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.
For Market: Nice ‘n sturdy, designed to last yet look stylish while using. Made with quilting weight cotton or home decor weight fabric.
Simple: Available in pdf or word doc format (also an animated web tutorial). Simple style.
Oilcloth: Made with 3 panels of sturdy oilcloth and features a circular bottom.
With Sturdy Straps: Nice and big, use a substantial fabric for this project such as canvas, heavy cotton duck or an outdoor fabric.
Pillowcase: Here’s a simple project using an old pillowcase, including the handles.
Reversible: Simple and reversible with boxed bottom, the handles are actually cut out (and reinforced) from the top.
Bird Seed Plastic: Here’s an original idea using big feed bags.
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!
Simple: Has attached straps, found on the Craftster forum.
Singlet Style: This uses a regular plastic grocery bag as the template.
Scrappy (for produce): Materials need are pieces of mesh, a length of ribbon and fabric scraps.
Insulated: Nice & sturdy lined with insulating batting.
Fold-Away: This folds away neatly into a small pouch when not in use.
Cheap & Easy: Made with repurposed flat sheets and webbing for handles.
Roll-Up: Made with a single layer of quilting weight cotton (unlined) to keep it lightweight and small enough to roll up easily.
Dilly Doily: Cute! Find a pretty doily, sew on some fabric and add a casing at the top for a drawstring/ribbon closure.
I also have a big list of totes that are suitable for shopping, you’ll find those here.
Strawberry Market (pdf): This uses fingering weight cotton, which I love because it’s soft, yet strong. Linen or hemp could easily be substituted.
Turkish: Mesh/string style with a shoulder strap. Worked on a circular needle.
Mesh or Net: Starts with DPNs then switches to circular. Nice length for the shoulder strap.
Fantasy Naturale: Size: Approx. 16” high X 12” diameter. Base uses straight needles, body uses circular.
Mesh Design: Easy and adaptable, this is worked on circular needles.
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.
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.
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.
Summer String Style: Finished size measures 14″ deep & 24″ circumference (12″ wide at top, 13 1/2″ wide at base).
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).