How to sew a folding grocery bag pattern

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Hi Creative Mamas! Welcome to this post in which I will share yet another way to make a tote bag. This time I want to show you how to sew a folding grocery bag pattern.

This foldable bag pattern was designed to create a grocery shopping bag but it can also be used as a knitting, crochet or sewing bag. I love it and I keep it in the car ready to be used anytime I go grocery shopping.

The best thing about this tutorial is that this bag is all made by using fabric scraps from previous projects and from my natural dyeing experiments using natural dyes.

DIY folding grocery bag pattern

I loved making this reusable foldable grocery bag but I also have two other ways to make beautiful tote bags. Check out the tutorials on how to transform old jeans into a tote bag and how to make a reversible tote bag. These are great articles and they come with easy to follow instructions as well as FREE Patterns :).

In this tutorial I will show you how to make a grocery bag which is easy to fold away and totally reusable.

I have designed an easy pattern which makes a sturdy and solid grocery shopping bag with pockets. So, lets get started!

Foldable grocery bag pattern Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. Please see my disclosure for more details.

folding grocery bag filled with the daily groceries

Here is my gorgeous super useful foldable grocery bag after my Wednesday evening shop. As you can see it’s pretty full 🙂

the grocery bag is folded and ready to be stored

And here it is all folded up ready to go back in the car or inside my handbag.

Materials and equipment

Download the Folding Grocery Bag Pattern!

Step 1: Folding grocery bag pattern

Gather all your materials and print out the pattern instructions. Create the pattern in craft paper (‘its much easier than measuring straight onto the fabric).

Cut the grocery bag pieces. You will cut the outside of the bag, the lining, the handles and the pocket.

fabric cut ready to be sewn and turned into a tote bag which is foldable

For this reusable grocery bag I am using black canvas, 100% viscose for the lining and tie dyed cotton for the handles and for the pocket.

fabric cut ready to be sewn and turned into a tote bag which is foldable and has  a pocket made out of cotton tie dyed

Step 2: Making the grocery bag pocket

I wanted to embellish the pocket to add some creative flair to the bag. This tote bag will be fully lined which means that you can also add an inside pocket.

If you wish to add an inside pocket simply repeat the same process as the outside pocket and then attach it to the lining.

For now let me show you how I decorated the outside pocket.

Cut 2 pockets (one will be the pocket lining). I am using the pink tie dyed cotton fabric for both the outside and the lining of my pocket.

sewing an outside bag pocket tutorial

Using a little scrap of fabric, line it up on the same grain as the pocket. Position it in the middle, right sides touching.

sewing an outside bag pocket tutorial

Sew a straight line on one of the sides as shown in the photo below. Cut the excess fabric.

sewing an outside bag pocket tutorial

Turn the pocket to the right side and press it. Now the pocket will have 2 different fabrics.

ironing and sewing an outside bag pocket tutorial

Step 3: Sewing Pocket Applique

Using little fabric scraps (I am using hand dyed old blanket and scraps of silk), draw flower petals using a pencil or a transfer pen.

making applique

Cut around the petals and pin them to the pocket base.

sewing an applique flower in the outside pocket of a tote bag

Sew around the applique flower using a regular stitch in a contrasting thread.

sewing an applique flower in the outside pocket of a tote bag

Play around with the applique placement, it can be centered in the middle of the pocket or placed to one side.

sewing an applique flower in the outside pocket of a tote bag

Make sure you sew the petals in layers by placing each applique piece over the previous and sewing around as you go.

sewing an applique flower in the outside pocket of a tote bag

Once the pocket applique is completed you need to sew the lining to it.

sewing the outside pocket to the lining

Place the 2 pocket pieces right sides touching and pin in place.

sewing the outside pocket to the lining

Sew a line around the pocket buy make sure that you leave an opening on one side. You will need this opening to turn the pocket inside out.

Trim the pocket’s corners.

sewing the outside pocket to the lining

Turn the pocket inside out 🙂

sewing the outside pocket to the lining, folding it inside out.

Press it with a hot steamy iron.

pressing the applique pocket

Pin it onto the front of the grocery bag

sewing the applique pocket to the grocery foldable bag

Sew around the sides and the bottom edges. The pocket will get closed in this step as you sew around it.

You may want to use a slight wider stitch for this step.

sewing the applique pocket to the grocery foldable bag

This is how the reusable grocery bag should look at this stage.

sewing the applique pocket to the grocery foldable bag

Step 4: Sewing the foldable grocery bag

Fold the outside of the tote bag as well as the lining (right sides touching) and pin.

sewing the folding grocery bag pattern tutorial 1

Sew the sides using a regular stitch.

sewing the folding grocery bag pattern tutorial 2

Step 5: Tote bag with flat bottom

Press the side seams flat. Fold the bag so that the side seam is centered and measure 2 inches on each side of the seam.

making the bag's flat bottom

Draw a a line using your tailors chalk or pencil. Sew over the line.

making the bag's flat bottom for the grocery bag

This is how the flat bottom tote bag should look at this stage.

the outside of the folding grocery bag

Repeat this process to make the flat bottom lining.

And this is how both outside and lining tote bags should look like.

the outside and the lining of the folding grocery bag

Step 6: Sewing the grocery bag handles

Cut the handles using the pattern instructions. Make sure that both handle pieces are exactly the same size.

making the bag's straps

Fold the straps in half and press.

making and pressing the bag's straps

Fold them in half again and press once more.

making the bag's straps

You will end up with no raw edges showing.

making the bag's straps

This is how your tote bag handles should look like at this stage.

grocery bag handles

Sew along the edge to close the straps.

sewing the grocery bag's handles

You now have all the pieces ready to be sewn together and create this amazing lined tote bag.

making and sewing the folding grocery bag pattern

Step 7: Sewing the lined foldable grocery bag

Place the handles 3 inches away from the side seams. Pin in place and make sure that both sides of the bag handles are evenly pined before sewing them.

sewing the straps to the bag

Sew them with a 1/8 inch seam allowance to secure them in place before sewing the lining to it.

sewing the straps to the bag

Place the ling inside the bag right sides touching. Make sure than the handles are sandwiched in between the two layers of the tote bag.

attaching the lining to the bag

Sew around the edge leaving a 5 inch opening to turn the bag inside out.

Turn the bag inside out.

turning the grocery bag inside out

Top stitch around edge. You will be closing the bag in this step as well.

top stitching the outside of the folding grocery bag

And voila! The lined tote bag is completed 🙂

finished folding grocery bag

Save this tutorial to your favorite Pinterest Board

folding grocery bag filled with the daily groceries

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