Instructables

Make your own grocery bag

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Picture of Make your own grocery bag
I've seen a lot of tutorials for grocery totes and bags and the like but I never found one that I thought was easy enough for someone like me to follow. There is an excellent one on Craftster that makes a t-shirt bag almost exactly like this one but it uses a very different technique for constructing the bag. This one may not end up as refined but I think it might be easier for some sewers to follow.
 
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Step 1: Cut out your fabric

You can use an existing bag for the pattern. Just cut off the seams at the top of the handles and the bottom seam. Then cut up each side so you have a pattern to use that looks not unlike a wife-beater.

You need to cut four pieces of fabric total, two of the lining fabric and two of the outside fabric. I pulled some quilt fabric out of my stash to make this bag and I used two very different fabrics so the inside and outside would be easily distinguished.

The Debbie Mumm chicken fabric is for the outside of the bag. The black chicken wire print is the lining fabric

Step 3: Press!

Open up the fabric and press the seams to one side. A note about pressing: Do it. And take your time about it. You'll brand yourself an amateurish noob if you neglect this. Precise pressing is the difference between something looking hand-crafted and something looking like it was homemade by a ten year old girl scout.
Awesome instructable! Easy to follow and made a great bag. Am making several to sell at church fundraiser and needed someway to put my never use stash to some good. :-) Thank you!
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katjoy made it!2 months ago

yay! here's mine.

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golfster41 year ago
I can't find in the instructions how much fabric to buy for the grocery bag. I am probably looking right at it but these old eyes are missing it! Thanks!
katjoy golfster42 months ago

she says to take a grocery bag you already have, and cut open the seams. Then, to figure out how much fabric you need, measure the open bag laying flat, and double it for both sides, then double that for the inside and outside fabrics.

you use a tshirt
katjoy2 months ago

I have to say, this is the BEST tutorial I've seen so far (haven't looked that long, though) on the exact type of bag I want to make. I already had the idea, just got stuck. You helped me get unstuck - thank you! I even "pinned" it. :-)

you have no idea how many grocery bags i made thanks to your instructables,thanks,God bless!
You truly have a gift of writing using voice! (I have taught 4th grade and one thing i teach is using your voice in your writing-making it authentic and as if you were speaking it...which you do superbly!) I love the little "extra bit of fun and sarcasm" in each step! Truly the best instructions I have read. Thank you for your great detail and making me laugh while learning...I'll never look at chickens the same again!
Kaber2 years ago
Great instructable. Thanks! I add "button holes" on the handles, so they can be hung in the holder for the plastic bags at the end of the bagging area. I also do a shor top stitch on the bottom side fold. Just 3 inches up each side.
lzalma2 years ago
At first I thought I f***ed it up, but then figured it out (hey, it's late and I shouldn't be up sewing anyhow). I did have a little Perez Pucker, but mostly out of being lazy. But it still came out nice if I do say so myself! Easy instructions and sturdy bag! Love the tutorial!
TiGRe8123 years ago
FSM - Ramen!
RaNDoMLeiGH3 years ago
I french seam mine and only line the handle/top area. If you skip the gussets, they can hold two gallons of milk without breaking a sweat. I sew across the bottom corners instead (box-style).

Those temporary $2 non-woven fabric cheapo POS they sell to Hummer-driving greensters don't even start to compare to the awesome washability of your very own skull-print grocery bags. I use mine, not just feel great about owning it. But then, if you're buying the nonwoven kind, you're probably not the sort who remembers to put them back in the car after unloading them.

I made a little pouch with a ribbon closure from matching fabric (actually, the cut off from between the handles). When in use, I just throw the pouch into the bag. You can also use a hair elastic to keep it folded up between uses.

Very nice instructable. You remind me of my 9th grade home ick teacher with your constant reminders to press, press, press. LOL that's the only time I ever iron anything other than table napkins.

jmccolley4 years ago
FSM??  Are you a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?  I like you even more now!  You are hilarious.  I'm going to make one of these bags right after I make my kids some super fashionable lounge pants.   Thanks for taking the time to make these instructions.  I can't follow patterns or sewing books to save my life, you really explain things very well for a newbie sewer like myself.  


compwalla (author)  jmccolley4 years ago
Why, yes. I am a devout Pastafarian. So nice to meet up with another lucky soul whose been touched by His Noodly Appendage. RAmen, my friend and Happy Sewing. If you have any questions about this or the other tute, don't hesitate to give me a shout.

