50+ Reusable Grocery Bags You Can Make: Free Patterns

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Sure you can buy some trendy brand name shopping bags, but why not make your own for cheap, they can be as chic and cool as you like (and original too)! Here’s a bunch of free patterns and tutorials to get you started, I have them sorted in three sections: Sewing, Knit, Crochet. Some designs are pretty similar but there are subtle differences and features in each.

Sewing

earthgirlfabrics.com.au

earthgirlfabrics.com.au

Quick Carrier: Design features short handles that don’t require turning and french seams, quick to whip up.

For Market: Nice ‘n sturdy, designed to last yet look stylish while using. Made with quilting weight cotton or home decor weight fabric.

bijoulovelydesigns.com

bijoulovelydesigns.com

marthastewart.com

marthastewart.com

Repurposed T-Shirt: A simple, clever craft to help everyone be “green.” It’s a Good Thing that will help protect the environment.

Simple: Available in pdf or word doc format (also an animated web tutorial). Simple style.

morsbags.com

morsbags.com

daisyjanie.typepad.com

daisyjanie.typepad.com

Fabric (For Produce): Requires one fat quarter or one 18” square. Super easy to put together. Either cinch-n-carry or fold ‘n roll for convenience.

Oilcloth: Made with 3 panels of sturdy oilcloth and features a circular bottom.

purlbee.squarespace.com

purlbee.squarespace.com

spiderwomanknits.typepad.com

spiderwomanknits.typepad.com

Pillowcase: This tutorial will show you how to turn one standard case into a very functional piece for shopping using every bit of the case, minimal sewing, minimal cutting and very little of your time.

With Sturdy Straps: Nice and big, use a substantial fabric for this project such as canvas, heavy cotton duck or an outdoor fabric.

sew4home.com

sew4home.com

wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.ca

wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.ca

Cheap & Easy (for Produce): A great alternative to the clear plastic bags available in the fruits & veggies aisles, these are made from repurposed sheer curtains (watch for them at garage sales), drawstring closure. Wash & reuse, lovely!

Pillowcase: Here’s a simple project using an old pillowcase, including the handles.

creativekismet.com

creativekismet.com

about.com

about.com

Durable: This tutorial suggests using canvas or denim but you can use whatever fabric you prefer. Boxed bottom with webbing or fabric strips for straps.

Reversible: Simple and reversible with boxed bottom, the handles are actually cut out (and reinforced) from the top.

unabashed.wordpress.com

unabashed.wordpress.com

instructables.com

instructables.com

Green: Another simple project, this one has the handles cut out with the body rather than sewing on straps separately. Another good one for beginners.

Bird Seed Plastic: Here’s an original idea using big feed bags.

curbly.com

curbly.com

pieandcoffee.org

pieandcoffee.org

Canvas: Very simple design and sturdy!

Wallet-Sized Fold-Up: This folds down into a wallet size that fits perfectly in your purse so you’ll always have one at your fingertips when needed. This is more detailed than most, but how nice it is!

whipup.net

whipup.net

u-handbag.typepad.com

u-handbag.typepad.com

With Comfy Handles: This has its own cozy featuring a strap and metal clip. Very cute!

Simple: Has attached straps, found on the Craftster forum.

craftster.org

craftster.org

instructables.com

instructables.com

SewUseful: Roomy with shoulder straps, folds down nicely to fit into a pocket or purse.

Singlet Style: This uses a regular plastic grocery bag as the template.

craftster.org

craftster.org

instructables.com

instructables.com

Reinforced Straps: This one has straps that run from the bottom up (to reinforce), fully lined. Very sturdy construction, perfect for hauling canned goods.

Scrappy (for produce): Materials need are pieces of mesh, a length of ribbon and fabric scraps.

etownhooks.blogspot.ca

etownhooks.blogspot.ca

pm-betweenthelines.blogspot.ca

pm-betweenthelines.blogspot.ca

Repurposed Tee: These have holes snipped in them so that they stretch really well (and the produce can breathe nicely too).

Insulated: Nice & sturdy lined with insulating batting.

sew4home.com

sew4home.com

danamadeit.com

danamadeit.com

Recycled: Fuse plastic bags together and then use that as the material (neat!).

Fold-Away: This folds away neatly into a small pouch when not in use.

craftyady.blogspot.ca

craftyady.blogspot.ca

craftstylish.com

craftstylish.com

Mesh: Made with 1/2 yard of mesh (yields 3 or 4) and yarn for drawstring.

Cheap & Easy: Made with repurposed flat sheets and webbing for handles.

wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.ca

wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.ca

ikatbag.com

ikatbag.com

Strawberry: Here’s how to make little fat strawberries with cord stops that open out into a spare bag.

Roll-Up: Made with a single layer of quilting weight cotton (unlined) to keep it lightweight and small enough to roll up easily.

needleandspatula.com

needleandspatula.com

examiner.com

examiner.com

Oilcloth: Made with polyester or nylon strapping, 47″ wide oilcloth and double-fold bias tape.

