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Rip Stop Grocery Bags: Weekend Wonders Returns with Fabric.com

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I want my grocery bags to work as hard as I do. That means I should be able throw whatever I need into them without worrying. When we decided to do a grocery bag project for the Weekend Wonders Returns series with Fabric.com, we not only wanted a great quick and easy design, we also wanted something different than we'd done before. How could we could improve an existing design or put a new spin on a classic style? We loved the idea of having the bags stow away in a tiny pouch so you could toss them into a regular tote or keep them in the glove box of your car, and always have bags at the ready when you're out. In order for something to fold away that small, you need a lightweight fabric. But lightweight can also translate into not-very-durable. What was the toughest, thinnest material we could think of? Rip stop nylon! With their incredible variety of substrates, of course Fabric.com carries rip stop nylon in lots of fun colors - there's even two camo options! We came up with a pretty design using our signature monogram to give you a mix-and-match pair that folds down into a 5" x 7" drawstring pouch. Pull them out and they're tough enough to take on the biggest weekend chores.

Our thanks-times-two to Fabric.com for sponsoring two weeks of Weekend Wonders. Their huge selection gives you endless combinations. And, they are one of the very best resources online to find a huge variety of substrates all in one place. From luxury velvets and dupioni silks to today's hard working rip stop nylon. From sweet baby soft knits to tough denims

Rip stop nylon is super easy to sew with, plus it's moisture and stain resistant, which would make these bags a great addition to a swim or gym duffle for wet or sweaty clothes and towels. They make regular store plastic bags pale in comparison. Make yourself a set, make a set for a gift. And if you find yourself on a grocery bag binge, check out these other options: EZ Green Grocery Bag, Cotton Grocery Duffles in a Carrying Case, Upscaled Store Grocery Bags

Our bags finish at approximately 25" wide x 20" wide and fold down to fit two within a 5" wide x 7" high drawstring pouch.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

     

NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some prints may not be in-stock when you first visit. However, there are other color options as well as re-stock dates listed for each fabric.

Supplies and instructions are for TWO bags and one pouch

  • 1 yard of 60-62" wide lightweight rip stop nylon for the main body of one bag, the accent band on the second bag and the carrying pouch; we used 62" wide Rip Stop Nylon in Red (#DL-257) from Fabric.com
  • ¾ yard of 60-62" wide lightweight rip stop nylon for the main body of the second bag and the accent band on the first bag; we used 62" wide Rip Stop Nylon in Brown (#DL-264) from Fabric.com
  • TWO 4-yard packages of coordinating double-fold bias tape; we used Wrights Double Fold Bias Tape in Black (#207812) from Fabric.com
  • 1 yard of ⅛" nylon cording; we used polyester/nylon paracord in orange/blue purchased locally
  • ONE plastic toggle stop to match cording; we used a blue ellipse toggle purchased locally
  • Cutaway stabilizer for the optional embroidery as recommended for your embroidery machine
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Embroidery thread to match bias binding for optional monogram; we used black
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pin

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Grocery Bag Arm Cutout Pattern and the Grocery Bag Center Cutout Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern download consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out each pattern along the solid line.
  3. From the fabric for the main body of one bag, the accent band on the second bag and the carrying pouch (Rip Stop Nylon in Red in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 25" high 20" wide rectangles for bag #1
    For the accent band (for bag #2):
    If monogramming, cut ONE panel big enough to hoop, it will be trimmed to 16" high x 5" wide
    If not monogramming, cut ONE 16" x 5" strip
    For the pouch:
    If monogramming, cut ONE panel big enough to hoop, it will trimmed to a 8¾" high x 6" wide rectangle for the pouch, then cut a second piece 8¾" high x 6" wide
    If not monogramming, simply cut TWO 8¾" high x 6" wide rectangles 
  4. From the fabric for the main body of the second bag and the accent band on the first bag (Rip Stop Nylon in Brown in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 25" high 20" wide rectangles for bag #2
    For the accent band (for bag #1):
    If monogramming, cut ONE panel big enough to hoop, it will be trimmed to 16" high x 5" wide
    If not monogramming, cut ONE 16" x 5" strip
  5. Cut the cording to ONE 28" length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Steps are shown for one bag. The second bag is identical but with the colors reversed. 

  1. Fold each main 25" x 20" rectangle in half so it now measures 25" x 10".
  2. Place the pattern pieces on either side of the rectangle, following the pattern markings to place the center cutout along the fold and the "arm" cutout along the raw edges, as shown in the photo below.
  3. Cut out each piece. Discard or save in your scrap box.
  4. Repeat for both the front and back rectangles of each bag. The finished pieces now look like little tank tops.
  5. Set aside.

