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Thread: market/grocery tote bag fabric

  1. #1
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    market/grocery tote bag fabric

    My town is going plastic-free. I hate the bags the grocery store sells. Going to make a bunch of my own. I know there are tons of patterns online but does anyone have one they made and Love and that will hold up to the groceries? Also, fabric suggestions? I have a bunch of old home decorator fabric. Think that will work ok? Thanks!
    Mary Ann
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 01-14-2018 at 02:30 PM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps

  2. #2
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    I think it would work fine if it's the thick stuff. I have lots of bags that I made from a bolt of denim and some that my friend made me from clearance cotton and they all wash up nicely and hold lots of groceries.

  3. #3
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    I would definitely use home dec fabric for those bags. For myself, I would also put some type of solid bottom in the bag and make the handles much shorter than traditional fabric grocery bags. If I fill those and try to carry by the handle they just about drag on the ground as well as just fold up around the groceries. I can't imagine they'd need much washing.

  4. #4
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    -I've made a number of them. I like canvas and think anything that weight would work.
    -Some are insulated for dairy, frozen, deli
    -For meat I use insulated. And I put the package into a flimsy plastic bag. But, a grocery bag could be lined with a removable heavier plastic so it can be cleaned
    -larger bag for fruit/veg

    Pre-portioned chips are packed in a heavy plastic bag, we use for vegetables

  5. #5
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    I have used this pattern for shopping bags and it is easy to scale up if needs be
    http://www.madeeveryday.com/2012/07/...ked-tote.html/

    The one I use for vegetable shopping at the local market I ice dyed an old piece of chair canvas and interlined it with an old waterproof lining. The last thing you want is anything that leaks spoiling the outer fabric. I would just make sure any fabrics you use can be washed. The bags will get dirty especially in the boot of a car.

    Hettyb

  6. #6
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I have made a few but I also spent the 99 cents each to buy the ones at the checkout counter. They have held up very well.
    Alyce

  7. #7
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Home dec fabric should work well. I've lined tote bags with denim from my husband's old denim jeans. It makes a really sturdy bag that holds up well.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  8. #8
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I made some from home decorator fabric and the bags are strong. Perfect fabric for totes!

  9. #9
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    I've used reusable bags for years. My sister cleaned out her fabric stash and gifted me some bright orange corduroy...really ugly so why not use them. I took the measurements from a paper bag for the basic bag and squared off the bottom leaving the triangle on and top stitched it to the bottom for more support. Before I sewed one together I placed a little cute square of fabric that matched bag fabric. After basic stitching done, I folded the bag like a paper bag and pressed the fold lines. I then sewed from the bottom up to the top of the bag pinching the fabric together along the four fold lines about 1/8 to 1/4 from the fold line. Four bags were made from the orange and found a tan denim to make four more. These get washed about once a month as I go to the grocery store about 3 times a month.

    I found a lightweight flesh colored sheer fabric to make produce bags out of. Again I copied the in store produce bag design using French seams. The tops of the bag were along the selvage so never even bothered to finish them. The color is opaque enough for the clerks able to see the SKU number through the bag. I wash these every time they are used.

    It's very important for all the bags to be washable...bacteria does grow on all surfaces.

    I can get more groceries in a bag than the flimsy plastic ones, too. Less trips from the car to the house...win win
    Last edited by oksewglad; 01-14-2018 at 06:59 PM.
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  10. #10
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    We have used the Market Bag tutorial by Sailrite on YouTube to make several. They are a great size and are very versatile. We even made our daughter and her friend library bags out of kid fabric using the same tutorial. We have bought home dec fabric on clearance at Joann for all of ours and they have held up,well.

  11. #11
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    A plastic canvas product (with small holes) comes in sheets and it’s what I plan to put in the bag bottom. I will tack it in the corners to hold it in place.

  12. #12
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    I would want to make sure the upholstery fabric is washable. Bags can get dirty and bacteria laden so you need to wash them on a regular basis. I have some of the fabric ones from the grocery store and some I made out of canvas. About once a month I throw them all in the washing machine with the regular laundry. If I ever think I got something easily contaminated on them (meat juices or broken egg for example), they go in the wash right away.

  13. #13
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    There were two problems I had with my own "handmade" bags: 1. they would not stand up and open for me or the cashier to put groceries in them. Kept flopping over. When I tried re-inforcing them to be more sturdy, the weight became a problem. and #2 the first ones I made the handles were too short: an easy fix by making the handles long enough to fit over the shoulder, made much easier to carry multiple bags. I basically solved both problems by just buying the heavier plastic type ones the grocery store sells, usually about 99 cents. They last a long time and if you put your meats in a regular plastic bag, they stay pretty clean.
    I would suggest making only one or two to try out before you make a stack of them, that way you can see if they will work for you and if you need to make any adjustments before you have spent a lot of time and effort in making a bunch them.
    Every grocery store has its own unique bagging system, some more "friendly" to the "green way" of bagging than others.

