How to make a reusable grocery bag out of a busted umbrella

Reusable grocery bags are all the rage now.  There are so many pretty ones out there but I refuse to spend money to buy them when I can make them myself.  Here’s one I made out of a busted umbrella I found in the trash! 

1.  Remove the umbrella fabric from the frame (careful not to poke your eyes out).  Cut out each of the seams and you should have 8 triangle pieces.

Umbrella fabric

2.  Iron the pieces on a low setting.  Use a rotary cutter to neaten up the edges.

Umbrella triangles

3. Cut 2 of the triangles in half lengthwise.

half of triangle

4. Take 2 triangles and 2 of the half triangles you just cut and piece them into a rectangle.  The right angles of the half triangles should be on opposite corners of each other.

4 pieces for sides

5. Sew the pieces together and press.  Make another one.  These are the 2 sides of the bag.  Sew the 2 sides together (right sides facing each other) on 3 sides.  You should now only have 2 triangles left.

6.  Cut 2 strips (about 11″x3″) out of 1 of the remaining triangles.  Fold each strip in half and sew lengthwise.  Turn them inside out and press flat – these will be the handles.


7.  Fold the top edge of the bag down about an inch and a half on the wrong side of the bag and press (this will give the top of the bag a little more strength for the handles).  Center and attach the handles.  I squared out the bottom of the bag but you can leave it as is.  Turn the bag right side out.

8.  Now the really fancy reusable grocery bags out there have their own little pouches.  This is where the last piece of the triangle (the one with the velco tab!) comes in.  Cut a 6″x6″ square out of the triangle (I had to decrease the width after I took the picture). 

9.  Fold the square in half lengthwise with the velco tab inside and sew the side and bottom.  Turn right side out.

10.  Roll up your bag and stuff it in the pouch!

This bag is super light and it takes up no space at all.  Throw it in your backpack, car (I mean, bicycle), pocket, and you’ll have a waterproof bag for any occasion!


5 Responses to “How to make a reusable grocery bag out of a busted umbrella”

  1. 1 skquincy July 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    this is brilliant!
    i love the idea of using old whatevers (umbrellas, clothes, etc.) and making bags out of them….

  2. 2 Lise July 7, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I’ve seen it – very cool. I’m bringing in my busted black umbrella for another bag

  3. 3 RecycleCindy August 22, 2008 at 4:18 am

    What a wonderful upcycle project and such handy shopping bag. Thanks for the great tutorial and great idea you shared.

  4. 4 granitefarm March 3, 2009 at 1:25 am

    What a great project. Reuse an item that would go into the landfill and keep more plastic from ending up there. Love It.

  1. 1 Carnival of Green Crafts #3: Trash Into Treasure : Crafting a Green World Trackback on August 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm

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