Folded Shopping Bag FREE Pattern. Never without a bag when you need one!

folded shopping bagHere's a fun and practical sewing project –a folded shopping bag– that you can make with Batik fabric.  Frankly, you could do this project with almost any colorful fabric (or even not-so-colorful..) but I love how it looks with beautiful Batik.

I don't know if this is happening in your community, but where I live, stores are beginning to stop providing plastic and even paper shopping bags in favor of reusable bags.  I've bought so many reusable bags but I never seem to have one with me when I need it so I end up buying more and more (which probably isn't too good for the environment either, although the retailers who now charge for these bags seem to like it..)  My solution is this super easy folded shopping bag that will turn into a flat pouch small enough that you can put handbag.  Now I'll never be without a shopping bag when I need one!

The project is simple and should take you about 30 minutes to an hour and the end product is extremely versatile. It will make the perfect gift for a friend on Mother's Day or addition to your Etsy store.  I purchased a small treasure of Batik fabrics on a recent trip and would like to show you a few ways to use Batik as accessories, clothing, and home decoration.  You don't have to use Batik but it is always nice;)


In a recent article, we talked about the ancient art of Batik Printing Technique,

The Ancient Art of Batik Printing Technique

If you'd like to make this from real Batik fabric, we've found a wonderful supplier in the US that ships through Amazon called Java Batiks.  These are authentic Batik fabrics from Indonesia.  In future tutorials, we'll show you how to make your own Batik, but if you want to start working with the fabric, it may make sense to get a supply now.


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Visit Craftsy to Download the Pattern

We have made available the FREE template for this project at our account on

You can download it FREE there.


Batik Fabric Suggestions from

Folded Shopping Bag Piecesfolded shopping bag

Cut one pouch piece of fabric, one of fusible interfacing, and one of fleece.Untitled design(45)

Make a rectangle that is 17 1/2″ in width and 36″ in length.  Fold in half lengthwise and mark the middle.folded shopping bag

Cut two strips of 24″ in length and  2″ wide (this will become the handles).folded shopping bag

Assembling the Bag Handles

Take your strip of fabric, (24″ by 2″) folded in half, sew at 1/4″, turn inside out and iron.  You may find it useful to use a loop turner to do this.  Then and sew a stitch in the middle.  Put aside for later.

folded shopping bag

Making the Pouch

Fuse the interfacing to the fabric with the use of an iron.  Then attach the fleece either by sewing or by using spray glue.  Take the zipper and lay it open and upside down on the right side of the fabric.  Align it to the first notch.folded shopping bagPin the zipper to the fabric, use as many pins as you can to shape the zipper around the fabric.folded shopping bag

Start sewing at the right hand side notch.  You start sewing 1 cm from the head of the zipper.  This gap is important to be able to flip the zipper around.  Make sure you keep sewing the zipper with your zipper foot around the bag following the edge of the fabric.

Note: please make sure you are sewing at the same distance around the zipper.  Any deviation will distort the zipper and it will not look good when you zip up the bag.  Start sewing the other side at the notch as well.

For a refresher on using zipper feet, please read our tutorial on the subject:

All about Zipper Feet – Sew A Skirt Series


Trim the fabric with the fleece to allow the zipper to curve smoothly.folded shopping bagSew the ends of the zippers.folded shopping bagMake sure the zipper ends lay toward the fleece side. folded shopping bagLay the rectangle lengthwise and pin the pouch to the rectangle print side up.  Tuck both ends of the zipper under the pouch. folded shopping bagfolded shopping bagSew the pouch using your zipper foot by topstitching around the pouch make sure you follow the zipper perfectly as to not distort the shape of the pouch.

shopping folded bag

Making the Bag

You can use your serger for this step.  I am using a French seam to close the sides.  Sew on the right side of the fabric on both sides.  For a refresher on how to make French seams, please review this tutorial:

How to sew a French Seam

floded shopping bagCut half of the seam allowance, turn your bag inside out and iron.folded shopping bagSew again 3/4″ again and iron the sides once again.

