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How to make the most versatile Eco bag out there, perfect for gift bags or grocery bags

Sewing Patterns

Make the most functional multi-use bag. For this post, I made a variety of sizes of reusable gift bags, but this same pattern can be used to create bags for grocery shopping, travel, or general storage. Choose the fabric and the size to match your use, and let's get sewing!

Day 9 of the #12DaysofGiftMaking and I've got for the most versatile eco sewing pattern for you. This pattern is the ultimate multi-purpose bag. It can be used for Gift bags, which is what I have made for this blog post. It can also be used to make produce bags, dry goods bags, laundry bags for your delicates, duster bags to pack shoes in your suitcase, lunch bags, or probably an infinite number of other things.

You can download the Bag pattern HERE.

Recommended Fabrics:

You can use almost any type of fabric for these, and the type of fabric will depend on your use.

  • For Gift Bags - Any scraps of your favourite fabrics can be turned into gift bags. Most of the fabrics I used for the gift bags in this post are scrap fabrics I have been saving. My favourite Stitch n' Print Fabrics to use for this purpose are SNP1001 - Gaberdine, SNP1002 - Satin Lining, and SNP1008 - Satin

Other Supplies:

  • String, cord or ribbon
  • Safety pin

For instructions on how to print and assemble your sewing pattern, see this blog article.

Let's get sewing!

Step 1: Cutting

Before you cut anything, decide on the size of your bag and how you are going to finish your seams. With reusable bags such as these, you want to make sure you are finishing the seams so you can use them many times over without them falling apart. You can use any of the sizes I have included in the pattern, of use the equation below to figure out your own size.

For the bag patterns I have included, the seam allowances are 1/4". You may want to increase this depending on how you plan to finish your seams.

If you are using scraps and can't fit your bag on fold, you can add a seam, but don't forget to add 1/2" - 1" for a seam allowance.

To Calculate a Custom bag Size

Width = Width of desired bag + (Seam allowance x 2)

Length = Length of desired bag + (Seam allowance x 2) + 1/2" for Casing

Different ways you can finish your seams: 

  • Pink the edges with pinking shears (good for lightweight wovens)
  • Serge the edges with a serger (if you have one)
  • Use a zigzag stitch on the edge of your fabric. Use a shorter stitch if the fabric frays more
  • Bind your edges with bias tape
  • French seams for lightweight fabrics

Step 2: Sew your Casing

If you didn't cut on fold, sew one side of your bag together down the long edge, using 1/4" seam allowance (or the seam allowance you cut)

Snip in 1/4" at your notches. Fold in from the notch to the top edge of your fabric, stitch 1/8" away from the edge of your seam allowance. You need to stitch this so that you can get your safety pin and string out of the casing when you feed it through. Repeat on the other side.

Either finish your top edge with one of the seam finishings above, or fold your edge down 1/4" and press. Then fold 1/2" down to create your casing.

Step 3: Sew around Bag

Put right sides of your bag together. Using 1/4" Seam allowance, sew from your clipped notch or the bottom of your casing down the side  and across the bottom of your bag. Finish your seams.

Step 4: Feed your string through the casing

Using a safety pin, attach it to one end of your string or ribbon. If your string or cording frays/unwinds at all, put a knot in the end or burn the ends, then put your safety pin through the knot or just passed the knot. Feed your string through your casing. Tie the ends together on the other side and burn the end of your knot with a lighter.

Congrats! You've now finished your bag! (pretty easy right)

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