As part of sharing household duties, my husband proposed that he will do the grocery shopping. I didn’t agree – that is my privilege. I love shopping for groceries.
I love walking along the jammed aisles of the supermarket and decide on what I want to buy from all the options available for even the common salt with the deliberation and seriousness of a government official deciding on the many bids before him. Everyone has a weakness!
And with the proposed banning of plastic bags, I have decided to make a reusable fabric grocery bag for myself that I can carry in my hand while my shoulders carry my handbag.
You see, I was using tote bags earlier to buy groceries but carrying two bags on your shoulder, especially when one is overfilled and overloaded is very uncomfortable – have you tried it? It is doubly tacky carrying bags on both shoulders.
So here is my version of the handheld Grocery bag – one you can make in half an hour or less (if you are fast in selecting fabric and cutting which takes a lot of time for me) and for which you need only the bare minimum sewing knowledge to make it yourself.
How to make a hand-held Grocery Bag
Step 1. Grocery Bag Pattern
Cut out the fabric pieces for the grocery bag.
You should choose a sturdy fabric for this bag like canvas, cotton duck – you will be carrying heavy things in it. If you have medium weight fabric choose to use two layers of the same fabric ( and treat it as one as you sew – like you would do with underlining when sewing garments)
Step 2. Make the handles
With the 3 inches by 12-inch pieces you have cut out – make two handles – simply fold the side edges to the inside, press together in place and then top stitch. You will get a 1-inch wide bag handle (Here is a post on the different types of Bag handles you can use)
Step 3. Prepare the grocery bag body
Fold the top edge of the two bag body pieces twice to the inside and stitch in place.
You should first fold the top edge 1/2 inch to the inside and then again fold 1/2 inch.
Zigzag/serger stitch the other edges of the pieces to finish them neatly on the inside as well.
Step 4. Join the handle to the bag
Find the center of the top edge. Mark two inches to either side of this center.
Fold the short edges of the handle to the inside and join it there.
Step 5. Prepare the side panel
If you do not have a 51.5 inch long fabric piece which is 6 inches wide, join as many fabric panels as you want to get this dimension.
Fold the short edges ( ends) of this panel 1/2 inch first and then 1 inch. Stitch in place.
Turn the long edges of the piece to the inside (once) 1/4 inch and stitch in place.
Step 6. Join the side panel to one of the bag body pieces
Keep the side panel on top of the side edge of the one of the bag body piece and topstitch in place.
The stitching should be very close to the edge till you reach the end when you will have to slant the stitching slightly(1/4 inch)- see the white line in the picture below.
Now turn the side panel to the back. This is done for easy manipulation of the corners
Manipulate the corner to make a mitered corner.
PS: Do not leave the fabric edges unfinished as I have done – zig-zag finish – it shows on the inside : (
Pin this corner in place.
Start from the other side (left in the picture) and follow the same steps.
Stitch in place.
Do the same maneuver for the other corner as well. Pin in place the corner into a mitered corner as earlier
Now stitch the bottom edge in place, securing the corners as you stitch.
Join the other bag body piece to the other side of the side panels the same way.
You are finished with your Grocery Bag sewing.
Now onto shopping.
Updated on November 15, 2022 by Sarina Tariq