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Tutorial: foldable grocery bag

Bamio, our foldable grocery bags.

At home we try to minimize as much as possible the usage of single-use plastics. Therefore, for grocery shopping, we like to carry our own bags.

Although some of those bags are plastic (since we have them, we try to use them until they say it’s enough), the ones that are most comfortable for us are the ones we make on our own: they have the perfect size and the ideal shape. It’s the best part of making something by yourself, you make it exactly as you want it to be.

We have decided to share with you how we make these bags, and you will see all the advantages: very simple to do (the ideal project for sewing begginers), with great capacity, comfortable to use and, jus in case all of that were not enough, foldable (you can always carry them in case an unexpected shopping arises).

Materials

  • Fabric: 1m is more than enough.
  • Sewing tools: sewing machine, thread, scissors, measuring tape,…

The fabric you choose must be resistant (so that it does not tear when carrying weight), not elastic (so that it does not yield when you put things inside) and lightweight (so that it can be folded and stored easily). Personally we prefer to use “scrap” fabrics: those of low quality that we don’t want to use for other projects or re-used from old clothes.

Pattern

The pattern is so simple that you won’t need to print it. It consists of 3 rectangular pieces:

  • Bag: 100cm x 50cm
  • Strap: 80cm x 24cm
  • Pocket: 26cm x 16cm

If your fabric is not much lightweight, or you aren’t great at folding, make your pocket a bit bigger (for example, something like 30cm x 20cm).

Making

Prepare the strap

  1. Fold the strap in 2 equal parts lengthwise, so that it measures 80cm x 12cm and has the wrong side of the fabric hidden, and iron to create a crease. Open the strap again.
  2. Fold each of the ends of 80cm towards the center, hiding the wrong side of the fabric, causing them to reach the fold before formed. Iron the 2 folds to create new creases.
  3. Fold the strap in 2 lengthwise, hiding the 80cm edges. The strap will now measure 80cm x 6cm. Iron.
  4. Sew each of the long sides of the strap (80cm) with an edge seam.

Prepare the pocket

  1. Fold a short end of the pocket 0’5cm toward the wrong side of the fabric, so that it measures 25’5cm x 16cm. Iron the fold.
  2. Fold again 0’5cm the same end towards the wrong side of the fabric, so that it measures 25cm x 16cm. Iron the fold.
  3. Sew the fold with an edge seam.
  4. Fold widthwise to the right side of the fabric leaving 5cm free, so that it measures 15cm x 16cm.
  5. Sew the sides of the pocket 0’5cm from the edge.
  6. Flip the pocket so that the wrong side of the fabric is inside.

Prepare the bag

  1. Fold the bag widthwise in 2 equal parts, so that it measures 50cm x 50cm and has the wrong side of the fabric hidden.
  2. Sew each side with a seam 0’5cm from the edge.
  3. Turn the bag over so that the right side of the fabric is now hidden. Iron the previous seams.
  4. Sew each side with a seam 1cm from the edge. This seam will hide the previous one making it more elegant and resistant: it is known as french seam.
  5. Fold the top of the bag 0’5cm towards the wrong side of the fabric, and then another 3cm more. Pin.

Put everything together

  1. Insert one end of the strap into the folded edge of the bag, centering it on one of the side french seams. Fold the strap up and pin.
  2. Repeat the previous step for the other end of the strap, being careful not to twist it between the ends.
  3. Insert the end of the pocket into the folded edge of the bag, centering it between the joints of the strap, and pin.
  4. Sew at the edge of the bag, joining all the previous elements.
  5. Make another seam at the edge of the bag, close to the fold, to reinforce the joints.

You just have to flip the bag and it will be ready for you to use.

As you can see, this DIY project is very simple and useful. We have added the tutorial to our shop as downloadable pdf (free), in case you want to have it handy. Like all of our products, it has a very Galician name: Bamio. We hope you feel like making your own grocery bags 🙂