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Have You Ever Made a Reusable Shopping Bag?

A craze these days is for using reusable shopping bags. In fact, there are many stores that either don’t offer plastic or paper bags or charge extra for the bags that used to be part of the service when people were shopping. People can purchase reusable shopping or grocery bags and they are normally reasonably priced, often around $2 to $4 each. However, have you ever considered making your own? Have you ever tried it?

It really isn’t difficult to make reusable bags and it isn’t necessary for a person to be a seamstress in order to do it. After all, you are after functionality. You aren’t trying to make something that is going to be entered into some kind of a contest.

There are many different ways that a person can make reusable shopping bags, with some requiring more effort than others. A sewing machine can often make the sewing faster and easier, but even that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Here is just one very simple idea; using an undershirt or tank top. This could be one that you seldom wear anymore or one that has been picked up very cheap at yard sales and thrift stores. In fact, our clothing bank here routinely throws away more clothing than they give away because it might be stained or whatever. A lot of that clothing is undershirts and the clothing is otherwise in great shape, so these would be free if a person wanted them. Stains don’t matter, considering what the shirt is going to be used for and the fact that it can be expected to wear out.

In fact, the shirt can be sleeveless or have sleeves. After all, it isn’t difficult to remove the sleeves. The point is that the material between the neck hole and the armholes make dandy carrying straps and they are normally reinforced. These don’t need to be added later on, which would require additional sewing.

This is one of the simplest bags to make, for that reason. All you have to do is sew the bottom hem together, preferably twice or three times to increase the strength of the seam. If you want a bag that isn’t quite as deep, you can cut off the bottom of the shirt prior to sewing it together. If you want a smaller bag, just use a smaller undershirt.

Around here, most undershirts are made of cotton or a cotton blend, so they are fairly durable but flexible. In any event, they are so easy to make that it doesn’t matter if they wear out. The cost to make them can be next to nothing and if you want something that is fancier, you can use shirts that have a picture or pattern on them.

I’m not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, yet I can make one of these bags and it doesn’t take much time. If a person wanted to go to the additional effort, material or mesh could be sewn to the hem of the shirt, to make the bags flat-bottomed. It all depends on what you want. Still, these bags are useful for more than just shopping for groceries. We even use them as catch-alls at home since they can easily be hung up.

I may not be an expert with a needle and thread, but I do love saving money. Homemade reusable shopping bags are one way to do that.

  • Question of

    Do you use reusable shopping bags?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Sometimes
  • Question of

    Have you ever made your own reusable shopping bag?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I’ve never even thought of it


What do you think?

11 Points

Written by Rex Trulove


  1. Yes, we have been making reusable bags with old t-shirts. I don’t only use them for shopping, but also storing things at home. I think it’s a good way to keep things from dust too.

    • I like it because it is simple, easy to make, and has built-in handles. I have two tank tops ready to be converted if I ever get around to it. They are both too short for me to wear. I think they were made for men who were less than six feet tall and I’m 6’3″.