute grocery bag! I need more reusable grocery bags. Since NY state has implemented a ban on one use plastic bags, we are required to bring our own bags now. Now if I could learn how to sew! Thanks for sharing and linking up with us.


Danielle - July 19, 2020

Such a cute bag! Way better than the ones you can get at the store.

Michelle - July 21, 2020

Such a pretty bag! Of course I’m featuring this too!


    Helen - July 21, 2020

    Thank you, I appreciate it. Thanks for the features

Melynda Brown - July 21, 2020

Hello, this is one of my favorites from Encouraging Hearts and Home, this week! Stop by and say hello, pinned!

    Helen - July 22, 2020

    Thank you. Will do!

Jo (A Rose Tinted World) - July 21, 2020

Great tutorial! Such a handy idea for always having one of these folded up in your bag.

    Helen - July 22, 2020

    Thank you, Jo. I’m always looking for ways to go ‘greener’

mireille - October 5, 2020

What a fun shopping bag! I always use reusable one when shopping at Aldi. Should get my mom to sew one for me.

Naush Samama - October 12, 2020

What a lovely and well designed tutorial. Tempted to try it out.
Thank you for sharing with us at Meraki Link Party.

Barbara Johnson - March 19, 2021

It would be nice to have pictures of the step by step .I’m having trouble following what you are saying to do especially with a French seem .thanks. barbara
And too many pop ups covering the directions

    Helen - March 21, 2021

    You can follow the video – you’ll see every little step.
    When making french seams you stitch the fabrics RIGHT sides together, trim down the seam allowances, turn around and stitch WRONG sides together.
    That’s it. Hope that helps

Carla Finley - September 6, 2021

I just tried to make that. It seems you did the french seam before putting the straps on. Mine didn’t turn out. 🙁

    Helen - September 6, 2021

    Watch the video, you’ll see the process from start to finish

Annie - September 25, 2021

Perfect tutorial- thank you! Every step is explained clearly – you can’t go wrong! I have made lots of these bags and enjoy doing each one.

Yvonne Holmes - January 9, 2022

Hi Helen:
I followed you easy tutorial and made liners out of canvas for my reusable shopping bags, (I didnot put the handles on them instead folded the top down and stitched along the inside of the top to my already favorite reusable bags!) Thank you for easy to follow tutorials. My next project is your lovely book covers.

Laura - March 16, 2022

Your written instructions miss the step where you measure and attach the handles. It’s in the video just not in the text portion. Other than that this is a great and easy project!

    Helen - March 18, 2022

    Hi Laura, thanks for the feedback.
    The step was not missing but was near the end of the article. I went ahead and fixed this – it’s step 4

Anna - May 21, 2022

Hi what kind of thin interfacing did you use please? The stiff or flexible kind? I’m a bit confused by all the options…

    Helen - May 23, 2022

    It’s lightweight interfacing, as I wanted to be able to fold the bag if needed

Denise J Briggs - June 30, 2022

So many ‘free’ patterns–but so hard to find the download!!

    Helen - July 2, 2022

    On my patterns it is always under SUPPLIES and tools and is clearly marked.

Windy - July 10, 2022

Hi, could you please tell me the finished size of the bag? I think I want it a bit smaller than what you have but would like to check and if necessary, adjust my pattern size. Thank you.

    Helen - July 11, 2022

    Hi the bag (without the handles) is approximately 15.5 x 5″ x 17.5″H (40 x 13 x 45 cm)

Patricia - July 20, 2022

Might I suggest using ripstop, or similar fabric, instead of cotton. It would be smaller to fit into a purse.

Nancy - July 20, 2022

Thank you for this clearly written tutorial and the video. I always think just reading the instructions is enough but seeing you do it (in the video) helps so much!

Rose - July 20, 2022

Over the past 10 years or so, I have made about 2,000 bags almost exactly like yours to give away. When people find out about the bags, you start getting donations of fabric to use. So I haven’t bought any fabric for ages but have enough to make hundreds more bags to donate. Thanks for sharing this.

Anne - July 20, 2022

Thanks for adding me to email.

Carol L - July 31, 2022

I’m sorry, am I missing something? this is what is listed under supplies:(there is no pattern listed)

Supplies and tools
(picture here)
fabric (main) – 40 x 19″ cotton fabric or canvas
fabric (handles) (2) 5 x 30″ each – same as the main fabric
lightweight interfacing
matching thread thread
scissors (or rotary cutter and a cutting mat)
ruler or measuring tape
iron and ironing board
sewing clips or pins
sewing machine (a heavy duty machine is recommended, especially if you are going to sew a heavier weight fabrics)
Follow us for free patterns & tutorials!

Please insert link for the pattern. thank you

    Helen - August 1, 2022

    Hi Carol, You don’t really need a pattern for this bag – no need to waste paper on something so simple. It’s just a few rectangles and I’ve given the measurements in the article

Pau Clarke - October 8, 2022

Where is the link to your bag pattern? That is the only downside to your website which I enjoy. The patterns are not easily found. Please advise. Thanks!

    Helen - October 8, 2022

    There is no downloadable pattern for that. All you need is 3 rectangles of fabric


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