Reversible, Ruffled, Reusable Grocery Bags

Posted on: May 16th, 2011 by Sandra Powell 56 Comments

I always try to remember to take reusable grocery bags to the grocery store.

ruffled reusable reversible grocery bags

Because I like to do my part, however small, to take care of this lovely Earth!
Also, because my bags are cuter than the ones the Grocery store sells for $1.99 each.   (And I think that $1.89 of that cost is for printing their own name on the bag.)

Delia from Delia Creates is hosting a “Color my Summer” series and she invited me to participate by doing a  project.  Thank goodness for deadlines to get me out of my funk and get off the couch and create something!

If you haven’t visited Delia’s blog, I highly recommend it!  She is adorable and talented, she always shares unique ideas and she is an amazing photographer.  I love reading her posts, even if it’s project I never intend to attempt because her photographs mesmerize me!

I chose WHITE as my color because it is my favorite color.  I made these ruffled grocery bags out of an old white sheet (No stains just old and nubby) and 2 cute pillowcases (because I wanted a little POP of color in the liner).

Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 7

This is a really easy pattern that I made from looking at a canvas tote.  (It fits perfectly on a standard pillowcase)
*Seam allowance?  I run the fabric along the right side of the foot.  I think it’s a waste to take a wide allowance and then trim!
1.  Use the same pattern for the bag and the liner.  You could use the same fabric for both or mix it up for fun.
I like to use 2 different fabrics so I can flip it inside out and have a totally different bag!

ruffled reusable reversible grocery bags

2.  Sew all 4 pieces (excluding the bottom) together like this:  front/side/back/side making one long piece of fabric.
Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 9

3.  If you are going to add any kind of embellishment, now is the time.  I’m adding three rows of ruffles!

  1. To make my ruffles, I cut small slits in the fabric 1″ apart from each other.
  2. Then I ripped them the rest of the length!  If you’re not comfortable with the ripping technique, go ahead and cut 1″ strips.
  3. Either use a ruffling or gathering foot, or stitch using a large stitch and pull one string to gather up your fabric.ruffled reusable reversible grocery bags

4.  I used a mark b gone marker to mark my fabric on the RIGHT side where I wanted my ruffles. (It disappears in the wash which is another great thing about these bags.  You can throw them in the wash.  Just make sure you wash your fabric before you start the project if using NEW sheets or pillowcases.)

I put the first row 5″ from the top.  Then the next row 1″ down from there and so on.
Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 10

5.  Pin the ruffles on and sew right down each center line!

I didn’t do anything to the edges of the ripped ruffles.  It frays, but I like the raw edge.
Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 11

6.  Now pin the sides together inside out making sure your rows of ruffles meet up and sew that together.

Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 12

7.  Pin the bottom on to make sure it fits and make adjustments accordingly. You might have to pinch the corners but it’s just a grocery bag.  No one’s judging!

Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 13

8.  Now sew your liner the same way with or without the ruffles, depending on what you want to see when/if you reverse your reversible reusable grocery bag.  (I just wanted to say that again!)

9.  Pin the liner inside the bag so the WRONG sides are facing each other. (So you see the RIGHT side of the liner when you look in the bag.)

Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 15

10.  Cut a piece of either fabric about 48″ long and 4″ or 5″ wide.

  1. Iron it with the ends meeting in the middle.
  2. Fold it in half and iron again.
  3. Pin it onto the top of your bag with the fold at the top so the “band” covers both the inside and outside of your bag.
  4. When the ends meet, fold the top one under to make a hem so it overlap the bottom piece by about an inch.   (You might want to trim a little.)

11.  I sewed close to the bottom edge and then went back and put a second row of stitching about 1/4″ from the first one both to strengthen the seam and because I like the look of a double stitch.

Ruffled grocery bag tutorial 17

12.  I cut 2 handles about 20″ long and 3″ wide and sewed them closed at the side and one end.

13.  Then I turned them right side out, snipped off the closed end, ironed them with the seam in the middle and sewed another ruffle in the center of each one.

14.  Fold the ends under and pin in place.  I made sure my “band” ended where I was going to place my handle so that seam would be covered.

ruffled reusable reversible grocery bags

15.  Sew handles in place however you want. I sometimes do criss cross applesauce and a square around that.  This time I just did a double stitch at the top and bottom.

Now, I’ve learned from experience, that having a little tab to go over the metal hook-ey-ma-thingy at the grocery store is handy for holding the back of the floppy fabric bags up while you use one hand to hold the other end and another hand to load it up!

16.  Make a hanging tab.

  1. Cut a piece of fabric about 4″ long by 2″ wide.
  2. Fold and iron like you did for the top band (But fold your ends in first like I DIDN’T do in this picture).  It should end up being about 1/2″ wide.
  3. Sew it closed.
  4. Make a loop and sew it onto the front of bag.  I layed my tab down into the bag and sewed along the top because I didn’t want the tab sticking out when not being used.
All done!
Now you can turn it inside out when you want to mix it up.  Say, if you were wearing a white dress, you might not want white grocery bags too!
They’re not just for groceries either!  You could use them for picnics, the beach, a diaper bag, overnight bag…the possibilities are endless!  Like you needed me to point that out.

You can REDUCE your plastic bag use by RECYCLING an old sheet into a REUSABLE all purpose bag!   Now that’s what I call “Going Green”!
So I went Green and White…  get it?  Ha!

p.s.  Delia created the coolest Easy Knit Produce Bags out of old Tshirts that would be the perfect addition to your “GREEN” reusible grocery bags!

p.p.s.  Before you sew these bags, you might want to make a Magnetic Pin Holder to hold all your pins.  :-)

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56 thoughts on “Reversible, Ruffled, Reusable Grocery Bags

  1. Mandy says:

    You can also use sheets found super cheap at thrift stores!!!!
    A king sheet will go for about $3.50 at goodwill.

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