Do they still allow stores to use plastic shopping bags where you live? That’s currently a yes for me, but that’s about to change. I thought I’d get ahead of it a bit by making myself some reusable shopping bags.
I’ve never used coated fabric before, but the feel of this red check I received from Fabrications, Inc. is so much nicer than I expected. It isn’t stiff, but has some body to it, so it was perfect for this style of bag. It’s made by coating cotton with acrylic and an eco-friendly “wipe clean” finish, and is entirely food safe. It was easy to sew, and even though I could have pressed it from the back side, I didn’t even turn my iron on for this project.
I originally intended to make only the shopping bags, but after they were finished I realized I had the perfect amount of fabric left for a zippered bag I could carry them in. Half the battle for me if remembering to bring the bags with me, and that extra pouch is so cute, how could I forget?
To make these you’ll need:
1 yard coated fabric (36 x 60”)
1 10” zipper
For two shopping bags, cut:
four - 18 x 17” - bag A
two - 8 1/2 x 10 1/2” - outer pocket B
four - 3 1/2 x 30” - handles C
For one zippered storage pouch, cut:
one - 19 x 12” - pouch D
one - 2 1/2 x 14” - handles E
two - 1 x 2 1/2” - zipper ends F
Since I squeezed almost every inch out of this yard of fabric, here’s my cutting layout so you know how it all fits.
Set aside the zipper and pieces (D-F) for the pouch.
For the assembly instructions, I’m going to show you how to make one of the bags. The second goes together exactly the same way. 😉 Unless otherwise noted, all seams are 1/4”.
Lay out the two A bag pieces with the edges even and the 18” side facing you. Measure 5” from the right corner on both the bottom and side edges.
Cut diagonally through both layers between those two points. Repeat on the left corner. Set those pieces aside.
If you’d prefer straight corners, simply don’t clip them off and proceed with the remaining instructions.
Fold the B outer pocket piece width wise, with right sides together. Clip together, don’t pin. In fact, you’ll want to use clips throughout this project, as pins will leave behind holes. Stitch both short sides.
Turn right side out. Use a seam roller, fingernail, or other non-heated method to flatten the seams. Topstitch 1” from the folded edge.
Lay out one bag piece A. Center the pocket at the bottom edge with the edges even and the pocket fold toward the top. If you find you need more than clips across the bottom to hold it in place for stitching, use a small piece of blue painter’s tape at the top.
Stitch close to the right and left side of the pocket.
Lay the remaining bag A right side down over the piece with the pocket. Stitch 1/4” from both sides and across the bottom, including the angled corners.
Zigzag stitch over the edge of the seam allowance. This fabric doesn’t unravel, but the extra stitching adds some strength to the seams to support the weight this bag will hold.
Fold the upper edge of the bag to the inside by 2 1/2”. Flatten the fold.
Stitch 1/4” from the raw edge on the inside.
Turn the bag right side out.
Fold the short ends of the bag handle under 1/4”. Fold the entire handle lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch 1/4” from the long edge.
Turn the handle right side out. Topstitch close to both long edges.
Repeat to make the second handle.
Find the center of the upper edge of the bag. Clip one end of the handle 4” from the center with the short end even with the topstitching on the bag.
Clip the other end 4” from the center on the other side. Make sure the handle has no twists in it.
Stitch down the sides of the strap where it lays on the bag, near the top edge of the bag, and near the end of the strap. Stitch an X in the middle of the rectangle. Repeat on the other side of the bag with the second handle.
Grab the supplies for the storing pouch. Fold the short ends of the zipper ends F under 1/4”. Wrap over the bottom of the zipper with the folds near the stop.
Stitch across through the zipper.
Repeat on the pull end.
Clip the zipper to one short side of the pouch D, with right sides together. The zipper end may extend past the edge - that doesn’t matter. Stitch 1/4” from the edge.
Turn the zipper right side up. Flatten the seam. Topstitch near the seam.
Repeat with the remaining zipper side on the opposite side of the pouch. Be careful not to catch the fabric underneath when topstitching the second side of the zipper.
Fold the handle lengthwise, with right sides together. Stitch down the long edge. Turn right side out. Topstitch down both long sides.
Turn the pouch with wrong sides out. Unzip the zipper at least 2/3 of the way. Make sure the zipper is at the top and match up the sides of the pouch. Fold the zipper ends to match up the edges.
Fold the handle in half and slide it inside the pouch. Match the ends of the handle to the edges of the pouch, about 1” from the top.
Stitch both sides of the pouch. Stitch again over the handle in the seam allowance to give it extra strength.
Turn the pouch right side out.
Fold both bags into thirds one direction, then thirds in the other, and they should fit nicely side-up-side inside the pouch.
My original plan was to have the bag fold into the outer pocket for storage, and it is possible, but too finicky for me to do all the time.
However, that little pocket would be a great place to stick coupons, receipts, or small items.
It’s been a while since I’ve made a coffee cozy, and this fabric is perfect for it. Spill a little coffee? Just wipe it off!
Thanks to Fabrications, Inc., I’m all set for my next shopping trip!