Simple shopping bag – free PDF pattern

I have been trying to reduce the use of plastic bags, and have been sewing lots of fabric shopping bags not only for myself but also for my friends who are willing to be more eco friendly.

A shopping bag project is also simple enough to help you relax when you face a much more difficult one. And the best thing about it is that it is super practical and can be used every day.

I am sharing the pattern for this simple one layer shopping bag. I love to make it with linen as this material is durable and lightweight, and it goes well with the definition of a natural, non plastic fiber.

I found out my lightweight linen extremely durable. I put in 10 pounds of oranges and it still looked like it could hold double that weight, as long as the thread allowed. Of course linen is ridiculously expensive, but with the ability to last hundreds (if not thousands) of times you go shopping – it is totally much cheaper than the one time use plastic bags. And you will not feel guilty with the environment!

You can make the bag with any kind of fabric you have on hand – they just need to be sturdy enough to hold some thing inside.

As this is a single layer bag (to reduce the weight and bulk), I used French seams to make it look nice and clean, and prevent all kind of fabric raveling, and make it more sturdy.

The openings of the bag is finished with bias binding – again, professional, clean and nice looking!

Don’t freak out at the thought of using bias binding. You will find it a huge save of time if you iron the bias tape before sewing. Then just simply attach it to the fabric as you go. I always iron my bias tapes into its final shape (edges folded in, and then folded in half).

Now what do you need to make this shopping bag?

  • One yard of fabric
  • Some bias tape
  • Scissors, ruler, pencil or fabric markers
  • Sewing machine/needle and thread
  • Sewing pattern (download link at the end of the post)

How to sew this simple shopping bag

  1. Fold your piece of fabric in half along the grainline. Press to smooth.
  2. Fold the fabric again across the grainline, so that the center point of the fabric is at the intersection of the two fold lines.
  3. Place the pattern on top of the folded fabric. Trace along the lines and cut.
  4. Unfold the cut fabric piece so that the side seams and the handle seams match. Fabric should be wrong side facing each other as you are doing a French seam here.
  5. Pin and sew at 1/5in (5mm) from the edge. Turn the seam inside out, now the fabric is right side facing each other. Press to flatten the seam.
  6. Sew another line at 3/8in (1cm) from the previously sewn seam. You will get the finished French seam. Press the seam to one side and sew if you want to reinforce the seam for heavy duty bags.
  7. French seam handles and side seams.
  8. French seam the corners at the bottom of the bag.
  9. Attach bias binding for the openings at the top of the bag.

Now you got it, the very simple single layer shopping bag. Fold it and toss it into your handbag and use it any time you need!

Here is the pattern: SIMPLE SHOPPING BAG

Happy sewing!


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