Sep 4, 2011

Tutorial: Fat Quarter Reusable Grocery Bag with free pattern

Fat Quarters were on sale at Jo Ann's this week so I grabbed a few and decided to make something for me today.  After bit of thought, I decided on a reusable grocery bag.  I wanted to make a bag that is sturdy and can hold a lot of stuff.  I like to play superwoman and try to bring all my bags in from the car in one trip! Here is what I came up with...



It is not fully lined so it is lightweight.  French seams make it super sturdy, it will even hold 2 gallons of milk! I added a small piece of elastic at the bottom so it can be easily rolled up and tucked away in my diaper bag.  



It is perfect for trips to the store, bringing packages to the post office, carrying books home from the library... I love this bag!



Here is how I did it:



Skill Level: Beginner

Materials:
3 fat quarters (2 for the outside and one for the lining)
6 inches of elastic
sewing machine
serger (optional)
pattern you can download and print here 


**you can also use 1/2 yard of outer fabric and 1/4 yard of lining fabric to make the bag**

Start by downloading and printing my pattern found in the link above.  Cut out the pattern pieces and tape them together by following the directions on the pattern.  You can overlap them a bit.


Stack your fabric for the outside of the bag and fold it in half longways (this way you only have to cut once). Iron along the fold.  Fold your lining fabric into quarters and iron your folds.  Line your pattern up on the fold, trace it and cut it out.


See those two small lines on the bottom of the pattern, copy those onto your fabric, you only need them on one side.


Finish the bottom edge of the lining.  If you have a serger, across the edge.  If you don't fold the edge up 1/4" on the wrong side of the fabric and iron, fold it up another 1/4" iron and then sew along the hem.



Lay one lining piece on top of one bag piece with the right sides together. Pin along the curved parts and sew with 1/4" seam allowance.  **DO NOT sew along the straight part at the top or on the sides, just along the curved parts**  Repeat this with the other 2 pieces   


Cut little slits in the seam allowance along the curves, be careful not to snip your stitches.


Turn one side of the bag right side out and iron the seams.  Place it on top of the other side with the lining side up on both.


Feed the top of the right side out one into the top of the inside out one.  Line up the top of the handles and pin in place.  Sew across the top of both handles, I like to go back and forth a few times so it is pretty strong.  


Now flip the other side right side out, your bags should be attached!  Top stitch across the top of the handles, around the big circle in the middle and the curves on the outsides.   



Line up the sides of your bag, you want the wrong sides together because you are going to make french seams.  Pin the sides and sew them together with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Do not sew the cut outs in the corners yet!


Find those marks you made on the bottom.  Fold your elastic in half and sew it down between the lines.  Trim the loose ends close to the seam


Trim your seam allowance on the bottom and sides to about 1/8". Be careful not to cut off the elastic you just sewed on!


Flip your bag inside out and iron it


Sew along the sides again with 1/4" seam allowance.  When you finish, your raw edges should be encased in the seam.




Almost done! Now we will finish the corners...  Flip the bag right side out again.  Pinch at tho top corner of the corner cut out on both sides and pull the sides apart.  It should go straight across now.  




Line up you side seams and pin in place.  Sew across the corner and trim your seam allowance to 1/8".




Flip your bag inside out, iron the corner seam and then sew over it with 1/4" seam allowance.




Flip your bag right side out and you are done!



To roll up your bag: lay it flat, tuck the sides in and pull the bottom out, fold it in half and then in half again, start rolling from the handles, stretch the elastic around the rolled bag to keep it in place. 


103 comments:

  1. I keep saying I'm going to make a bag! This one is so cute and i love your fabric! In love with the size and the use of the elastic too! Thanks for the pattern!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love how much time and effort you have put into sharing this pattern! Your photography skills are excellent!

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  2. I can't wait to make it! Thanks for the tutorial. :)

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Great little market bag! I made one this summer with friends and now am making 2 more for my granddaughters to carry their books to & from the library! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  5. I am sending this link out to the ladies in my modern quilt guild. We are making reusable grocery bags for a donation effort, and so far this is the best tutorial I have found. Thanks for putting this together! Great bag.

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  6. This bag was fast to make and turned out really well. I love the French seams--they look so professional! I'm planning to make several more to give as a Christmas gift to my mother-in-law, who lives in an area where plastic bags have recently been banned. Thanks so much for the detailed and easy to follow tutorial!

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  7. Thank you for this tutorial. I have just sewn three bags for my children's teachers as Christmas presents.

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  8. You can make it fully lined just by using the outside bag template for the lining fabric. I followed the same instructions too and it worked great!

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  9. Hi crystal...i just finished making this shopping bag and i love it! It was easy and quick and turned out awesome with no exposed seams. I didnt print off the pattern...i just drew it up from your pics. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great pictures and directions! Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Super easy and practical!! This is a pattern I will be using over and over again! I modified it to become a fully lined bag as I was aiming for a sturdier library bag, and added a pocket on the outside for keys. Thank you so much for this amazing tutorial! God bless!

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  12. Thank you , just made my first on .look great

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  13. I made one yesterday, then taught my girls at church how to make them last night. Such a cute bag and quite easy. Thank you!!!

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  14. I cannot wait to try this pattern! Thank you so much for sharing! <3

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  15. I cannot wait to try this pattern! Thank you so much for sharing! <3

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  19. Does anyone know the finished size of this tote?

