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Reusable Compact Shopping Bag Tutorial ~ Refashion

It’s the last Tuesday of the month and that means that it’s Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION time here at Prodigal Pieces. While I adore being in my wood shop building, or reviving a broken furniture, gardening, or even in my kitchen whipping up another treat, I also am an addicted seamstress. Or, at least, totally enjoy refashioning perfectly good fabric. Take a peek at this reusable compact shopping bag I found.

Found Reusable Shopping Bag | prodigalpieces.com

Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION series hosted by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Come learn to create for you and your home | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

I am at the grocery store headed out to my truck while it’s pouring buckets, and see this laying smack in the middle of the road. No one around to claim it, so I pick it up and take it home to launder. I love the whimsy of it, but compact size, and especially that it gave me an idea. Wouldn’t this make a perfect thoughtful gift or even a stocking stuffer made from a loved one’s old clothes?

Open Reusable Compact Shopping Bag Found | prodigalpieces.com

Okay, so my brain is in motion and I’m eager to give this a try. Here’s my inspiration refashion piece…a simple tank top.

Tank Top Before Refashion into Compact Bag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Notice how my found bag looks like a tank top with arm holes lined up. woot!

Reusable Bag and Tank Top | prodigalpieces.com

Let’s grab our supplies and join me in this simple DIY adventure!

DIY TIME

If you want to make one too, here’s the basic supplies list. Feel free to change up your fabric for super fun designs, or even add a contrasting edge to your pocket pieces as seen above. My goal is to keep this simple and then you can add to it as you see fit. Just keep in mind you want these to be super compact and easy to tuck in a purse, so the lighter the fabric, the better. The one on the left above is a nylon type of fabric that would also dry fast.

For my project, I’m using a thrifted tank top made of cotton, and a bit of the button-up shirt I used to make upcycled bowl filler HERE.

Tools & Supplies:

  • ladies tank top – make sure neck opens wide
  • 1 – 10 ½” W x 10 ½” L square of a coordinating fabric
  • coordinating thread
  • 1 – 30″-32″ L satin cord in choice of color
  • 1 – cord stop
  • sewing machine (or hand sew with needle and thread)
  • rotary cutter / cutting mat (or sewing scissors and tape measure)
  • clothing iron

STEP 1

First, take your large square and cut it in half corner to corner making two large triangles. Now that you have your triangles, it’s time to heat up the fun with our iron. Following the diagrams, fold the long side corners in 1 ¾” on each side and press.

First Fold Corner of Compact Bag | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 2

Next, fold down the long edge ¼” and press. This is the beginning of the casing for our cord.

Creating Casing for Reusable Compact Shopping Bag | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 3

Then, fold down another ¾” and press again. Now we have our casing for our cord. In order to close it, we need to do two stitching passes. The first is to sew down each end folded in as shown below.

Edge Seam on Cord Casing for Reusable Shopping Bag | prodigalpieces.com

Also, stitch down the casing on the bottom open edge with a straight stitch.

Stitching Pocket Edge Cord Casing | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 4

Now it’s time to tackle the tank top. First, make note of the length of the tank top. In my instance, I have a ladies large in a tall size. I find out after making this that taking a few inches off the bottom would have been a tad better. Then, remove the amount you want, but definitely at least take off the bottom hem to remove the bulk.

Cutting Tank Hem for Reusable Compact Shopping Bag | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 5

Next, take one of your triangles, and place it on a corner of the tank top bag while it’s folded with arm holes lined up as “handles”. Then, take a pair of sewing scissors and slice up the side to just the very bottom edge of the casing. However, the bottom of the “bag” is already open from the previous step, so we don’t need to do more.

Cutting Tank Top Corner for Compact Bag | prodigalpieces.com

Cut Bag Corner | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 6

Now, place your triangle on top of the corner with wrong side of the triangle facing the right side of the tank top fabric. Stitch in the ditch (sew down the triangle over the same stitching you did to make the casing) to attach the triangle to the top layer of the cut tank corner. Flip and do the same to the opposing corner with second triangle. See my two (yet wavy…ahem) stitch lines below?

Stitch in a Ditch the Bag Corner | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 7

After that, turn the tank top inside out and keep the arm holes lined up making sure your corners all meet a the same spot.

Refashioned Reusable Compact Shopping Bag Corner Layers | prodigalpieces.com

However, you will want to make sure that your casing corners are tucked in out of the way when sewing.

Tucked in Casing Edges of Reusable Compact Shopping Bag | prodigalpieces.com

Then, sew (or serge) the bottom edge and the open corner around to attach all layers together.

