How to Make a Cotton Bag

Written by kelly sundstrom
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How to Make a Cotton Bag
Use a cloth bag during a shopping trip to avoid wasting plastic or paper bags. (Jute shopping bag image by Sophia Winters from

When shopping at a supermarket or department store, it can be easy to accept a paper or plastic bag to hold your purchases. Unfortunately, these bags are often non-recyclable or non-renewable, and can lead to more waste in landfills. One alternative is to bring cotton bags with you when you shop. You can make a cotton bag easily using basic materials, and by following a few simple guidelines that will ensure that the bag will be strong enough to carry your items.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 yard cotton fabric
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Fold 1 yard of cotton cloth in half horizontally.

  2. 2

    Cut out a rectangle from the cloth that measures 18 inches wide by 24 inches long. Make sure to cut the rectangle out of the fabric along the fold so that the 18 inch side lies along the fold. Be sure to cut through both folded layers of fabric.

  3. 3

    Cut out two more rectangles that measure 6 inches wide by 18 inches long.

  4. 4

    Unfold the larger rectangle vertically onto a flat surface.

  5. 5

    Place the two smaller rectangles vertically at the top on either side of the larger rectangle.

  6. 6

    Line up the sides of the smaller rectangle with the larger one, and pin the sides to each other.

  7. 7

    Sew the sides together where they are pinned, then remove the pins.

  8. 8

    Line up the bottom edges of the smaller rectangles with the sides of the larger rectangle below where you just sewn.

  9. 9

    Pin the edges together.

  10. 10

    Sew the bottom edges of the smaller rectangles to the side edges of the larger rectangle, then remove the pins.

  11. 11

    Line up and pin the unsewn sides of the smaller rectangles to the unsewn sides of the larger rectangle.

  12. 12

    Sew along the remaining unsewn sides, and remove the pins. This will complete the bottom of your cotton bag.

  13. 13

    Cut out two strips of cotton cloth that each measure 3 inches wide by 18 inches long.

  14. 14

    Fold each strip in half lengthwise.

  15. 15

    Roll the edges of each strip in slightly, then sew the strip along the edge so that it remains folded.

  16. 16

    Stitch the ends of one of the strips to the inside edge of one side of the bag.

  17. 17

    Stitch the ends of the other strip to the inside edge of the opposite side of the bag.

  18. 18

    Trim off any excess thread before using.

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