Easy compact re-usable shopping bag

Two handkerchiefs and some acrylic tape.

This project is easy and it requires only three items, four if you count thread.

In Japan you can get these little compact shopping bags for your purse. Why would you want this you ask? Many places in Japan charge for plastic bags and stores in the states are also starting to do the same thing, so to save a little money and be green these are a great idea.

Lining it up

The first step is to line up the two handkerchiefs wrong side out.

You can also use two square pieces of cloth that are exactly the same size.

What is important about this project are the creases on the fabric. The fabric is a square and has sixteen squares made by creases. If you use another fabric that is not creased this way, fold the piece of fabric in half, then fold that in half, then fold that in half, and then fold that in half one more time to get a tiny square. When you have this square iron the heck out of it to make those creases.

Ok back to the handkerchiefs. Pin the handkerchiefs together. My handkerchiefs weren’t exactly exactly the same size, but they were close enough. Then pick a side to be the bottom. Now once you have picked that side sew along the edge but for only the length of the two middle squares. Do not sew along the edge for the two outside squares.

Then once that is done, it is time to sew up the sides. Remember those squares you didn’t sew on the bottom? You’re not going to sew those this time either. Start from the top and sew for the length of three squares.

After sewing the bottom and sides this is the open area in the corner you are left with.

Your bag should look like this so far in each bottom corner.

Next is the part that makes it into a bag!

folding that corner

Turn your attention to the corners of the bag. Bring the end of the sewn area on the bottom to meet the end of the sewn area on the side. It should look like this. Repeat for the other side.

Creating the bottom

Next you’re going to take those tails you made or those triangles sticking out and fold them back onto the bottom seam. Pin it in place. Do this for both of the triangles. One triangle will be pinned on one side and the other on the other side. Repeat this step for the other corner of the bag. Once both sides are pinned down, just sew along the bottom sewing the triangles down.

The bottom, but it's not quite finished

You can now turn the bag right side out. This is what it looks like on the bottom now, but it’s not quite finished. We want to sew that little flap shut.

Finishing up the bottom

Flatten the bag out as much as possible. That little flap you created you want to sew shut. Lay it out on your sewing machine and sew right where you see the line. Repeat for the other side.

Sewing on the handles

The body of the bag is now done and it’s time to sew on handles. Using that acrylic tape you have cut two pieces about a foot long. Pin them in the middle of the middle two squares on each side. Remember that the outer most two squares on each side make up your side. Sew those straps down.

Acrylic tape can fray at the end so once you cut it you can singe it a little with a match to keep it from fraying, but don’t burn your house down please.

Once the handles are sewn on, just snip off any dangling strings and your bag is complete.

Finished bag with stuff in it

Here is the finished bag and down below is the bag all folded up and ready to stow in your purse.

Finished bag all folded up and compact

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About Ashe

I always said my dream job would be to get paid for sitting in a corner and drawing all day long. Now, I have to ammend that idea of my dream job. I think I would like to sit in a corner and be able to get paid for drawing and writing.
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One Response to Easy compact re-usable shopping bag

  1. Pingback: Reversible T-Shirt Tote | thecreativecloset

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