Easiest Grocery Totes

I’ve been looking for ways to use some of my old ice dyed fabric, but these easiest grocery totes can also be made out of recycled jeans or other fabrics.


All you need is the following:

  • Outside fabric – 18 x 36 inches, or if you want to use two fabrics as I did in the demo bag, cut fabric 18 x 24.5 inches and the accent fabric 18 x 6.25 inches.
  • Lining fabric – 18 x 36 inches
  • Two yards of 1.5 inch webbing cut into two 30-inch strips
  • Thread and sewing machine
  • Marking pen and ruler
  • Iron


Let’s get started. With the outside fabric face down, fold down the top edge (the 18-inch side) 1/2 inch and iron.


Then fold down again 1.5 inches and iron.


Add the lining by tucking it right side up under the top edge you just folded.


Find the center of the top of the fabric and make a mark. This should be at the 9-inch  mark on your ruler.


Using a six-inch ruler (or measuring three inches on either side of the mark), slip ends of one strap under the folded edge. Clip to hold in place.


Fold the strap up and clip.


Clip the whole top of the turned over fabric area.


Add pins before you take it to the sewing machine.


Sew 1/4 inch from the bottom of the flap and then 1/4 inch from the top of the flap, securing the strapping. Do this on both ends of this fabric.

Once they are sewn, fold the fabric in half to make a tote with the outside fabric showing. Clip or pin both sides and sew a 1/4 inch. Yes, you are sewing on the outside of the bag.


Now for the magic – French Seams! Turn the bag inside out and pin or clip, and sew 5/8 inch down each side again. This will make those stitches on the front side disappear!



Turn the bag inside out. You can quit right here if you want. You will have a nice bag.

However if you want a boxed bottom,  box the corners starting again on the outside of the bag. Draw a line on each corner that is 2.5 inches long.


Sew on that line and then cut the corners.


Now turn the bag inside out, and again box the corners, but this time you will be drawing a line at 4 inches. This will cover up those stitches on the front of the bag.


Turn the bag inside out and you are done!! You have a fully lined tote, great for grocery shopping, or any time you need a sturdy bag.


If you like to learn by video, here is a great video on this technique.


Remember, you don’t need to make it with two different fabrics on the outside. I did not have enough fabric for my second tote, and couldn’t find any fabric I wanted to pair with it. I did use a little bit of some off white linen curtain fabric, but I could have just done without that. Have fun! They are so easy to make. They would be great to make to put presents in instead of wrapping paper. Darn, I should have posted this earlier!!

To get in the holiday spirit, I baked some biscotti last week to give away to friends. I used to bake this every year starting 20 years ago. However, for the past several years I’ve not made it, and I could tell I was rusty.


Hope you are happy and healthy this holiday season. It won’t be long, and it will be history and we’ll be in new year!