How to Sew a Reusable, Durable Grocery Bag

The next time you're shopping take your own DIY cloth grocery bags.  Our reusable shopping bag pattern is easy to sew, environmentally friendly, and will last for many, many years.  It's handy for trips to the grocery store, farmers market, department store, library and you can even stuff it with things for the park or beach. 
Reusable Shopping Bag Tutorial - fb


Some areas of the country are banning plastic bags, other places are charging for plastic bags and some stores reward you for bringing your own bags.  These are all good reasons for keeping a stash of reusable bags in the car.  

Have you ever purchase shopping bags from a retailer.  The bags are very flimsy and the handles break easily. Using the fabric we recommend will make a sturdy, durable grocery bag. 

The advantages of this free grocery bag DIY pattern:

* Quick and easy to sew

* Sturdy, durable bag which won't tear or rip easily

* Can be completed in an hour

* Only need one piece of fabric

* No lining needed

* Webbing for handles and shoulder straps

* Large capacity

* Bag is washable

This free grocery bag pattern is large enough to carry lots of stuff and includes both comfortable short handles and also a shoulder strap long enough to sling over your shoulder so your hands are free for shopping.

Do you need other sewing ideas for shopping bags and tote bags?  Our totes, bags and purses page has over 60 free projects waiting for you to try.  

Watch the DIY reusable grocery bag video and then follow the step-by-step photo tutorial below to make foldable shopping bags.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Sew a Reusable, Durable Grocery Bag to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Reusable shopping bag pattern Two Bags

What are the benefits of reusable grocery bags?

Durability - The bags are ideal to carry items of different weights and yet last for a long time.

Reusable - You can take them over and over and over again with you every time you go shopping. 

Save money - Many grocery stores and even many cities and states are starting to charge for plastic bags.  Some are not allowing plastic bags at all.

Environmentally Friendly   - Reusable bags keep plastic bags out of the landfill. 

Protect Wildlife - Plastic bag litter is also a major threat to animals and their habitats.

Multi-purpose - The reusable bag you carry to the grocery store can be used for other purposes and to carry other things.

Fabric to use for reusable grocery bags?

A sturdy strong utility fabric such as denim, duck cloth, canvas or home décor works best for making a durable grocery tote. 



  • Sturdy Fabric
  • Webbing 1” or 1 ¼” wide - 2 yards
  • Matching Thread
  • Scissor (Or rotary cutter and cutting mat)
  • Ruler
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Sewing Clips or Pins
  • Sewing Machine

HOW TO SEW A foldable, reusable GROCERY BAG


Reusable Shopping Bag Pattern Single Bag

As mentioned above choose a sturdy fabric such as denim, duck cloth, canvas or home décor. 

The bag doesn't have to be boring.  Show off your personal style with some of these DIY grocery bag ideas:

  • Choose a bold color or print fabric
  • Embroider a design on the fabric
  • Use Iron-on transfers
  • Are you a glitter fan? Glitter it!
  • Stencil the fabric
  • Attach patches

Shopping Bag To personalize two of my grocery bags, I machine embroidered the fabric with eye-catching environmental statements.  

For one bag, I embroidered a world design on the fabric and put the tag line, "Saving the Planet One Bag at a Time".

For another bag, I machine embroidered a lady with shopping packages and put the tag line, "Proud to be a Bag Lady".

Cashiers are constantly commenting on how they like my grocery bags and are amazed that I made them.


Reusable DIY Grocery Bag Pattern Supplies

Your grocery bag is going to be made out of one piece of fabric.

For the bag itself, cut a rectangular piece 19" wide x 41" long. 

For the handles, cut two pieces of webbing 18" long.

For the shoulder strap, cut one piece of webbing 36" long.


First, we will begin by finishing the top edges of the grocery bag and attaching the handle and shoulder straps.

Place the 19" x 41" piece of fabric with the wrong side facing up on your ironing board. 

Reusable Grocery Bag Fold Top Edge quarter inch To hem the top, fold the shorter edge (the 19" edge)  down 1/2" toward the wrong side and press flat with an iron.   

Reusable Grocery Bag Fold Top Edge One and a quarter inchFold down again 1 1/4" and press flat. 

With one of the 18" handle strips, measuring 5 1/2" from the side of the fabric, insert the strap under the fold. Reusable Grocery Bag Measure location straps

Then flip the strap upward and pin. Reusable Grocery Bag Pin Strap

Again, measure 5 1/2" from the other side, place the strap under the fold, flip the strap up and pin.  IMPORTANT: Do not twist the handle.Reusable Grocery Bag Short Strap Pinned Repeat the process on the other 19" edge.  


It is time to place the shoulder strap on the bag.  On one of the 19" folded edges, measure 1" from the side, insert shoulder strap under the fold, flip up and pin.

With the other end of the shoulder strap, place it 1" from the other top edge under the fold of the other top edge, flip up and pin in place.

Reusable Grocery Bag All Straps Pinned

Above and below are pictures of how all the straps should look when pinned in place.

Reusable Grocery Bag Long Strap pinned


Reusable Grocery Bag Sew Top Edge and Straps Topstitch close to the inside folded edge and then edgestitch along the top folded edge ( the top of the bag). Need tutorials? Here you will find our topstitch and edgestitch video tutorials. Reusable Grocery Bag Topstitch Top Edge and Straps


Reusable Grocery Bag Pin Sides

Fold the fabric in half with right-side together making sure the top of the bag is even and lined up.  Pin along the raw edges. 

Reusable Grocery Bag Sew Sides

Go to the sewing machine and stitch the side seams using a 1/2" seam allowance, backstitch at the beginning and end. 

Since grocery bags get lots of wear and tear, sew a second row of stitches about 1/8" from the first stitching (toward the raw edge).

Then, zigzag the raw edge to help prevent fraying.  

Reusable Grocery Bag Double Stitching and Zig Zag


One of the wonderful features of this bag is the box bottom.  What is a box bottom?  box bottom means the bag has a flat bottom making it easier to hold wider items and the bag can stand up on its own when you set it down.

Let's learn how to box the corners! The bag should still be inside out.  To box the bottom corner, iron and crease the bottom edge of the bag.  You will need this crease to help make the boxed bottom.  

Reusable Grocery Bag fold corner

Now, iron the side seam to one side (Not open).  To form the boxed corner, fold the corner so the bottom crease and the side seam line up forming a triangle. 

Reusable Grocery Bag Mark for box pleat

With a quilters ruler, measure 3 1/2" from the point of the triangle and with a pencil or fabric marker, draw a line. Pin the fabric to hold it in place. Reusable Grocery Bag Box Pleat Line

Go to the sewing machine and stitch along the line, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Reusable Grocery Bag Sew Box Pleat

Repeat the process with the second corner.

Reusable Grocery Bag Sew Other Box Pleat


Reusable Grocery Bag Single Bag

Just turn the bag right-side out and your grocery bag is finished.  Take your new bag to the market on your next shopping trip and load it up with groceries! 

I hope you enjoyed this DIY blog on how to make a grocery bag.  If you like this project be sure to pin, bookmark and share.

Reusable Grocery Bag Finished Two BagsAs always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to help or clarify anything.

Happy Sewing!


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.


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Reusable Shopping Bag Tutorial - pin

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