Tutorial: How to sew a lined reusable grocery bag

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

I have been a diligent reusable bag user for years, but a recent move closer to the East Coast has made me even more serious about it. In an unexpected cultural shift we found store out here did not use paper bags, and since cheap plastic bags can’t actually hold the weight of anything they were packed with 1-3 items a piece. I’m not exagerrating.

The first full trip to a grocery store yielded dozens of plastics bags- it was the stuff of reusable bag nightmares. So I started adding more bags to my stack to make sure I had them in the car for all of my unplanned (and planned) trips into stores.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

This style of bag is even quicker to whip up if you decide not to line it. I like to have a few vinyl lined bags in my aresonal for frozen items. It keeps the wet contained.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

Ready to get started?

If you would like to add the outside pocket to your bag you can find the tutorial on creating a shirred pocket here. Hop over make your pocket and swing back!

What you will need

2 rectangles for the outside bag. Adjusting these will change the size of your bag. I made mine 16″ x 18″

2 matching rectangles out of your lining fabric. I chose a very light vinyl that I picked up at my local Jo-Ann. Remember this material melts so don’t apply heat to it.

72″ of strapping for your handles alternativelyy you could create tubes with your fabric)

Tutorial for Grocery Bag

Optional- add your pocket to one of your rectangles before you begin.

I sewed all of my seams at 1/4″.

Create two separate bags. One with your outer fabric, one with your vinyl (lining). Your going to use the envelope bottom tutorial to create your bag structure. Find the step by step tutorial on the envelope bottom here.  Your two bags will look like this.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

Now we’re going to join the two bags. Put the bags right sides together.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

Worth noting at this point if you are using a transparent vinyl this seam will be visible. So you may want to finish the edge of your outer bag.

Sew around the top of the bag leaving a 2-3″ opening for turning.

Turn the bag. Your going to just work them slowly out, it will look like this when your finished.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

Push your lining back inside of the bag and push the shape back in to them. Important note if your using a vinyl fabric DON’T IRON IT. It will melt.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

Once you have your lining pushed inside you want to turn in the unfinished edges of your opening. Now stitch around the top of your bag. This will both close your opening and keep your lining from rolling to the front.

Time to attach your handles! You want to cut two straps aproximatly 36″ inches a piece.

I attached my straps about 3 inches from the side seam. Put your strap about 1 1/2″ down on the lining of your bag. You want to make this connection super strong. First I sew a box and then an X through it. Backstitch liberally.

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

You’re ready to fill up your bag!

Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial Fully Lined Grocery Bag Tutorial

Happy Sewing,




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