Tuesday 9 July 2019

Grocery / Shopping / Market Bags ~ 15 Free Tutorials

There is no doubt about it - the amount of plastic we are creating, using and disposing of is harming the world we live in. One way we can all help is by bringing our own reusable bags when we go shopping. Refuse both the single use plastics and the so called thicker reusable plastic bags on offer. Today I'm showcasing fifteen FREE fabric bag & tote patterns and tutorials, all with step by step instructions and lots of photos to help you make your own bags.

15 free reusable shopping, grocery bags and market tote tutorials and patterns. Threading My Way

Shopping bags need to be sturdy, washable and easy to carry. When choosing fabrics, keep in mind the weight of the contents you will be carrying around. No matter how good the construction of the bag, if the fabric is flimsy, that's where the weak point will be.

Utilising pre-loved fabrics is a win win for the environment. Think about repurposing sheets, tablecloths and doonas (duvets). Just look out for worn patches and avoid those areas.

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

Although some bags below were not originally designed as shopping / grocery / market bags, they all fit the bill, and so I've included them in today's roundup. There's a style for every taste...

Rope Handled Shopping Bag ~ Tutorial by Caroline, from Sew Can She

Roll Up Shopping Bag ~ Tutorial by Kate, from Needle and Spatula

Easy to Make Unlined Shopping Bag ~ Tutorial by Pam, from Threading My Way

Big Zip Pocket Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Anne, from Orange Bettie

All Season Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Mo, for Sew Mama Sew

Easy Tote Bag ~ Tutorial by Amber, from Crazy Little Projects

Tote Bag in Two Sizes ~ Tutorial by Stephanie, from Swoodson Says

Tea Towel Tote ~ Tutorial by Julie, from Sum of their Stories

Shopping Bags from Bedding ~ Tutorial by Jill, from Creating My Way to Success

Reusable Shopping Bag ~ Pattern & Tutorial by Chelsea, from Sew Simple Home

Umbrella to Carry Everywhere Shopping Bag ~ Pattern & Tutorial by Lisa, from Cucicucicoo Ecological Living

Long & Short Handles Bag ~ Tutorial by Julie, from Sum of their Stories

Folded Shopping Bag ~ Pattern & Tutorial by Mayra, from So Sew Easy

Are single use plastic bags banned where you live? 

Sadly the state of NSW, where I live in Australia, is way behind the rest of the country. There is no law in place to prevent their use - it's up to individual stores to decide. 

The two major supermarkets decided that this time last year would be when they would phase out single use bags. There was such an outcry from some of the public - who simply couldn't cope - that one of the retailers reneged on the decision. If it wasn't such a serious matter, it would have been amusing - it was even reported in overseas newspapers. It all worked out in the end, but if legislation had been enacted, all of the debacle could have been avoided.

Those two supermarkets have replaced single use bags with thicker, supposedly reusable plastic bags that customers have to buy. Unfortunately, some people still see the thicker plastic bags as single use, making the bags ever worse than the thin ones they replaced.

So, it's a real mix where I go shopping - ranging from responsible stores who only hand out paper bags, to those giving away thick plastic bags, to those still refusing to give up the single use thin plastic. 

When I look around, there are more people bringing their own bags, but I still don't think it's the majority - YET.

15 free reusable shopping, grocery bags and market tote tutorials and patterns. Threading My Way

I always try to have a couple of reusable bags in my handbag, so I'm not caught out - a nylon bag that folds into a small pouch, and an unlined cloth bag that folds into a relative small space. If I know I'm going shopping I take extra bags. For window shopping or clothes shopping, for example, I like to take bags with long straps so I can carry them over my shoulder. For grocery shopping, on the other hand, I take fabric bags with short, thick handles.

Do you stick with the same style of bag no matter what type of shopping, or do you chop and change?

15 Free Market Tote Bag ~ tutorials and patterns

... Pam


  1. Thanks for including a couple of my bags Pam :-)
    I think a lot of people here in the UK have got in the habit of bringing their own reusable bags now. We have had a small charge for quite a few years now and it seems to work. We all still have those days though when you leave your bags in the car or only pop in for 1 thing and come out with an armful!!

  2. I loooove this roundup! I love reusable shopping bags in general, and it's fabulous to see such a variety in style and materials! Thanks for including my umbrella Carry Everywhere Shopping bag! :) Lisa


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