  14. #14
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    I purchased all mine from WalMart for less than $1. I have had most of them for years. They have held up so well that the cashiers always think I am just now purchasing them. The have the fruits and vegetables on the outside. WalMarts original blue ones did not hold up well; but the newer one are great and I would not cut out and sew a bag if I could purchase one for $1.
    Aurora

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  15. #15
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    How great that you're town is going plastic free! I wish it was never invented, same with styrofoam.

  16. #16
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    I use empty cat food bags. Open bottom and clean them, sew the bottom and box it, and add handles in a little hem around top. Really strong.

  17. #17
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    I have made a few out of dry dog & cat food bags, and dd has a horse, so those feed bags are good too..as mentioned above, a bit of sewing and there's a grocery bag!..I keep them in back of vehicles. Also keep a styrofoam cooler back there, pop in one of those freezer keepers....for ice cream, milk products, if I'm planning a list of errands on that day
    Last edited by Geri B; 01-15-2018 at 04:23 AM.

  18. #18
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    I'm going to make some new shopping bags from heavy muslin or canvas and the bags I get from buying bird seed. The bird seed bags are such a great heavy duty plastic with pretty scenery and colors. I've been saving them for about a year now. Should have more than enough for what I want to make.

  19. #19
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    I wish I had a pattern but I like the bags that fold into a small pocket. It is made of the poly used for light weight wind breakers. It has held up very well. A friend made one out of cotton and the pocket was heart shaped. It hasn't held up as well though. But no pattern sorry. Maybe do search.
    Lynda

  20. #20
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    i have chicken feed bags and dog food bags and kitty bag and i have made a lot of bags for me
    and my sister and my cousin. we take them to sams club twice a year and we are surprised how
    much stuff they hold and are very heavy duty. i just google making bags out of feed bags and
    follow that pattern they work great

  21. #21
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    I've used various patterns, but they all have a hard removable bottom. As mentioned above, nylon needlepoint canvas is good for this. I have made them with 2 layers of quilting fabric (outside & lining), or 1 layer of home dec lined with thin rip-stop nylon.

    I'm leery of the patterns that just catch the handles in the top stitching at the top of the bag. I always lap them over the front or inside & use an x box:
    https://sew4home.com/tips-resources/...re-straps-more

    I also prefer the patterns that are one piece so have no bottom seam. I'm always concerned that the stitching will rip out and my eggs will wind up on the pavement.
    If you want an inexpensive canvas option, get a drop cloth from lowes or home depot. They have 2 kinds, one has a plastic backing. I prefer the one without. Wash the canvas first. It's sturdy enough to support the weight of canned goods, but light weight enough that you can still sew it with your domestic machine.

    I think my favorites are the ones I sized from a purchased 99 cent version (wall mart, kroger etc.). Same dimensions & I added those little loops so the cashier can put it on the bag stand for easy loading.
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  22. #22
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    I made bags out of hunter green twill and embroidered a small design on each one. I made them larger enough to hold 2 gallons of milk and the handles are a good carrying length. They stand up in the carts and yet fold to stack in the car. Grocery clerks like seeing the designs and always remark favorably when we use them.

  23. #23
    pal
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    There's a really good tutorial on You Tube "Sewing to sell quick & cool grocery Bag" by Virginia Lindsay. We're making them out of corduroy for our Homemaker's ladies.

    I've also made them out of upholstery fabric.

    There is another pattern on You Tube where the bags and the straps are one piece - rather than make straps and attach them to the bag. Sounds like a good idea, too, but it uses more fabric. hmmmm........
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  24. #24
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    It is not so much the style of tote as it is the fabric used. I make dozens of totes and often use them as gift bags. I have made them from duck cloth, bottomweight fabrics, denims and PUL fabrics. I find the sturdiest ones are made from one long piece (instead of two pieces with a seam in bottom). I box the bottom corners and I use a piece of plastic needlepoint canvas covered with fabric as a removable insert in the bottom. This gives extra strength to the bottom but is easily removed for laundering. Most of the grocery totes are not lined. I do line the ones I give as gifts or to my kids for school with fun cotton fabrics. (For the school ones, I add a foam lined laptop pocket, a bit of a flap at the top and an adjustable strap. Looks a bit more like a skinny messenger bag.)

  25. #25
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    I use this in all my purses and put feet on the bottoms. I punch a small hole for each of the foot prongs and up through the plastic canvas and it holds it in well. I wash my purses and they come out fine. I also make a bottom of a stiff cardboard or simular product and cover it with the same material as the purse to put on the bottom. When I wash them I pull the bottom piece out.

    As for standing up while being filled, I think boning would work. Just make slots for several, open at the top so they can be taken out for washing!

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