Tuesday I shared some of my recent bags made from thrift store fabric. Today I am going to share with you how I make them.
Save money and build your reusable bag supply by using fabrics you find at thrift stores, yard sales, or even upcycle some fabrics you have on hand.
I like to also hit up sale day at my much loved fabric store and make some in my favorite prints.I prefer cotton and cotton poly blend fabrics for my bags, I just toss them in with my regular clothes to wash and dry, and I find it is the easiest to sew.
I mostly make large tote sized ones, with over the shoulder straps, roughly 21×23 inches
Today’s tutorial is for that size, but you can easily adjust the sizing to fit your fabric piece and bag needs.
A basic rule I follow with bags 18 inches or wider is this simple math for the handles. Bag width divided by 3 plus 19 inches. Example: A 21 inch wide bag would be 21 divided by 3= 7 plus 19=26 inch long handles.
For a 15 to 18 inch wide bag I do width divided by 3 plus 16.
I do small gift size bags as well, perfect as “stockings” for Christmas, Easter, etc. (even Halloween in this house.) I will share those in the future.
First step is to cut 2 pieces for the outer bag and 2 for the inside. You can use the same pattern inside and out or solid on the inside. (Here I used the same fabric on the outside as the lining) I like to take my fabric, fold it in half, press the fold with an iron, then cut up the fold to get my two pieces.1

Next you need to cut fabric for the handles. They need to be 6 inches wide and remember the math: bag width divided by 3 plus 19 for length.
Using an iron fold your handle piece in half and press. (right sides facing out)
Unfold and now fold the outer edges into the middle and press.
Once again fold it in half, press and pin.
It should be roughly 1.5 inches wide.
Sew down both edges twice, creating side by side stitch lines. Make 2 handles.


Now you want to pin the handles to the bag.
Lay your inner fabric right side facing up and outer fabric on top of it, right side facing down.
Measure in from both sides 7 inches and pin your handles, with an inch overlay at the top and with the handle’s left edge on the 7 inch mark. Do this for both sides and both sets of fabric. (If your bag isn’t 21 inches wide (roughly), divide the width by 3 and place handles in by that measurement)
You Should have a “sandwhich” the strap in between two pieces of fabric-right sides facing eachother.
Sew across both sets of this twice to secure handles on, I like to go back and forth over the handle areas to create strength.

Now open your pieces up and pin them together with right sides facing each other. Make sure the handles are tucked inside far away from the edges you are pinning and will be sewing.
Sew around twice, but you want to leave an unsewn gap at the bottom of the liner to flip your bag inside right.11
I create boxed corners before flipping my bag, but don’t know the best way to explain how it’s done. There are many you tube videos on it, surely it’s were I once learned too. Don’t get too frazzled if you can’t figure it out, the bag will work fine without them.
Flip the bag inside right. Hand or machine sew shut the opening in the liner, push it inside and enjoy shopping with your new reusable bag.12

This bag was made from our den curtain which was made from a larger curtain panel I acquired at a thrift store quite a few years back. This year I found a flat flannel sheet in a woodland print and made a new curtain for the den with 2 matching pillow cases.














  1. Lisa says:

    This is so cute, you explained it well. I need to get into my fabric collection and do it. Great summer project🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for popping in and the feed back. I never know if I’m confusing people more then helping lol


  2. rawsonjl says:

    So cute! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the Summer Time Fun linky. Pinned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by


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