Picture of Making a reusable Shopping Bag (Tote bag)
First Cut.JPG
Measure Length.JPG
Measure Side.JPG
Stacking Sides.JPG
Pinning Large Side.JPG
Hem - Inside.JPG
Hem Outside.JPG
Pin Side Length.JPG
Pinning Sides to Main Panel.JPG
Side Pin - Second.JPG
Completed Main Bag - Right Side Out.JPG
Completed Main Bag.JPG
Measuring the Bag Top.JPG
Cutting Handles.JPG
Pinning the Handles.JPG
First handle sewed.JPG
This instructable shows you how to make a simple reusable shopping bag.

It is aimed more at someone who is new to sewing, the concepts and such are fairly simple and can lead to more advanced work.

I made it at TechShop ( using the standard sewing machines.  The bag was started at Menlo Park, and finished at San Jose.

You will need for this bag:-

- A quantity of fabric (I have used Ripstop nylon), if purchased, a single yard should be sufficient for a single bag (and give you extra material at the end).
- A small amount of nylon webbing, or other heavy duty fabric for the handle.
- Thread to suit your material (I used cotton thread of different colours for my bag, but I should have used nylon for material matching).
- A round needle for the machine, sized for your fabric and cotton (I used a Ball-Point 100/16 needle).
- Free time (the most expensive item in the list).

Now, the bag you make will not be cheaper than just buying one of the cheap bags at the supermarket, but you can make it any reasonable size, and it won't have a corporate logo unless you want to put one on it :)

An important note: Sewing tools should not be used for anything else, no cutting of paper with your sewing scissors, or pins used for unclogging glue tubes.  If you use sewing tools that way, never re-use them for sewing, as they will cause you problems.

NOTE: At the moment this instructable is a work in progress.  Please request any clarifications in the notes, and I'll update as necessary.
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Nice job! And those straps really look like they are going to stay on which is really good for shopping bags!
illiath (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
That's the idea :)

I'm working on some extras for some testing, and once that's done I'll be trying to figure out exactly how much weight one of these bags can hold before starting to show problems, I know it can hold over 20lbs (given other stuff I had to pack in the first one I made).