Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Reusable Fabric Grocery Bags ~ Adding a Bottom to the Bags

Complete with blurry iPhone photos, I'm going to show you some reusable fabric grocery bags that I made my Mum for Christmas. I've made so many of these bags now, that I've lost count. But this was my first time adding a removable, solid bottom to the bag.

Make a reusable fabric grocery bag with a flat bottom. How to add the solid bottom insert to the Michelle Patterns shopping bag pattern ~ Threading My Way

Yesterday I was down at Mum's and took the bags for a spin at the local supermarket. On returning, I snapped these photos. This is the third time I've tried to take photos of the two bags. Believe me when I say the photos you see today are much better than my other attempts.


Once again, I've used Michelle's Patterns PDF Grocery Bag Pattern (affiliate link). For a full review, check out the first shopping bag I made with the pattern.

I whipped up two bags for Mum - one large and one medium.


The photo above shows the large bag, empty, and with the bottom standing up - just to give you an idea of how stiff the bottom is.


And here's the removable bottom taken out of the bag. Making one is super simple...
  • Measure the bottom of the bag.
  • Cut out 2 pieces of fabric the size of the bottom of the bag.
  • Cut out a piece of very stiff fusible interfacing, slightly smaller than the fabric you just cut out.
  • Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one piece of fabric - following manufacturer's instructions.
  • Place the 2nd piece of fabric on top of the interfacing, wrong side down - ie; the right side of both pieces of fabric is on the outside.
  • Zig zag around all four edges.

That's it - very rough and ready, but it totally works. You could most certainly modify this to make an insert that is neat and tidy, with no raw edges showing. But, you know what, if I make these again, I'll probably go with my super quick method. No one can see the bottom anyway!


The interfacing I used is a stiff, cardboard like one. If you fold the bottom insert, it actually creases like cardboard. I have no idea what it's called, as it's a generic brand from Lindcraft. Experiment with different types of interfacing till you get one that does the job.

Both the interfacing and the fabric can be washed, so the bottom insert will be washable, too. I'm not sure how it would go in a machine, though - might bend it a bit. It's probably best to hand wash.

The photo above shows the empty bags hanging in Mum's wardrobe, so you can see the differences in sizing and just how much structure the inserts add to the bottom of the bags. Mum stores the bags, one inside the other, on a hanger in her wardrobe. 

Make a reusable fabric grocery bag with a flat bottom. How to add the solid bottom insert to the Michelle Patterns shopping bag pattern ~ Threading My Way

I have yet to master the art of iPhone selfies in a wardrobe mirror... LOL!!!

Much as I like the inserts in these bags, I won't be adding them to my shopping bags. I like the ease of just folding my bags and shoving them inside another bag. The bottom insert was a special request from Mum.

I'm sure you guys can think of lots of ways to add a removable bottom insert to a shopping bag. Let me know your ideas.

Make a reusable fabric grocery bag with a flat bottom. How to add the solid bottom insert to the Michelle Patterns shopping bag pattern ~ Threading My Way


... Pam




11 comments:

  1. Brilliant way to use up recycled and scraps of fabric

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  2. Hi Pam! These bags look really nice. The handle looks soft so as not to cut into your hand when it's heavy. For the bottom inserts, maybe a tough thin flexible plastic of some sort could be used, inside a fabric cover. I probably wouldn't bother either about a sturdy bottom for the bags, but it's an interesting question to think about!

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  3. You make it look so easy. Favorite fabric and you are all set! Thanks.

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    1. This one is super easy, Jeannie. Definitely won't be the last grocery bags I make with this pattern.

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  4. I like your selfie pictures - fun! Great idea for the bag bottom - and I was going to say, that when the insert gets dirty, you can just turn it over so the clean side shows :D I've made similar bag bottoms - I used plastic canvas to make it stiff - I think that could probably go through the washing machine without issue - I should try it the next time I make one :D

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  5. I love how these bags have more structure to them. It makes it easier to load up and they don't fall over as easily. I have saved this to my DIY Grocery Bags Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/thelostapron/diy-grocery-bags/

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  6. A stiff bottom is a good idea for grocery bags.

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  7. I have used plastic canvas for a bag bottom in a handbag before, but it wasn't removable like yours as it was inside the lining. The bag feet held it in place. I think that it would be ok in the machine for washing but I am not in the habit of machine washing my handbags so I couldn't swear to it :)

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  8. Such pretty bags, they'd turn grocery shopping into a treat!

    I've used rigid plastic canvas (the sort you find in kids' tapestry kits) for making bag bottoms stiffer xx

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    1. Thanks, Anna. I've seen that plastic canvas and wondered how it would be in the bottom of a bag.

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  9. Thank you for a great tutorial! I have found that attaching the bag bottom to the length inside the bag with a snap helps me to not misplace/lose the insert and saves some space when not in use. Instead of folding the bag in half by horizontally, it folds vertically. Thank you again!

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