Fold Up Shopping Bag Tutorial

After the great success of our Sewing Bee for Paint Fleet Pink Week I decided to share the pattern and tutorial for my Fold Up Shopping Bag.  You may see it if you are local, in next month's copy of Fleet Chatter.  

It is especially relevant now that we have to pay for our plastic shopping bags.  What better excuse to spend even more money on fabric (!) and make one that you can use everyday (or like me forget and leave at home! Doh!)

You will need:

  • Half a metre of fabric
  • Thread
  • 9 inches Elastic ¼ inch wide
  • Button
  • Ribbon or other Strapping for straps
  • Sewing Machine, Scissors & pins

1. Cut two pieces of fabric 20 inches wide by 18 inches high. 

2. To make ‘French’ seams, you will need to pin your fabric WRONG sides together.  Sew the two sides and the bottom edges together using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

3. Cut a 2 inch square from the two bottom corner seam lines

4. Turn inside out and press seams.  Now stitch the same three seams using a ⅜ inch seam allowance which will encase the raw edges in the seam.

 5. Turn right side out, box the corners and stitch French seams in the same way as you have just sewn the straight seams.   When dealing with the side seams lay them in opposite directions so that your corner seams lay flat.

6. With your bag inside out, turn the top edge over ¾ inch, press and then turn over another ¾ inch and press, thus hemming the top edge.  Pin in place.  Insert your handles into your hem.  Pin in place.  On one side, make a loop from your piece of elastic and tuck it under the hem centrally in between one of the handles.  Pin in place.

7. Sew the hem in place an ⅛ inch away from each edge of the seam, Reverse stitching over the handles and elastic.

8. Now flip the handles and elastic out of the bag and stitch in place along the top edge.

9. Stitch the button in place about 3 inches down from the elastic on the same side

10. To fold the bag, lay out with button not showing. fold the sides 2 inches in and handles down.  Fold sides in again overlapping each other and roll up from the bottom and secure in place with the elastic over the button.