Dilly Doily: Cute! Find a pretty doily, sew on some fabric and add a casing at the top for a drawstring/ribbon closure.

scrumdillydilly.blogspot.ca

scrumdillydilly.blogspot.ca

sawdustandpaperscraps.com

sawdustandpaperscraps.com

Ruffled: Pretty & feminine, repurposes old cotton sheets and pillowcases.

I also have a big list of totes that are suitable for shopping, you’ll find those here.

Knit

knitty.com

knitty.com

BYOB: These have a wide shaped base and the lower striped Seed Stitch section ensures that small items will not drop out.

Strawberry Market (pdf): This uses fingering weight cotton, which I love because it’s soft, yet strong. Linen or hemp could easily be substituted.

orangejuicy.com

orangejuicy.com

knitty.com

knitty.com

Everlasting: Uses a mesh stitch but has a solid base for items to sit on. Nice, big & stretchy!

Turkish: Mesh/string style with a shoulder strap. Worked on a circular needle.

tiajudy.com

tiajudy.com

dancingbarefoot.wordpress.com

dancingbarefoot.wordpress.com

Susitna: This is another string-style, done on a knitting machine. Nice original design, available via a pdf download.

Mesh or Net: Starts with DPNs then switches to circular. Nice length for the shoulder strap.

yarndemon.typepad.com

yarndemon.typepad.com

classiceliteyarns.com

classiceliteyarns.com

Handknit: Great length for shoulder straps, this is one of my favorites! Available in a pdf download.

Fantasy Naturale: Size: Approx. 16” high X 12” diameter. Base uses straight needles, body uses circular.

plymouthyarn.com

plymouthyarn.com

wewilsons.blogspot.ca

wewilsons.blogspot.ca

Stretchy Lace: Body is a lace that expands nicely to hold supplies, the top border and handles are a sturdy design.

Mesh Design: Easy and adaptable, this is worked on circular needles.

iliveonafarm.com

iliveonafarm.com

soyouthinkyourecrafty.com

soyouthinkyourecrafty.com

T-Shirt Yarn: Nice and stretchy, about 5 used t-shirts are cut into strips to make the yarn.

Crocheted

theadventuresofcassie.blogspot.ca

theadventuresofcassie.blogspot.ca

Eco Friendly: This is done in the round from the top down. It might be helpful to use a paperclip or a stitch marker to define the start of the round.

Doily Style: A doily design is used for the bottom then a mesh-style design is used for the body, handles can be made as long as you like.

elisabethandree.posterous.com

elisabethandree.posterous.com

nancyscrochet.com

nancyscrochet.com

Stretchy (pdf) This works up quickly and stretches upwards to hold a large amount of items. Make yourself several and carry in your car for shopping trips and help the environment.

Vintage (pdf): Here’s a pattern previously published on Tipnut and moved here for better organization, it’s the old style string that lasts forever and will hold more than you can imagine.

tipnut.com

tipnut.com

crochetme.com

crochetme.com

Reduction: A mesh style with a solid bottom and straps. Features a pocket on the front (great for holding keys and a wallet).

Hobo Style: This is done in a mesh crochet and has long shoulder straps. Instructions are basic, but you should be able to work your way through this if you’re at an intermediate level.

crochetgypsy.blogspot.ca

crochetgypsy.blogspot.ca

diyods.blogspot.ca

diyods.blogspot.ca

For Produce: This design is reminiscent of the vintage “string” type yet made with worsted weight yarn.

Summer String Style: Finished size measures 14″ deep & 24″ circumference (12″ wide at top, 13 1/2″ wide at base).

classiceliteyarns.com

classiceliteyarns.com

bynumber19.com

bynumber19.com

Apricot String: Made with simple crochet stitches (ch, tr, sc, dc and sl), this stretches nicely to hold a considerable amount of produce.

Hemp Produce Sacs: Drawstring closure, 2 skins of hemp yarn will yield 3 sacs (can use cotton or organic cotton).

theartofzencrochet.blogspot.ca

theartofzencrochet.blogspot.ca

You can save a bunch of money by recycling fabric from old sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths and even old pairs of jeans to make the totes (just sew strips of denim together and away you go).

Furoshiki is another option, this is a neat technique from Japan.

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Published: April 12, 2008
Updated: November 7, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
19 Comments to “50+ Reusable Grocery Bags You Can Make: Free Patterns”
  1. casey says:

    i just wanted to let everyone know how wonderful the pattern for the singlet style bag is (#16). even for a beginner seamstress like me, they are fun and relatively easy to make. they hold tons (ex. 1 gallon milk, 2 64 oz. cans of juice, and numerous soup cans, in one bag!) they are lined, washable, compact (they can be folded into themselves), and cheap to make. i make mine out of old pillowcases and sheets from thrift stores.

