You know this feeling: You have a basket full of groceries and get to checkout only to realise that you didn’t bring a shopping bag.
And then you need to choose between trying to carry your items home and hope you don’t drop anything, or buy yet another bag even though you already have hundreds of them at home...
To help avoid all the hassle we will be showing you how to sew foldable shopping bags. This handy tote bag folds up small enough to be kept in your handbag all the time..
The foldaway shopping bag measures 38 x 35 cm (unfolded). Have fun sewing!
You will need the following for your DIY foldable shopping bag:
- ½ m of fabric – you can use two different ones to make the bag more colourful and fun
- A snap fastener
- Matching sewing thread
- Pieces of interfacing to reinforce the fabric
- A fabric label with your own design
You will need a few fabric rectangles for the foldable tote bag.
Cut the fabric(s) as follows:
- Two 6 x 60 cm rectangles for the handles
- One 6 x 13 cm rectangle for the closing tab
You can make the bag in two colours by cutting two 38 x 33 cm rectangles from your main fabric and two 38 x 11 cm rectangles from your second fabric. If you want a single-coloured bag, simply cut all four rectangles from the same fabric, the measurements remain the same.
Make the handles first. Fold one piece of fabric lengthwise into half (right sides together) and sew the long side closed with a seam allowance of 0.5 cm. Turn the handle inside out, iron it and topstitch the long sides close to the edge. Do the same with the second handle.
Reinforce the tab with a piece of interfacing fabric, for example Vlieseline H250 or S320. Then fold it right sides together so that it measures 13 x 3 cm. Sew the long side and one short side together with a seam allowance of 0.5 cm, shorten the seam at the corners and turn the fastening tab inside out. Iron the tab and topstitch it close to the edge.
You are now ready to sew the two sides of the bag. For the back, simply sew the top and bottom together (right sides together) with a 0.5 cm seam allowance. For the front, first sew the tab onto the centre of the bottom piece: Sew over it a few times to make sure the seam holds well. Then sew the top and bottom pieces together as you did for the back. You can topstitch the seams between the top and bottom pieces.
Now sew the two sides together (right sides together) with a seam allowance of 0.75cm - don't forget to leave the top open! You can sew the seam twice to make sure it holds well when the shopping bag is full. Trim the seam allowance at the corners. Finish off the hem with a zigzag or overlock stitch.
Next, sew the edge at the top - fold the fabric onto the reverse side by 1 cm and iron it. Then fold it over again by 1cm onto the reverse side and iron it so that the raw edge is hidden. Topstitch the hem close to the edge.
Then sew the handles 10 cm away from the side seams. Fold over 3-4 cm of the fabric and pin in place with clips or pins. Then sew the handles on with a diagonal cross (see picture). Make sure that the handles are not twisted.
It is now time to attach the snap fastener. One half is attached to the middle of the tab at the bottom, and the other is attached to the same side between the handles at the top. Use another piece of interfacing fabric to reinforce this area first. When you fold up the tab, the two parts that fit together should both be facing upwards (see picture).
Now all you have to do is turn the bag right side out and iron it. Your new DIY foldable shopping bag is ready! You can fold it by folding it lengthwise in three and then folding it widthwise. If you iron the bag while it is folded, it will be easier to fold the next time because of the creases.
Sew on your personalised label.
We hope that you enjoyed this tutorial!
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