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  20. Just made mine. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  21. Awesome post!!! I am very interested in your blog. I am planning to start doing this one. Thanks for sharing.
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  22. I am new to downloading patterns and using them. I made some burp cloths with a downloaded pattern (successfully) but the pattern did have a one inch block on it to make sure the printout was to scale. I downloaded your pattern, printed it, taped it together and cut it out. Unfortunately, the bag is very small--there was a lot of fabric around the pattern. I see that yours goes nearly to the edge of what I assume is a fat quarter. How do I adjust this pattern to try again? I sure would appreciate if anyone could help me with that. I do like the pattern and thanks for posting it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that's what I want to know. mine came out very small too. barely big enough for a half gallon

      Delete
    2. check your printer settings, maybe it is not set at 100% or print it again and change the settings to 150% or whatever gives you the size you want

      Delete
  23. Awesome post!!! best for healthy life style also. I am very interested in your blog.
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  24. I made one today and now I want to make several more out of different fabrics. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I made these as Xmas gifts everyone loved them! My brother wants a larger one. Any I ideas on making this pattern bigger.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thinking of used jeans for this with seams exposed, hippy style.cut out the Pocket and sew to the bag.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have been making these recently and I love them. They're a great size and super strong! I'm going to try making a mini version now, we'll see how it goes. Thank you for the fabulous pattern and tutorial!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Did you pre-wash your fat quarters? Do I need to be worried about shrinkage if I don't pre-wash and end up having to wash the bag later?

    ReplyDelete
  29. mine was really small and I followed the instructions and printed the template

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check your print settings. You don’t want “fit to page”. Print full size.

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    2. I did print size "100%" and when I taped it together, the pattern is longer than a fat quarter. Can you add a ruler or 1x1" square to the pattern?

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    3. I also found mine was too small. I printed the pattern out 'landscape' and it was much bigger. I hope this helps.

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  30. small and I followed the instructions and

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  31. I cannot find the link for the template...Please help!!!

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  32. I think my pages didnt print right, so mine came out kinda small. I'll probably use it as a lunch tote to take to work. Or if I ever need just a few things from the store. It came out pretty good though! I've never done French seams before so it was great to learn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had the same problem, when you print be sure your printer is set at "actual size" and print horizontal and you will get the correct size pattern which is twice as big as my first bag!

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  33. Thank you for a great pattern , my friends are asking me to make them some.

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  35. Thank you for the great pattern, I have been making bags for family and friends

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  36. I've made a dozen of these so far and given half away... have another six cut out and ready to sew. Passed long the link for this tutorial to several sewing friends as well. Love these grocery bags... they hold much more than a plastic bag because they're sturdier... cut the number of bags I needed for my first grocery run in half at least. Another benefit is that the handles do not cut into your arm while you're carrying laden bags into the house... yea!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Just made the bag and I love it! Very nice that the raw edges don't show, makes it nice to give as gifts. i plan on making lots of these for Christmas gifts
    out of fruit or vegetable print fabric. Thank you!

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  38. I made a couple for myself and loved them, I have now made a couple for quite a few of my friends. This bag is perfect to pop in your purse especially since they got rid of single use plastic bags in NSW.

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  42. Help!!
    Can anyone break down the part where the handle are being sewn together for the 1st time??
    I placed the sides on top of each other as instructed and fed the ride side one into the inside out one but once they were attached I couldnt get the inside one, right side out.

    I love the pattern!!! I just could figure our the handle part.. so instead I placed both sides right side out and sew the handles together at the top with wrong sides together and it just makes them look cluttered. I would love to learn how they are suppose to be done. Any help would be appreciated.

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  43. Just discovered the grocery bag tutorial. What a fantastic method of construction! No hand stitching at all, seams finish neatly and securely. Win, win! Will make some up in patriotic fabric as a fundraiser for our group that sews for veterans. Thanks so much, Liz in Houston

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  44. I so must have done something wrong. My bag was small. Not big enough to carry one gallon of milk let alone two. I did like the bag though.

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  46. I loved this tutorial and the bag comes out very well made. Your method is superior compared to others I have used in the past, easy to follow, and the size is perfect. I made one for myself that I keep in my purse and have made a few more to give away as Xmas gifts. Thank you for sharing!

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  48. Thanks for this useful pattern. I'm going to make a lot of these bags.
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  49. I'm excited to try this. Do you have any recommendations for types of fabric?

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  51. I made this bag and carry it around with me everywhere I go. I was amazed how strong and sturdy it actually is. Am about to make another one for my mother

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  52. I'm an advanced beginner sewer. I just made this bag with 3 fat quarters I got as a door prize and it's amazing! Thank you for sharing this!! I have a couple comments that might help other beginners. My fat quarters were only 21" instead of 22", so I had to cut a little off the bottom of pattern piece B before taping it to piece C to make it all fit. Also, in the french seam step that says "Sew along the sides again with 1/4" seam allowance. When you finish, your raw edges should be encased in the seam.", it took me a while to figure this out after trying to go to the next step. As far as I can determine, this step should actually start with "Sew along the sides AND BOTTOM ..." Thanks again for the instructions & pattern, I love the bag!

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  54. Thank you for the great pattern and tutorial! I made my first one yesterday and now working on a batch for Christmas gifts!

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  55. Made this finally and love it! Thank you so much!

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  64. I am a newbie and need more photos/help on how to cut out the fabric. how do you keep from creating 4 pieces (instead of two halves). I attempted this once and only had half the pieces (not realizing i had to fold both sides in half). (I apologize if you have addressed this - i read most of posts and could not find answer) . Thanks

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    1. PS I am not using fat quarters - making from a yard of fabric.

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