Round up the corners with the use of your zipper foot.  Follow the shape of the pouch.  Make sure you do not catch the zipper.

Attaching the handles

Lay the rectangle horizontally with the handles on either side.folded shopping bag

Fold again this time 3/4″.folded shopping bag

Make sure your handles are hanging down fold the handles upward and pin.folded shopping bag

Sew the handles and the hem all together.folded shopping bag

folded shopping bagfolded shopping bag

So there you have it, the perfect bag to hide your crime or another purchase from the fabric store…

Opt In Image
Visit Craftsy to Download the Pattern

We have made available the FREE template for this project at our account on

You can download it FREE there.


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85 Responses to Folded Shopping Bag FREE Pattern. Never without a bag when you need one!

  1. Karen Forbes says:

    You did stencilling with paint.

  2. Denise Sutcliffe says:

    I’m hoping to make this soon. As some others have said, the first step of attaching the bag handles is missing as there is already 1 fold and the handles pinned on the bag in the first picture. The next instruction ssay to fold again but this time 3/4″. What depth is the first fold that is pinned in the photo?
    Thanks. love your website

  3. Pam Ryerse says:

    I would use zipper chain (by the inch). Notch or mark the curves at the half-way point and mark zipper pieces as well. then as you sew you have a goal – to line the zipper up at the notches.

  4. Hi ! Great tutorial – everyone in my family need this!

    I have a bunch of vinyl banner material – do you think it would work well with this pattern? (using webbing for the straps)

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      It could work, the bag will not fold as flat put that does not stops it from being useful.

      • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

        Hi Randi, fold the fabric carefully in about three parts then fold the ends on top that should make it lay flat.

  5. Marge says:

    is there a video for the folded shopping bag yet?
    I need help with the zipper. I’m on my 2nd bag and am having the same issue as I did on the 1st bag.After the zip is turned, it’s time to sew the zipper ends. I cannot get the zip end stop and the fabric get close to meeting. After attaching, the pouch does not lay flat at the zipper attachment. Help!
    My assumption is that it the problem is caused from not lining the zip up before sewing it initially. I did start an stop at the 1cm mark.

  6. Christa says:

    and here it is folded!

  7. Christa says:

    Thanks you do much for this pattern and tutorial. I’ve had so much fun making it!
    To be honest: it did take me longer than the described hour but hey, no problem. I love the result!

  8. Sherry Hulstine says:

    I downloaded this pattern from craftsy, but the only pattern piece is the bottom of the bag that is zipped. Please help!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi, Sherry, this is a super easy project, please read the blog article to be able to make the rest of the bag. it is literally just a rectangle. It is that easy!

  9. Cynthia B. says:


    great bag, please do a video.

  10. Joyce Schroeder says:

    This would be a terrific addition to travel baggage, for those items you just “had” to purchase, but have no other way to get them home! Sure beats having to buy another suitcase! So many great uses for it! Thank you!

  11. Debbie C says:

    Thank you so much! One of my favorite bags can be zipped up into a heart shape. It’s falling apart after many years but I couldn’t figure how to make another with the zipper.

  12. Pam @Threading My Way says:

    That is so clever, Mayra. Love the idea of the bag folding into a pouch – takes up much less room.

  13. Lisa says:

    Hi, I can’t seem to find the PDF of the pattern for the Folded Shopping Bag. I can find the direction of how to sew the bag, and how to download the pattern…just not the actual PDF to download and print. Could you please help me.
    Thank you

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Lisa, please follow the link in the yellow box which will take you to our account at Craftsy where the free pattern is hosted. Please give it a go and let me know. Kind regards, Mayra

  14. Lyn says:

    Love this. thank you

  15. Lorraine Donnelly says:

    Think you need to do a youtube video of that one –
    Looks complicated

  16. Nancy Ferguson says:

    I would love to make one of these, but cannot find the full sized template. Is there a link I’m missing, or another place to find it?
    Thank you!

  17. Ingrid Mijares says:

    Buenísimo y original este modelo! Gracias por compartir.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Mil gracias Ingrid, que lo disfutres, no olvides que puedes subir una foto de tu bolsa cuando la ternines. Me encantaria verla. Un abrazo!