May the Sauce be with You,
Compwalla

Kaber5 years ago
Thanks for the instructions. have you tried top stitching those side folds? I like to do that when I make the more 'box shaped' grocery bags. I wonder if it'd work on this one. I just made one following your instructions (but adding 2 inches each direction & sans chickens). I plan on another. I'll have to try top stitching the side folds....
I just made one and it turned out fantastic. Thanks so much for a fun and funny and earth friendly project.
bhan5 years ago
Enjoyed the detail and the humor.
happytoo5 years ago
Thank you so much for the "detailed tips about ironing " your sense of humor made it easier to follow
compwalla (author)  happytoo5 years ago
Glad you enjoyed the tutorial. :)
This is amazing! I actually saw this post on Craftster ages ago, but i never got around to finishing my bag.. It was looking pretty awesome, but I was quite busy at the time.. perhaps now I might be able to finish it! Really, it's an amazing tutorial and I will happily make many of these in the future! Thank you again!
What a beautiful Instructable! And perhaps easy enough, thanks to the clear instructions and precise images, for even a 10 year old girl scout to understand! This one is definitely marked as one of my favs and got a 5.0 rating!
cyndyluro5 years ago
Had seen your tutorial late last year and vowed to make it and did not. However, now on Spring break and just thinking that all of the old clothing I have to sort through would make wonderful totes for storing the things I want to keep and shelve. So not only are the bags good for green shopping but also good for green organization. Think of the money and trees I will save by not buying cardboard storage boxes.
vshaynes5 years ago
Well designed and well documented. Thank you for sharing and congrats on your win.
gluless5 years ago
Of all the grocery bags on here, this is my fav! I also love your snarky 'tude and great instructions. This is on my "list" of to dos. Thank you and congrats on the win!
sewbiz5 years ago
sewbiz thanks for great tute I have now made approx 20 in sets of 5 for daughters and friends I love to go green and now you can do it in style
blissclaire5 years ago
yay! i did it! although my handles are a bit uneven (due to it being christmas eve night) because of my procrastination of making this amazing tote! this is my first official project with my sewing machine, and im glad that i was able to do so without totally banging my head in! instructable was great, and i appreciate the time you put into making it! hopefully it will take me less than 4 hours from start to finish next time!!
compwalla (author)  blissclaire5 years ago
Awesome! Welcome to the Sewists Cult. Once you get in, you can't get out. :) I'm glad for your success! Once you make one, the others will be faster.
fallenwitch5 years ago
I'm up way too late to be coherent, but I'm sitting here trying to follow your tutorial. It's a wonderful, smart , stylish little green bag. But what I loved most about this whole experience, was your snarky attitude and terrific sense of humour! Congratulations on a hard hitting chicken bag tutorial. I enjoyed it, and will be constructing one at a sewing machine near someone very soon! Thanks for ride. It was marvelous.
SabrinaM5 years ago
Very nice instructions! :D I'm using your instructions to make a few for DD's teacher. :)
I loved making this bag! (the only thing I did wrong was sew the bottoms together at the wrong time but with a seam ripper... that was fixed in no time!) I made one for my friend and I know she'll love it. Thanks for the well written Instructable with photos!
Toffy5 years ago
Well done Instructable with a clear and good explaination. Very cute bag.
Ninzerbean5 years ago
I don't think this will be a challenge as your instructions are terrific and your photos are clear and show everything step by step - very well done and I thank you. When you have nice bags for the grocery store you tend to remember to take them out of the trunk and bring them in with you.
SoWeetie5 years ago
Very informative - and for an amateur seamstress, it's going to be a challenge! But the excellent (and very humorous) instructions make it worth the work it's going to be! Have you considered standup? You'd probably be very good at it!
ChrysN5 years ago
What a great looking bag! Love the chickens.
compwalla (author)  ChrysN5 years ago
Thanks! My mom is really going to love the chicken bag. I wish I had more of that chicken fabric and I'd make her a whole set. Alas, it's discontinued and I can't find any more of it anywhere.
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