STEP 8

Last, turn right side out and thread your cord through your casing. I like to use my crochet hook with a knot tied on one end. You can also use a safety pin or large yarn needle as well.

Crochet Hook Knot for Threading | prodigalpieces.com

THE REVEAL

Let’s take a peek at how my reusable compact shopping bag all came together, shall we?

Refashioned Tank Top Reusable Compact Shopping Bag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #refashion #upcycle #diy #sewing #crafts #shopping

See how it’s a tad longer than I prefer? It still works, but this was my first attempt and I’m smitten with the outcome. And with a bunching and tug of the cord stop…here we are.

Hanging Refashioned Tank Top Reusable Bag with Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #sewing #crafts #home #shopping #diy

Folding DIY Shopping Bag from Refashioned Clothes by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #shopping #bag #diy #sewing

While it’s not the exact size of the found one, it definitely makes it easy to tuck in bag, car, backpack, or purse. Think how fun it would be to gift these just for fun?! The best part is I only spent pennies to make it AND I did all the hard work for you. My second run (with everything set up) only took 20 minutes to assemble, so I know you can do it too.

DIY Reusable Compact Shopping Bag Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #gfitidea #home #sewing #refashion

DIY Handmade Tank Top Bag Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #tutorial #sewing #home #diy #sewing

And to show you, it’s super easy, here’s my stash of bags I whip up in two hours. See! I told ya it was simple and easy, just a few steps to work through.

Set of Refashioned Tank Tops into Reusable Compact Shopping Bags | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #sewing #refashion

Folded Set of DIY Reusable Compact Folding Bags by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #upcycle #diy #refashion #sewing #shopping

Now, share the love and inspire others – pin and share!

Make a DIY reusable compact shopping bag from a tank top with tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #refashion #shopping #sewing #bag #home

Up next, this thrifted wood bowl is going to get a fresh new look. Any guesses? See the new look and life HERE!

Mexican Wood Bowl Before | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, more refashion fun like this reusable compact shopping bag tutorial:

Grab Dad's swim trunks and make an upcycled swimsuit bag with insulated lining. Details by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #swimming #diy #home #fashion #summer #fathersdayGive the gift of a hug! Make an upcycled shirt (or sweater) pocket pillow this holiday. Full tutorial at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #refashion #diy #upcycled #giftidea #christmas

Comments

  1. Rebecca - NC says

    Okay. You had to be channeling me for this one!!! I’ve already picked out one of my husband’s shirts to give this whirl. While my sewing skills aren’t nearly as impressive, I can sew a straight line… 🤓 Wish me luck!!! 🍀

    • Larissa says

      hee hee hee! I can’t wait to see what you make with it. I’m so glad you’re willing to try! 😀

  2. Mary says

    So cute Larissa! Wow! The tank tops work perfectly…I wouldn’t have given them a thought for this project 🙂 Such a great upcycle!

  3. Marie - Interior Frugalista says

    I could use a few of these in my purse. Brilliant! Thanks to your tutorial, I could definitely make these. I like your idea of making them as gifts too. How fun to find coordinating recycled garment patterns for the pouch. Pinned

    • Larissa says

      Sweet! It’s so addictive to make and give! 😀 Thanks, Marie.

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~ Laurel

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2020-03-21T21:34:13-04:00

~ Laurel

I love it! Larissa is amazing. She listened to what I wanted and then she took care of the rest! This is my second piece I've bought from her and I'm in love! I highly recommend her.

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2020-03-21T21:39:34-04:00

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I should have left this review MONTHS ago! I absolute love this lunch bag. I honestly carry this 5 days a week. It is the perfect size! Not only can you put your lunch in it, it can also hold your book. I enjoy reading at lunch, so I have all I need in one cute bag. Thank you so much Larissa!

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2020-03-21T21:43:16-04:00

~ Mikki

I should have left this review MONTHS ago! I absolute love this lunch bag. I honestly carry this 5 days a week. It is the perfect size! Not only can you put your lunch in it, it can also hold your book. I enjoy reading at lunch, so I have all I need in one cute bag. Thank you so much Larissa!

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Awww…I love this sweet Cat with an attitude!! SO SO adorable! Well worth the money, and he will become a priceless treasure in my home! Thanks Larissa for always making your ideas turn into true treasures!

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Perfect purchase from start to finish! Absolutely adorable piece so creatively thought out. Packed with the greatest of care with lightening fast delivery. Very customer-oriented and friendly crafter. Could not ask for more! Thank you!
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