  18. Janice Ruttimann says:

    Am I allowed to show this and and give a demo at my quilting guild.

  19. Karen Burney says:

    There is part of a sentence missing in Assembling the Bag Handles. Would you clarify, please? Looks like a great project!

    • Sandy Hutchinson says:

      I agree! The first fold instructions appear to be missing. Please help!

      • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

        Hi Sandy, not sure I understand your question, you are having trouble folding the finished bag or is there a step not clear to you?

  20. Linda says:

    Thank you so much. I think I may make several and give as gifts to friends. And it uses up my stash of fabric.

  21. Barara says:

    Thank you, great idea and instructions are very helpful. I have 3 smAll projects then it’s this bag. I have someone is missing d for it besides myself ?

  22. Ami Knight says:

    I love this. Is there a video tutorial for this?

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Ami, not a full video yet, unfortunately. I think you can probably do it with the written instructions on the site. Please give it a try.

  23. Jane Thompson says:

    I love it. What a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing this. Going to try to make one now.

  24. Linda Clark says:

    went to Indonesia with Quilt Seminars at Sea (been with them 4x an 2 more booked – visit them on line!!!!) visited 3 batik operations an bought a suitcase of batik fabric. Can’t wait to make one of these for my next cruise to Alaska and the next to Hawaii!!

  25. Mussy says:

    Kudo’s to the designer and many thanks for sharing. A Happy shout out to all those who wrote in with their questions. It helped me avoid some issues and resolve a few mysteries I ran into. Looking forward to the video. My motto, if you love it, don’t give up. try, try again and always read the comments!!

  26. Ann says:

    Lovely pattern but on the picture the top of the bag has a folded seam. I dont think this is in the pattern. Am I right. ??!! Ann

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi, Ann, please read attaching the handles carefully, I use an unconventional method to make 2 things at once.

  27. Tora says:

    This is so cool, thank you so much for the pattern 🙂

  28. Yvonne Jinks says:

    This is a great pattern and a great gift. The first time I saw this was in 1969 when an aunt made one for me to go to university. I still have the original bag and still use it to go grocery shopping. Over the years I have made over 50 bags, my friends all love them. The base can be made with heavy vinyl or as I prefer a small mini quilt, that way you never see the fleece. Enjoy the bag.

  29. Penny says:

    Hi, I love this bag pattern and I have made a couple, so thank you for posting. I’m having a couple of problems with small details. When you sew the zipper, are you sewing close to the edge of the fabric or close to the zipper teeth? In both of my bags, after finishing, I can still see the edge of the white quilting fleece when the bag is open and in use, and I’m wondering if I could solve this problem by sewing closer to the zipper teeth. But then I thought if I sewed too close to the zipper teeth there might not be enough space for the pouch to expand and close up when I try to stuff the bag. Thank you!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hmmm, You should not be able to see the white fleece at all, because it would be hidden under the bag, and yes you can not sew to close to the teeth because you will not be able to close the bag. I think I should make a video, I will let you know when I have it ready. Thank you Jenny for your question.
      Kind Regards,

      • Penny says:

        You know what, I was just making another and I think I realized what I might be doing wrong. I didn’t trim the fleece and fabric the whole way around the bag once I had sewn the zipper on. I had thought that maybe this step was meant for right around where the zipper head sits. It just dawned on me that this was meant for the whole border of the bag. I will give this a try on this next one and see what happens. Thanks again.

        • Penny says:

          So I remade the bag with trimming, and I can still see the very edge of the fleece peaking out in some places. When I attach the pouch to the bag, I’m trying to sew as close to the zipper tape (close to the edge of the fabric) as I can, I think I’m sewing closer than you do, in order to try to make sure that the bag covers the whole fleece, but I don’t quite get everything covered. In any case, the trimming did help, and this is by far my best one!

          • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

            I hear you girl, I think a video is in order, as soon as I can I upload it and let you know. Thank you for your feedback,

            Kind Regards,

  30. Diane E. says:

    Thank you so much for the update Mayra! The placement of the pouch is very clear now. As I said before, we love your patterns and are grateful that you share them with us. Thanks again. -D

  31. Jane says:

    Dear Mayra
    Following on from previous comments I would also like to add I very much appreciate your time and effort taken to put the instructions together and to reply to all of us! These tutorials and blog posts have given me great sewing inspiration.
    I love this folded bag pattern but got the pouch on the wrong way around so will give it another go this week. Thanks again for your work.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      You are welcome Jane, and thank you for your support. It means the world to me! Kind Regards,


  32. Diane E. says:

    First let me say that my friend and I love your patterns. We especially love this tote but after two tries have to contact you. We understand folding the tote fabric in half and mark the middle along the bottom line. When we place the pouch, do we center it horizontally across the folded bottom line and that’s where it is stitched around? 1st time we did vertically – didn’t work, 2nd time we did it even with the fold and turned out lopsided so assuming it has to be centered horizontally across the fold line? Should the zipper be extended a little before sewing to the pouch. We have been putting ours even with the pouch and it doesn’t lay flat so thinking we have to extend on both ends so there is a little give? After the seams are sewn, we should fold and follow the lines of the pouch to round it out? We really love this project but suggest if you make a video to use one patterned fabric and one solid and also to be able to see around the project so that one can see the directions the fabric are laid out vs. close up picture. We will wait for your reply and then try again because we really love this project. Thanks!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Diane, yes a video will put all your doubts to rest so i will work on it. I have added one drawing to the post that will help you understand how to place the pouch before you sew it on the fabric. About the zipper, yes you have to leave the head of the zipper hanging out and the tail. Once you are ready to sew the zipper to the bag you need to tuck in both ends. Thanks for your comment it has help me update the tutorial and I will definitely be releasing the video. Kind Regards,


  33. Jane says:

    Dear Mayra
    Thank you so much for your reply! That explains the mystery stitching for me!
    I’m going back to my room now to get it finished!
    Thanks again

  34. Jane says:

    Hi Maya
    I am trying to make this project but finding it tricky! I think there may be some instruction missing ? I can clearly see a line of stitching across the pouch even before the bag is attached? This is not mentioned. I can see it on the fleece when trying to follow the part about sewing the ends of the zippers. This is where I am stuck. I guess you mean zip not zippers as there is only one? It’s just both parts of the zip (each open part) you mean? If you can offer any help I’d be grateful.
    Many thanks

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jane, the line you see across is to keep the fleece from moving from fabric, I could glue the fleece but I didn’t, I was working late at night inside the apartment and to use the glue I have I need to work in a well ventilated area like my balcony. The zipper is sewn open one side goes to the left and the other to the right. Let me know if this helps otherwise I think i will just do a video. Thank you for your comment and hope you can get to make the bag.

  35. says:

    Girls from my children’s high school are going on an emersion tour to spend 2 weeks in an orphanage in the Solomon Islands. I think I’m going to make a dozen of these to take with for the kids. With long term use in mind, would it be better for me to use twill or canvas?

  36. Ann says:

    I love this and am going to make it. Do you think it would be too thick with a lining since I’m only using cotton fabric??

  37. Rose says:

    This is brilliant! Thanks for all you do!

  38. Chilebeanz says:

    I like this very much, but I can’t take my computer to the sewing machine. Is it possible to download the instructions as a PDF?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Chilebeanz, unfortunately we haven’t done the PDF yet for this one. We’ll put that on the list and try to issue it in the near future.

      • Karen Futtner says:

        If you have a cellphone, you can take a picture of the screen, then
        take that to your sewing machine.

  39. Deb says:

    The concept is great, and I have purchased several at the office supply store. But those do not have the oddly shaped bottom/pouch. Is there a specific reason the bottom of the bag has to be shaped like a peanut? I tried to print out this page so to follow the instructions at the sewing machine, but the pictures do not print. 🙁

  40. inge jensen says:

    great, going to try to make one.

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