Make Your Own Reusable Grocery Bags

Make Your Own Reusable Grocery Bags

For most of the last 30 years, plastic bags have been the standard at the grocery stores, with an occasional offering of paper bags.  Most of us never think twice about what it means to take those plastic bags home with us.  Before I show you how to “Make Your Own Reusable Grocery Bag”, let me share just a little about how much money those little bags are costing you and how they damage the environment in ways you never considered.

Americans use billions of those plastic grocery bags, most of which are never recycled.  The cost for those billions of plastic bags is about  12 million barrels of oil.


Yes.  Plastic is made from oil. 

Breaking that down further, for every 14 plastic bags made, the oil that was used could have driven your car about one mile.

So, let’s just recycle more, right?


The kind of plastic used for bottles, bags and other food containers not only takes over 1000 years to break down and decompose (if you want to call it that, it just changes into something else), they are full of chemicals that act as “endocrine-disrupters”.

There’s nothing good happening with plastic bags, and I was really thrilled when I heard that many grocery stores are doing away with them!

So how will you get your groceries home?

With your own reusable market bags!

Now, you could go out and purchase some tote bags for the grocery store, but why not try your hand at making some?

It’s easier than you think, let’s look at some different options:  crochet, no-sew and sew.

Reusable Grocery Bags to Crochet

I really love the look of a crocheted market bag, don’t you?

If you know how to crochet, or know someone who would teach you, these crochet market bags come together very quickly and will last you for years!

summer harvest bag free crochet pattern

The Summer Harvest Bag

Circular Crochet Bags

Finsbury Produce Bag

diy grocery bag crochet

Easy Crochet Afternoon Market Bag

crochet grocery bag


Acorn Market Bag

Rustic Market Bag

reusable grocery bags

 No-Sew: How to Make Reusable Grocery Bags from T-Shirts

How to Make a No-Sew Market Bag in 10 Minutes

DIY Farmer’s Market Tote

Jute Webbing No-Sew Tote

Everyday Bag Made from Drop Cloth

How to Make a Tote from a T-Shirt


Reusable Grocery Bags to Sew

sew grocery bags

Striped Market Bag

grocery bags from upcycled skirt

I was out garage-saling one day and found a skirt, made with fabric that I thought would look really adorable as a market bag!

skirt fabric

The colors made me really happy, so I brought the skirt home and went to work at the sewing machine!

upcycled skirt


The principle is very simple. With “right sides in”, fold your skirt (or other garment) in half, then fold it in half again. That’s what you see here.

How to Make Reusable Cloth Gift Bags

grocery bag made from old skirt

You can pin the layers together if the fabric is slippery, but I didn’t need to with this particular piece.

With a pencil, I sketched where my handles would be, and then cut them out. Be conservative, you can always cut more, but you can’t put it back on!

The beauty of this project is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, your market bag is going to look great!

upcycled skirt

Unfold your garment and take a look at it. You may choose to cut your market bag’s handles a little deeper, but I’m pleased with mine.

This would be fine the way it is, but I think I’m going to round off those bottom corners just a bit.





Now, with an iron, fold 1/4″ seam allowance on your handles and press, then fold another 1/4″ and press.

We’re ready to hit the sewing machine! See how fast this goes?

upcycled skirt

I chose to zig-zag this seam, but you can do it any way you like. I also use white or beige thread for almost all my projects, for simplicity’s sake.

reusable grocery bag

Awesome, we’re almost finished sewing your market bag!

You should have two pieces that look like this, with finished handles.

sewing grocery bag from old skirt

Putting right sides together again, seam around the outside of the bag with a straight line seam. Then, to keep it strong, let’s go back over that seam with a zig-zag stitch, if your machine has it.

sewing instructions

Turn your bag right side out and there you have it!!! Isn’t it super cute??

finished reusable grocery bag


reversible box tote

Reversible Box Tote

grocery bag made from bird seed bag


Grocery Tote Birdseed Sack

Grab hold of a couple of these ideas and make some new reusable grocery bags!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lisa

    So easy and cute! You’ve inspired me to give this a try. Thanks for your tutorial! Very easy to follow. What great timing too! NY has just made plastic bags illegal…. Good for the planet, but recycling is too.

    1. Kelly

      Hey there, Lisa! Good luck with yours and maybe post a pic for us??

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