Saturday 28 April 2018

15 Free Tutorials ~ Grocery / Shopping / Market Bags

In many parts of the world, single use plastic bags have been banned. Even where there is such no ban in force however, more and more people are reacting to the mounting evidence that our planet would be better off if we find more sustainable alternatives to single use plastic bags to carry our shopping. It's time for us all to ditch single use plastic shopping bags.

Today I'm showcasing more than fifteen FREE bag & tote patterns and tutorials, all selected from the Bags & Totes collection, here at Threading My Way. Each contains step by step detailed instructions, with lots of photos, showing how you can make a bag for yourself.

Free reusable shopping bag, market tote, grocery bag patterns & tutorials ~ Threading My Way

Unlike some general purpose totes, bags used to carry groceries and shopping need to fulfil certain criteria to be practical. They have to be light to carry, easy to wash, roomy and durable. I have included one bag that is not washable, but I like the style, and the vinyl could easily be substituted with something else.

I sew all seams on grocery bags with a triple stitch for extra strength - whether the pattern / tutorial calls for it or not. Common sense still prevails when loading them up.

Although some were not originally designed as shopping / grocery / market bags, they all fit the bill.

Tea Towel Tote Bags ~ Tutorial by Vicky, from Vicky Myers Creations

Shopping Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Libby, from Libby's Lifestyle

Polypropylene Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Jessica, from Flash Fit Trainer

Reversible 2 Coloured Tote ~ Tutorial by Esther, from Happy in Red

One Square Tote ~ Tutorial by Lisa, from Cucicucicoo Ecological Living

Jelly Roll Market Bag ~ Tutorial by Carole, from From My Carolina Home

Shopping Bag ~ Tutorial by Wen, from What's Mummy Up To

Color Block Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Petro, from Creative Homemaking

Shopping Bag ~ Tutorial by Marisa, from Passion et Couture

Market Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Deby, for Little House Living

Bag in a Pocket ~ Tutorial by Joy, from Joy's Jots, Shots & Whatnots

Lined Canvas Tote ~ Tutorial by Ren, from The Inspired Wren

Wave Goodbye Tote ~ Tutorial by Deanna, from Wedding Dress Blue

The Three-Ten Tote ~ Tutorial by Ren, from The Inspired Wren

Lots of designs to choose from. What style of shopping bag do you like to use? My preferred grocery bags have short, thick handles that are comfortable to hold - I make them using a paid pattern. When I'm at markets, or browsing in shopping centres, however, I like to have long handled bags that I can easily carry on my shoulders along with my handbag.

Are single use plastic bags banned in your little corner of the world yet? Sadly, the state of NSW where I live, is behind the rest of Australia. Our premier has decided that...
... legislative intervention isn't needed because supermarkets are managing the issue themselves.
Hmmm... not in the majority of supermarkets where I shop!!!

In some areas, thick plastic bags are being offered by retailers as an alternative, or substitute for single use bags - the idea being that the heavy duty plastic will last longer and can be reused, but it seems that they are sometimes discarded after one use.

Others are concerned about what to line household bins with, if they can no longer rely on plastic shopping bags.

In sewing (or buying) reusable shopping bags, are we really addressing the whole problem or creating other problems depending on the type of fabrics we choose to make our bags with. So far, all my reusable shopping bags are made with cotton, which apparently is one of the most water and chemical intensive crops to grow.

And, what do we do, when, with all good intentions, we arrive at the shops, only to realise our reusable bags are back at home? With its origins in Australia, Boomerang Bags is now a global movement, aiming to address this problem. Perhaps there's a community near you.

It's a complicated issue, I know, and not as straight forward as it may seem. But we can all make a start!

Free reusable shopping bag, market tote, grocery bag patterns & tutorials ~ Threading My Way

Edited to add.... I've done another roundup with 15 more grocery bags.

... Pam


  1. Happy Shopping Day everyone with your new bags! This is a great collection Pam!

  2. Thank you for including my tutorial :-)

  3. I opted not to take a straw a few days ago while eating out at a restaurant. That plastic in particular in causing a huge issue in our oceans. For shopping, I use heavy duty bags that were sold by the grocery store. Apparently they're constructed out of a material that includes recycled soda pop bottles. (Oddly enough, none of the bags that I shop with are made by me!) The world does have a plastic problem, but I don't know how we are going to dispose of our weekly garbage without plastic bags (the big black ones).

  4. I love that button fabric :D Lots of our stores, but not all of them, charge 5 cents each for plastic shopping bags. Sometimes you forget to take them, sometimes they're in the car and it's inconvenient to go out and get them when the groceries are already rung through, sometimes you just want to use a plastic grocery bag because you need some for home. If all stores banned their use, we'd all learn quickly to make alternative arrangements, and would remember to take bags :D There's no question that they come in VERY handy at times, so maybe if everyone reduced their useage by 80 or 90%, that would be good enough? Also - there's so much plastic in packaging that I don't even think that plastic garbage bags are the worst problem!

  5. Shops here charge for plastic bags and it is cutting their use quite significantly. The heavy duty bags are called "bags for life" as they are replaced free of charge if they get damaged. It has definitely become habit to take bags with me when supermarket shopping. I also always have a fold up bag in my handbag so I am never caught out. One of these is a string bag which has an amazing capacity for its size. I think we can change behaviour but the supermarkets need to do their bit ,the packaging on some items in store is ridiculous.
    Great post Pam!

  6. Thank you for helping spread the word on those horrible single use plastic bags. Now if we could ban those and plastic straws all over the world we would be better off. Our oceans are in trouble, and plastic is in our water supplies. I am going to try making one of the pet food bags soon, to carry meats that sometimes leak, so the bag has to be washable. Thank you for including my Market tote made with jelly roll strips.

  7. What a great topic for discussion. We definitely need to do our part to reduce plastic use. What lovely tote options! It's always nice to visit farmers market with a pretty fabric bag! You've featured something for everyone! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  8. Hi Pam

    I have tried subscribing by email twice but I never get the link to confirm my submission. Also when I subscribed the second time a message appeared to say I am already on the email list but I never seem to get any email content.
    I hope this can be sorted as I would like to get your content.

    1. Hi Kezzie, I'm sorry you have not received any emails. I'm afraid I don't know how to help you, as the emails are sent automatically by Google. I don't see email addresses or who has subscribed.

      Since receiving your comment, to check the system works (sometimes :-)), I have subscribed and did successfully received an email when I next posted content. Just a thought, and I could be way off - have you checked your spam folder? Could you try subscribing with a different email address?

  9. I love a fold up bag I can carry in my handbag. I have a few silk ones that are lovely and I also have some very polyester ones that hold heaps of weight. I think I might have to make some to use up some stashed fabrics that I don’t think I’ll ever use.

  10. I love your initiative! I've been doing that too because I don't use plastic bags, so I made a huge beach bag with a small pouch for my purse and mobile phone, a thin one that I always carry in my handbag just in case, 3 grocery bags and one for car stuff. The amazing thing is that people always ask me where I buy my bags when I actually just recycle old skirts and curtains to make them. Making your own bags is fun and also helps the environment!

    1. Love that you recycle old skirts and curtains to make your bags, Elna!!! I have some old sheets and tablecloths cut up ready to be made into bags - just need some time to sew them. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.


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