Frugal Fun Projects - Easy Canvas
Do you like to carry your own shopping bags? But, the reusable shopping bags you can buy seem to be too
small and insubstantial? Here's how to make an inexpensive and easy canvas shopping bag.
They're easy to do. You can make several for yourself and to give as gifts.
Take a look at the finished bag. It's deeper than most bags, has longer handles for carrying over the shoulder,
includes reinforced seams, and best of all, can be washed in the laundry when dirty.
The frugality of this project starts with the canvas especially if you are doing several bags. Instead
of buying canvas material from a bolt, consider buying a canvas dropcloth.
This canvas has many uses as bulk material and is much cheaper than the comparable yardage bought from a
There can be some imperfections but just think of those as character.
Frugal Fun Projects: Easy Canvas Shopping Bag Materials and Tools:
- Canvas material (if buying off a bolt, 1 yard of 45 inch wide fabric per bag)
- Sewing thread to match canvas
- Straight pins
- Ruler or other type of measure
- Sewing machine, however you could also do this by hand
The Steps for How to Make the Frugal Fun Projects: Easy Canvas Shopping Bag:
Begin by cutting two pieces of canvas 22 inches by 22 inches and two pieces 4 inches by 30 inches. If your
canvas is wrinkled, iron the material before you cut the pieces.
Place the right sides together for the two 22x22 pieces of canvas. Sew around three sides with a 3/8 inch
Trim the two sewn corners at a 45 degree angle.
Turn right side out. Press the shape.
For the open end, turn under 1/4 inch toward the inside, press. Next fold under another inch and press again.
Take care at the seams to spread the seam open as you press under the folded edge. This makes it easier for the
sewing machine when sewing through all the thicknesses.
Sew twice around the top, once near the outer folded edge and once near the bottom edge of the folded
With the bag right side out, press flat. Sew around the three previously sewn edges on the outside with a 3/8
inch seam. This encloses the raw seam on the inside and also adds strength to the seams. Basically, the areas of
stress now have two seams.
Turn the bag wrong side out. Make a triangle in the bottom corner by matching the bottom and side
seams. Pin the triangle. Use a ruler to identify where the triangle is six inches across. Mark or
place pins at the point on either side of the triangle. This will be the seam to make the bottom rectangular. Do
the same for both corners.
Sew across each corner at the six inch width. Trim the corners to within 3/8 inch of the seam.
Turn the bag right side out. Press the two bottom seams. On the outside, sew across the bottom corner seams with
a 3/8 inch seam.
Press the 4x30 inch handle fabric in half lengthwise with the wrong side inside the fold. Fold in half again and
press. Do this for each handle.
Next, sew each handle along each side of the length - once on the fold edge and once along the open edge.
Find the center of each side of the bag on the open end of the bag. Measure 3.5 inches from center to each side.
Mark with pins. These pins mark where the handles will be attached.
Pin the handle on the bag with the 1.5 inches of the end on the inside of the bag. Make sure the
handle is not twisted when you pin the second end.
Sew the handle to the top of the bag with an X inside a rectangle.
The multiple lines of stitching add strength to the handles.
Sew the remaining ends of the handles to the bag.
Your bag is finished.
Here's a side view:
....and a front view:
The easy canvas shopping bag is a frugal fun project in many ways. You can make several of these
inexpensive bags and embellish them in different ways. They are so easy and inexpensive, you can make some
specifically for different types of groceries and others for clothing or other types of shopping. These
bags can be used for many other purposes around the home as well.
In addition to being easy and cheap, they help save the environment from more plastic bags being added to
landfills and from trees being cut for paper bags.
Enjoy making and using your easy canvas shopping bag.