Monday, 28 October 2013

Make your own shopping bag.

I do read all your comments and your emails, and I try and answer all your questions. If I forget please give me a nudge, because I can be absent minded sometimes. My brain is all over the place and I read something and think I will deal with that later, then I forget, and it comes back to me weeks later. Anyway, Lane asked about a pattern for making a shopping bag.
There are many different ways of making them. The blue bag in the picture, Love Free Stuff, has a gusset in it, making it like a box. There is an easier way to make one. First off you can use a plastic Bag For Life carrier bag as a pattern, which you can buy for 10p at the supermarkets. Just copy it, cut two pieces of fabric, back and front, and two handles. A bit like this. I have put some measurements in, but you can make it as big or as small as you like.  
Notes. If you are using fabric which frays, sew the two sides together the right way round first, then turn it inside out and sew round the seams again, trapping the edges inside. If you want a neat job when attaching the handles you can tuck the ends inside the top hem before you sew around it twice. Thicker fabric is best, but not too thick or your needle will struggle to go through where there are several layers. If you use lightweight fabric your bag will be a bit floppy but you will be able to fold it up into a small bundle and put it in your handbag.
Now I have a giveaway. I have cut two pieces of fabric and two handles for someone who wants to have a go at making their first bag. The edges don't fray so you will only need to sew the two pieces together once, right sides in. If anyone wants to win it, leave a comment. I will post it out to anywhere in the world. Closing date is Wednesday 3pm,. A name will be drawn out of a receptacle which I have handy at the time. This time you won't get a ready made bag, you have got to make it yourself. I'm not doing everything for you, ha ha. If you haven't got a sewing machine you could sew it by hand, but it will take you longer. Toodle pip.  


  1. Hi Ilona! I'd love the to win the bag to be!

  2. Ps I forgot to say that I've only recently just come to your blog and indeed frugality! I've spent a bit of time, as I'm on holiday this week, reading your archives and I've thoroughly enjoyed following your life and adventures. You're inspiration! Xxx

  3. I have plenty of shopping bags, so don't include me. I just wanted to say I just discovered your blog and have read many back posts over the weekend. You are truly inspiring! I just retired and have no income for a year, when a small pension begins. I am enjoying creatively stretching my pennies and find great encouragement in your blog. Thanks for writing!

  4. Ok, I have a machine so I'm in! Clever lass you are.

  5. Oooh i would really love to have a chance to make a bag - its on my to do list so maybe if the bits are already cut for me i will do it sooner rather than later lol!

  6. I love reading your blog and check in most days.
    I would love the chance to win your bag pieces as I have just acquired a sewing machine and would love a project to try it out.
    Keep up the good work, you truly are an inspiration.
    Helen x

  7. This is brilliant Ilona, it takes time to do tutorials so it is appreciated. I'm sure lots of people will like this seeing that carrier bags are going to be phased out.

  8. I would love to get the fabric to make the bag. I use a variety of cloth bags all the time when I shop - grocery and otherwise. I have a supply in my house and some in my car so they are handy whenever I want them.

    Myra, from Canada, where we are getting nippy temps of around -6 to +2C these days.

  9. Such a nice treat for us Ilona, thank you.
    I would love to be included in your giveaway,
    I hope everyone is OK after the storm.
    Your blog is a highlight of my day, much enjoyed and always something of interest and to be learned.
    Pam in TX.

  10. I too enjoy your blog. I read about you and what you are up to everyday. I would love to win the bag. It would teach me how to make one so that I could make some for Christmas presents. I am already thinking of logo's to put on them. I would like to put meaningful ones on so that each have special meaning to each person that receive them. It would have to have some importance though. Something to make people think and wake up when ever they read it. Something simple but a statement all the same.
    That little bag would have to travel far across the pond as I live in Canada.
    Debbie in Canada

  11. Don't put my name in the hat for the drawing. I just have a question. Sewing it twice, as you do for the fraying fabric, would it make the bag stronger?

    1. Hi Lily. It would make the seams a bit stronger, but if you put a ton of bricks in it the handles would probably tear away from the bag. It isn't really necessary to sew it twice, it just makes a neater job.

  12. Good Morning Ilona.From Housefairy in Hampshire.
    My new sewing machine arrived yesterday! I hummed and thought hard as to whether such a buy was worth my while. My old Singer was 40 years old. Bought for me by my dad when I was about 13.

    Well, I looked online and picked the one I liked best. Then thought No, no it is too much @ £229.00.
    One day I saw it @ £179.99 and the shop was having a 15% off everything week end.

    I decided to jump in with both feet and go through old faithful Quido cashback site.

    With all the discounts I have paid £150.65 for a Brother FS-40 computerised sewing machine with extension table.

    I now need to practice. Please count me in for the bag prize draw.

    I will be setting up the machine today and looking for simple crafts to sew.

    Happy Halloween :0)

  13. Thank you for the tutorial :) It has been saved until such time as I have my crafting room set up and my sewing machine out of the cupboard! (hopefully before Christmas).
    Thanks again, Floss x

  14. Entries are now closed. The winner will be announced later.

  15. If more people made their own shopping bags, i wonder if they would be more inclined to use them for their shopping rather than getting plastic carrier bags.
    It came to mind the other night, i delivered 'consumables' to 8 stores,4 of which were asda's, who had a large pallet of carriers each. I dont do the job all the time so i dont know how long they would last, not long probably, but a fair amount would be binned rather than recycled.


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