grocery tote bagsWelcome to “Sewing Cloth Grocery Bags,” a series of posts by Teresa Peschel that goes into detail about how to mass-produce cloth replacements for petroleum-derived and easily trashed plastic bags. Instead of sending bags off to the landfill, get rid of them completely. After a few hours at the sewing machine and ironing board, you’ll have beautiful, long-lasting, and easily repairable substitutes that will make you the envy at Whole Foods or Wegmans.

This list is sorted in the order they were published, with the oldest one at the top.

If you want to read more about Teresa’s sewing projects, read the NotQuilt series over at Planetpeschel.

  • Cloth Grocery Bags: Introduction We all use grocery bags. We buy our groceries, get them bagged, take them home and then, well, what do we do with those one-use bags? Paper grocery bags can be ...
  • Choosing Grocery Bag Fabric What kind of fabric should you use to make cloth grocery bags? The easy answer is the cheap kind, but this is not completely accurate. The weight and sewability of ...
  • Finding New and Used Fabric Where do you get the fabric? You start at any fabric store. Joann’s is a national chain, they run good sales, they have a clearance rack, and they provide discount ...
  • Laying Out Totebag Panels and Gusset Now that we’ve chosen our fabric, let’s turn to the sizing of the totebag panels and gusset. I’ve found that the most effective grocery bags have panels that are taller than ...
  • Washing fabric Should you wash the fabric you are going to use to make cloth grocery bags? As always, it seems, the answer is “it depends.” If the fabric is new, unstained, odor-free, ...
  • How to make cloth grocery bags Today we learn how to make cloth grocery bags. I developed this list because I demand a lot from them: * They should last forever. * They should stand, at least a ...
  • Sewing tools for cloth grocery bags Here are a few tools I recommend that will make sewing cloth grocery bags easier. (We should have pictures of the gadgets) A sewing machine, needles, pins, thread. You can sew ...
  • Decorating Cloth Bags with Trim My grocery bag technique always uses a line of trim. This is not just because decorating cloth bags look nice. 1 The trim line fulfills several functions. Firstly, it covers up the ...
  • Making Cloth Grocery Bag Handles In my continuing attempts to streamline my sewing procedures for cloth grocery bags, I decided a long time ago to stop using the fashion fabric to make the straps. Fabric ...
  • Making Scrap Fabric Grocery Bags: The Frankenstein Option (This post is a draft from the upcoming book “Sewing Cloth Grocery Bags.” A complete list of the posts can be found here.) Frankenstein bags are what I call the ...
  • Tips for Making Faster Grocery Bags If you want to make faster grocery bags, you’ll have to understand that you don’t have to perform every task. There are many points in the production process where no ...
  • Home Production Sewing: An Introduction I taught myself how to sew grocery bags in quantity. I know there are plenty of things that I have missed or don’t understand. There isn’t much information out there ...
  • Tailored Cloth Grocery Bags: First Pass Your cloth has been purchased. You’ve washed it (if needed), unpicked any seams (if it is repurposed fabric), and you have ironed it. You measured the fabric, then worked out ...
  • Sewing Cloth Grocery Bags: The Second pass At this point, you should have several grocery bags ready for the second pass. In this step, you will iron a crisp knife-edge on each of the six seams. Then ...
  • Sewing Flanges on Cloth Grocery Bags This is the step whereby the flange is turned into a skeleton, supporting the tailored cloth grocery bag. This step reinforces the six edges and four corners of the bags: ...
  • Adding the Cloth Grocery Bags Trim In this step, you will prepare the fold-down top, iron the bag, sew down the fold-down top, and then trim it out. At the ironing board, fold down the top edge ...
  • Making Bag Straps for Cloth Grocery Bags Set the pile of partially finished cloth grocery bags aside. Now it’s time for making bag straps. If you are going to make cloth straps rather than use purchased webbing, now ...
  • Sewing bag straps (Cloth Grocery Bag book) Now we’re sewing bag straps. The first step is to pin the straps to the bags. You will need the stack of bags, your collection of straps, pins, and your ...
  • Sewing down straps on the cloth grocery bags This is the last step. You will be sewing down straps, first the front panel and then the back panel, finishing each bag in turn. I sew each strap down as ...
  • Buying Cloth Grocery Bag Material Cloth grocery bags have two costs. The first is your time so you want to be as efficient as possible in making them. The second is the fabric. When buying cloth ...
  • Tote Bag Case Study: Laying Out a Brown Floral and Paisley Cloth Tote Bag Case Study: Laying Out a Brown Floral and Paisley Cloth
  • Cutting Tote Bag Fabric Good panel and gusset layout is critical for getting the most bags from the least amount of yardage. You start by choosing your size panels as they determine how much fabric ...
  • Sizing and Cutting Large Pieces of Fabric. If you have a large piece of heavy fabric hiding in the stash, you can turn it into grocery bags. The length and width will determine how many bags you ...
  • A New Way to Sew Cloth Grocery Bags We’re nearing the end of the book. This time, we’re going back to the beginning, to explain how Teresa learned to sew cloth grocery bags and the two styles she’ll ...
  • Production Sewing of Cloth Grocery Bags I taught myself how to sew grocery bags in quantity. I know there are plenty of things that I have missed or don’t understand. There isn’t much information out there ...