About the maker: Karla is a Montessori teacher who lives in Sausalito, California with her husband. In her free time she enjoys shopping at thrift stores and transforming her finds into new creations. You can find photos of her work at flickr.
I love the idea of a re-usable fabric shopping bag, but you need to remember to bring them with you whenever you go shopping. Inspired by a fold-up bag I received as a gift, I wanted to create one that would be simpler to make (the one I received requires a zipper sewn into a curved shape) and just as convenient to use. You can stash this wallet sized bag in your purse and have it ready whenever you go to the store.
Notes: Please read the comments for some helpful notes to this pattern.
- Main bag fabric – 33″ x 19″
- 2 strips for the handles – 20″ x 4″
- Contrasting fabric for the pocket – 10 1/2″ x 7″
- Fusible interfacing for the pocket – 10 1/2″ x 7″
- Double fold bias tape
- Small piece of sew-on velcro – about 1″ x 1″
The fabric for the main bag should be fairly lightweight so it will fold up easily, but sturdy enough to carry some heavy groceries. The pocket can be made from a heavier weight fabric, in which case you can skip the fusible interfacing.
I used fabric from an old curtain I found at Goodwill. Check your local thrift stores for fabric, curtains, sheets, or pillowcases.
First cut the fabric to the sizes as listed above.
Make the pocket:
- Press fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket.
- Fold the pocket in half lengthwise, right sides together.
- Measure 3″ from the top along the outside edge and mark.
- Draw a curve between this mark and the top center fold.
- Cut along the line through both layers of fabric.
- Pin and stitch the bias tape to the outside edge of the pocket.
- Sew one side of the Velcro to the right side center of the short, straight edge, just under the bias tape. Then sew the other piece of Velcro to the wrong side center of the curved edge, 1/2″ from the bias tape.
To attach the pocket to the bag:
- With the curved edge toward the bottom, place the wrong side of the pocket onto the right side of the main bag. Place it so the right edge of the pocket is 5″ from the right edge of the main fabric and so the top edge of the pocket is 3 1/2″ from the top of the main fabric. Pin in place.
- Measure 3″ up from the bottom of the curved edge of the pocket. Mark this measurement with pins along the width of the pocket.
- Stitch the pocket onto the main fabric along the two side edges and 3″ up from the bottom curved edge of the pocket (marked by pins), leaving the curved part unattached from the bag.
To make the main bag:
- Fold the top edge of the bag over 1/4″ toward the wrong side and press.
- Fold another 1/4″ and press. Pin in place.
- Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge of the fold.
- Fold the bag in half with right sides together so the short edges meet. Pin along the side and bottom edges.
- Stitch with 1/2″ seam along the side and bottom edges. Trim the corners.
- Finish the seam allowances: Press the seams open. Press each seam allowance in half so the raw edge meets in the center along the sewn seam.
- Pin the two folded side seam allowances together and stitch near the folded edges.
- Repeat for the bottom seam allowances.
- Fold the bottom corner of the bag so that the bottom and side seams line up.
- Use your ruler to find where the corner measures 3 1/2″ across.
- Pin along the line and stitch in place.
- Repeat for the other corner. This time you don’t have a side seam to match up. Instead, press a crease along the bottom side of the bag and use the crease as a guide.
- Trim the excess fabric to 5/8″ from the stitching line and finish the seam allowances in the same way as the side and bottoms seam allowances.
To make the handles:
- Fold and press the 4″ x 20″ fabric in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.
- Open and press one long raw edge toward the center to meet the crease you just created.
- Repeat for the other raw edge.
- Press each of the short raw edges in 1/2″.
- Fold along the first center crease, pin in place, and topstitch all around the strap.
- Repeat for the other strap.
Then attach the handles:
- Overlap the first handle and the top of the bag by 1″ directly over the side edges of the pocket. Pin in place.
- Sew in a square pattern around the edges of the handle. Sew an “X” through the center of the square.
- Repeat for the second handle, using the front handle
Fold it up:
And there you go. Now you can put your re-usable shopping bag in your purse and have it ready whenever you need it!