  2. Sandy says:

    Where is this free pattern.
    I am ready to sew this beautiful bag.
    Thank you

    Sandy

  3. TipNut says:

    Sandy just click the link for the pattern you’d like to visit, you’ll see the pattern or tutorial on that page.

  4. Susan says:

    I buy tank tops from thrift stores at the end of summer for 29-50 cents each and just turn wrongside out sew a seam or two across the bottom and remove the tag if I’m feeling ambitious. These make great bags. They hold a lot and stretch which can be good depending on what you are carrying. Just get tank tops with big neck holes!

  5. Lynette says:

    Thanks you for such a great list of wonderful links. Have added to our tips, as I know that our ecobiters are so intune with making bags and will love this. If not ok to have your link posted, please let me know.

  6. carol britain says:

    am trying to find crochet patterns for using plastic grocery bags instead of material or yarn. i have seen them on the market but can’t find a pattern for making things using the plastic bags. any help would be very appreciated. thx carol

    • Shannon says:

      all you do is substitute the bags for the yarn – i’ve done this with knitting (not much luck; crochet would be the best option for a project like this) .. just cut the handles off the plastic bags and then proceed to cut the bag in a 1 inch (or whatever thickness you prefer) spiral the whole way down .. repeat with other bags and tie the ‘yarn’ together at all the ends and voila! you have a whole bunch of plastic bag ‘yarn’ for your crochet-ing pleasure =)

  7. Lola says:

    My Mama has made school bags for church world service for many years. When I came home to take care of her after a fall the job of making the bags fell on me.

    I had been cleaning out the basement of the bags of clothes my sister had left 10 or more years back, I washed and folded and sent them on to the church rummage sale. when they arrived the ladies went thru them and said; who would want these old cotton camp shirts that you have to press. Then tossed them to the side. At the end of the sale I gathered them up and returned home with them and a new idea.

    First I cut the front with the buttons off and the collar and sleeves, then sewed the front with the pockets together and cut the rest in a square large enough for a notebook. Then I took the strips with the buttons and sewed them to the top and used them for the handles. What a great little school bag full of color and whimsy~ great for kids everywhere.

    I also took the sleeves and sewed them together and cut off the cuffs and put the cuffs together and laced them through the placket and made a handle and use them to carry socks and swimwear when I travel. The narrow opening keeps everything inside.

    Now those same ladies are asking me for their own totes;~}

  8. Gail says:

    Susan, thanks for that wonderful idea about turning tank tops into shopping bags. Now I know what to do with those old tank tops I’m not wearing anymore, but aren’t in good enough condition to donate.

  9. Kim says:

    I love the idea of making your own grocery bags. This is such a great source, I want to make them all! Are there are any tutorials for fused plastic grocery bags? I think it would be neat to be able to reuse the plastic bags that have accumulated over the years.

  10. G.H. says:

    Had a few pairs of old jeans & my family put in a few pairs too – The bags not only saved plastic and these old jeans from being thrown out, they’re also really cute :) – I tacked the back pockets on to hold small items. I can wash them whenever I need to & they hold up really well!

  11. JMV says:

    If you’re not the crafty or sewing type, there’s an easy alternative to plastic produce bags. Simply go to a dollar store that carries net lingerie bags, you know, the ones you wash your bras and delicates in that come with zippers. They are usually white and can hold your produce purchases again and again (without complaint from a grocery checker).

    Stuff them in with your reusable shopping bags so you have them on hand when you need them. I keep everything in my trunk at all times, as many of my grocery trips are spontaneous or because I often fail to remember to stick them in my car before I head out to the store. Our city’s upcoming plastic bag ban will help jog my memory, to be sure! Kudos to you for your conservation efforts.

  12. renee says:

    After reading about the mesh bags, it dawned on me that I didn’t have any mesh on hand but did have some scraps of lace fabric (polyester) that I made curtains out of 30 years ago. Most elegant produce bags you’ve ever seen!

    • Diana says:

      Nice. I’m so happy to hear of people who care enough to sit down and make their own produce bags. Kudos to you. I’m a Canadian manufacturer of Bulk and Produce bags. We use a similar textile with stretch. Although we were the first around and our bags are tested to decades, it’s still so hard to get people to switch. I congratulate you for making the effort to make a difference. Yes reusables are work… but work is good.

  13. Carmen Russell says:

    These are some lovely bags ,i am going to make some of them thamk you very much.

  14. betty says:

    very interesting bags..

  15. Anna-Marie says:

    Love your site and your vintage patterns. Also loving the handbags – have made a couple of my own and will be making more. I always carry re-useable shopping bags in the car and in my handbag. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the links, I’m getting my machine out and make some bags!

  17. Tim says:

    The simple bags from morsbags.com are easy to make and super useful – I’m making loads for gifts this Christmas and as wrapping too… Thanks for the link!


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