Optional embroidery

  1. Download the free font collection in the proper format for your machine.
  2. Hoop the nylon and stabilizer, and monogram the letter of your choice surrounded by the brackets.
  3. Do not completely tearaway the stabilizer. Instead, Leave a small square of stabilizer surrounding the letter for extra strength.
  4. Trim the finished fabric to 16" high x 5" wide, positioning the embroidery so it is centered side to side within the 5" width. The bottom-most curve of the brackets should be approximately 11" up from the bottom raw edge. 

Attach the front accent band

  1. Find one cut-out bag panel. Fold it in half and lightly press to set a center crease.
    NOTE: The rip stop nylon can be pressed on low heat or with a pressing cloth.
  2. Find the accent band. Fold back each long side ½" and press
  3. Fold the band in half lengthwise and mark the center point at the top and bottom of the strip.
  4. Center the accent band on the front bag panel, centering it over the front panel's crease line and using the accent band's top and bottom pin points as additional guides. Pin the band in place. 
  5. The accent strip should be flush at the bottom but will extend over the center curve at the top.
  6. Thread the machine with thread to match the binding and embroidery (black in our sample) in the top and bobbin.
  7. Edgestitch along both sides.
  8. Trim the excess band along the top to match the curve of the panel.

Finishing the straps

  1. Find the remaining back panel (it does not have an accent band). Place the front and back panels right sides together. Pin along the top of the straps only.
  2. Stitch using a ½" seam allowance. Then finish as a flat felled seam, trimming back one side.
  3. Wrapping the raw edge.
  4. And, topstitching to finish.

    NOTE: If you are new to flat felled seams, we have a step-by-step tutorial

Bias binding

  1. Find the bias binding. Use it to encase the raw edges of the bag's top.
  2. First encase the each outer edge from one side, up and around the strap to the opposite side. 
  3. Then, starting at one strap seam, encase the center opening. 
  4. When you get back to your binding's starting point at the strap seam, trim away the excess binding, leaving just ½" to fold under for a clean edge.
  5. Fold down into place and finish the seam.

Finishing the bag

  1. The sides of our bag are finished with a reverse French seam. We chose this for its strength and to allow us a smooth finish on the inside with a decorate welt along the outer edge. 
  2. If you are new to making a French seam, we have a detailed tutorial, which is part of our series on Machine Sewn Seam Finishes
  3. In general, you place the bag front and back right sides together, aligning the side and the bottom raw edges. Pin in place. 
  4. Using a ¼" seam allowance stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. 
  5. Trim the seam allowance back to ⅛".
  6. Turn the bag so the front and back are now wrong sides together, and again using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along the sides and across the bottom again. This encases the original seam. 

Carrying case

  1. Find the two pouch rectangles.

Optional embroidery

  1. Download the free font collection in the proper format for your machine.
  2. Hoop one pouch rectangle and stabilizer, and monogram the letter of your choice surrounded by the brackets.
  3. As above, leave a small square of stabilizer behind the monogram.
  4. Trim the finished fabric to 8¾" high x 6" wide, positioning the embroidery so it is centered side to side within the 6" width. The bottom-most curve of the brackets should be approximately 2½" up from the bottom raw edge.

Drawcord opening

  1. Place the two pouch pieces right sides together, aligning all the raw edges. 
  2. At the top left corner, measure 1½" down from the top raw edge and place a pin. Measure 1" down and place a second pin. This ½" space will become the draw cord opening. 
    NOTE: In the photo below, the pin at the very top is just holding the layers together; it is not a marking pin. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the left side, locking the seam on either side of the ½" opening. 
  4. For a clean finish around the opening fold back each side of the seam allowance and topstitch (just working with the seam allowance; you aren't stitching onto the bag), running your stitching up and around the opening, a little like a buttonhole. 
  5. Stitch the remaining side and the bottom of the pouch, using a ½" seam allowance. To finish these seams, we simply folded back the raw edges and stitched them in place with a second seamline. 

    NOTE: For more ideas on seam finishes, check out our Machine Sewn Finishes series
  6. To create the casing, turn down the top raw edge ¼" all around and edgestitch in place.
  7. Fold the top down an additional ½" and pin in place all around.
  8. We wanted our casing seam to create an accent line around the top of the bag, and so we re-threaded the machine with thread to match the monogram (black in our sample) in the top and bobbin. This is optional. 
  9. Topstitch around the pouch, staying as close as possible to the inner fold. 
  10. Attach a safety pin to one end of the cording and feed it through the drawcord channel. 
  11. When through, put the two cord ends through the cord lock and close. 
  12. Tie each end of cord in a simple knot and trim away and excess. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (3)

Gram to Liz said:
Gram to Liz's picture

I love the overnight bag.  Something that I would like to see is a fall jacket. 

Momo said:
Momo's picture

This is such a nice project and one that I will do this next week.  I love making "helpers" like this - the practical items that I can use to help me with my daily chores.  I also like smaller items I can make for family gifts.  Many more are desired for men!  Thank you!

Tiffanie said:
Tiffanie's picture

Thank you..love you...God Bless you...Great Tutorial

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