The ultimate DIY shopping bag - made easy! |Keeping it Real

Monday, September 7, 2015

The ultimate DIY shopping bag - made easy!

I have a problem with most reusable shopping bags. Or rather, several problems. They are either ugly or contain company logos (or a combination of both) and never last too long. Or they are too big. Or they unfold themselves when they shouldn't and then are a pain to fold back.

So, for a while now, I've been brainstorming a way to make a cute, cheap reusable bag that I can fold and keep in my purse. 

Well, finally, the ultimate DIY is out in the open. Complete with instructions and one zillion pictures to show you how it's made.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

This shopping bag comes together pretty quickly, it's easy to sew, reversible (if you don't mind one little pocket on the outside) and folds itself into a little cute pouch that perfectly fits your purse!

Want one? Here's the tutorial.



To make this reusable shopping bag you will need:
  •  two large rectangles of exterior fabric (mine were 50 x 45 cm)
 the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
  • two rectangles of the same size for the lining (you can use the same fabric or a contrasting one like I did)
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
  • two strips of fabric (about 6 x 30 cm) for the handles (I used the same as the exterior fabric, but it's your choice)
  • two smaller rectangles (about 15 x 45 cm) of one of the fabrics for the pouch (I had to use my lining fabric because I didn't have enough of the other one) and two pieces of ribbon (each about 20 cm long). 
 the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial


Step 1 - sew the bag
Pin the two pieces of exterior fabric right sides together and sew around both sides and the bottom.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Fold the bottom corners to form a triangle and measure about 6 centimeters...

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

...sew a line over the measurement you made...

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

...and cut off excess fabric:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Do the same with the other corner. This will give the bag a flat bottom when you fold it inside out.

Repeat these steps for the lining fabric.

Turn the exterior piece of the bag inside out and place the lining inside, wrong sides together. Line up the side seams. It should look like the picture below:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Step 2: create the handles
The usual way to to this is fold the handle pieces in half, sew them right sides together and then turn them inside out. I hate having to turn thing strips of fabric inside out, so I usually make the handles using the bias tape method.

Fold both edges over and iron them as shown...

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

and then fold in half and press them flat:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Top stitch and you're done. Use which method you prefer and do the same with both handle pieces.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

 Step 3: Make the pouch
 Place both rectangles of fabric right sides together, with one of the ribbon pieces tucked in between, centered over one of the smaller sides:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial


the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Sew around the two longer sides and the smaller side which has the ribbon in place. Leave the fourth side open.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Fold inside out through the opening, fold the edges towards the inside, pin and top stitch, effectively closing the opening.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

 Fold the piece as shown and pin the sides in place.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Then fold over the top, pin, and then sew the other piece of ribbon in place.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
 the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

You'll have to unpin the sides to sew the ribbon, and then pin them back again to stop stitch all around, creating a lined pouch that looks like this when closed:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Step 4: assemble the bag
Go back to the the pieces you left ready at the end of step one and fold over the edges, pinning all around and tucking the handles in between, carefully centered:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Top stitch all around:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Now place the unfolded pouch as shown over one of the sides of the bag.

 the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

This is the only tricky part of the whole process, that you need to get right, otherwise your bag won't fold over inside the pouch. The top of the pouch should be pointing towards the bottom of the bag and the opening of the pouch should be facing down, lined up with the stitches you've just made around the bag (lining up like this is essential to make sure you don't accidentally sew the opening shut). The bottom of the pouch will be hanging outside the bag for now.
 
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Top stitch around the bag again, about half a centimeter below your previous seam... 

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

 ...securing the pouch in place:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

This second seam will make sure the handles are sturdy enough, effectively attach the pouch to the bag and a double seam always looks more professional on a bag anyway.

When you fold over the pouch piece, it should look like this, a small pocket attached to the inside of the bag: 
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial


Step 5: go shopping!
Your bag is ready!

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Fold it over as shown and put it in the pouch. The bag needs to be turned inside out to fit into the opening of the pouch.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

Place it in your purse and when you need it, you just open the pouch, fold it out again and use it!

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

You can use it like this, and it has a nice pocket inside to hold whatever you want...


the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial
the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

...or you can use it like this if you don't mind having the pocket on the outside because other than that, the bag is totally reversible:

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

It is easy, cheap and environment friendly. It can be made to match your purses and in all your favorite colors. You can wash it when it's dirty and when it's past its prime, you can always make a new one. It will not unfold itself and make a mess in your purse.

the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

And the best...it fits the palm of your hand!


the ultimate DIY shopping bag, tutorial

This also makes a wonderful handmade gift and I'm already thinking about sewing a batch of them for Christmas.

And seriously, it took me longer to write this post than to actually make the whole bag from scratch! Whew!

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and have a wonderful week!



38 comments:

  1. Wow very cool bag and very good tutorial! Thanks.

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  2. Replies
    1. I love it too. I used all of it for the bag but I'm wondering if the store where I bought it still has more of it. It's really cute.

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  3. Wow this is really nice and you did a great job making it.
    Thanks for sharing it at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.

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  4. Oh, how I love sites with clear directions and photos or illustrations that match those directions!

    This is a lovely bag, and looks like it will make a great gift. I'm giving it a try!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by Carolyn! I hope the tutorial is clear enough, but let me know if you have any problems. Good luck!

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  5. OH my gosh...this looks SO CUTE! I love it!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J! Please don’t forget to enter the $25 Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway that ends tomorrow night!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jess, have a wonderful weekend!

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  6. Your explanation is so clear, Teresa.
    Most of my sewing projects back when I was active were bags. I love them and this idea is lovely.
    Thanks tons for it on #TipTuesday!

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  7. Great little bag and a very well explained tutorial - thanks for sharing it with us Teresa! The reversibility makes it extra fun.

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  8. I'm going to try this one--would make a great gift.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions!

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  9. You've made a sweet, gorgeous bag - Love the fabrics you've used.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Elaine. I particularly loved the owl fabric, but I had just a small piece and used it all for the bag...

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  10. Super cute! Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for stopping by and partying with us! I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm, so we can pin and tweet your masterpieces! Lou Lou Girls

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  11. This is a really cute and versatile tote! And your tutorial is easy to follow along. Thank you for sharing it on #HomeMattersParty.

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  12. This amazing post is being featured on my blog today as part of Tuesdays with a Twist blog hop:
    http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/2015/09/time-to-link-up-tuesdays-with-twist-128.html
    Thanks
    Angie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Angelique! I left a comment on your blog as well!

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  13. I love how cute this is! I wish I was more of a sewer than I am now! I can hem pants that about as far as it goes! Thank you for linking up with us at the Tips and Tricks Link Party! I hope to see you back this week!

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  14. Super cute!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday...hope to see you again this week!! Pinned!

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  15. The fabrics you used are so cute and I love that it folds up! thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jann! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  16. Great idea to add the storage pouch, Teresa!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Pam, I've been finding it very useful to keep the bag duly folded in my always messy purse...

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  17. Really awesome! I now have next year's Christmas gifts for my 5 daughters covered! This year they get canned pear preserves and bath towels with their names embroidered on them. I love to plan ahead!!! Very useful gift!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Patricia, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm making these bags for Christmas gifts as well!

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  18. Fantastic idea & tutorial ��

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