DIY: Super Simple Market Bag

by Eren

Eren Hays San Pedro, a contributor at Simple Organic, never thought she would give up her day job in website design and marketing to be a stay-at-home mom. But home is where she is happy these days with her U.S. Navy husband and her three boys (twins who are seven and her munchkin four-year-old). When she is not at the local thrift store, she can be found barefoot in her backyard garden or at the sewing machine. Eren shows how she puts a little vintage into modern day living at her blog, Vintage Chica.

You’ve all seen them.  Reusable market bags seem to be everywhere these days. Every time I am standing in line at a checkout counter, there they are – reusable bags emblazened with the label of the particular chain store.

I met a woman this past weekend that has a reusable market bag in every color to ensure that her bag matches the outfit she happens to have on that day. Hmmmm…something just doesn’t seem right about that.  Does it? But truth be told, if you were to bring all of your weekly groceries home in reusable bags, you would need at least 10 bags or so. And that is an extra $20-30 spent just on market bags.

But for DIY’ers out there, you can reuse old t-shirts to make your own market bags for almost nothing!

No need to buy market bags to take to the local farmers’ market.  Just repurpose some old t-shirts and you’ll be shopping in green style in a flash. Here’s how you do it.

Super Simple Market Bag


  • A Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • T-shirts still in good shape


  1. Turn your t-shirt inside out and lay it on a flat surface.
  2. Cut off the sleeves as shown in the photo above.
  3. Using the front neckline, cut around the neckline to make the back match the front.
  4. Pin the bottom edges together.
  5. Sew the bottom of your t-shirt closed and remove the pins.
  6. Turn your t-shirt right side in.

It’s not a t-shirt any longer, but a stylish and super green market bag. Happy shopping!

Other DIY Market Bag Resources:

Just in case you are really ambitious and want to spend a bit more time on making your bags, here are a few other great tutorials to check out.

Sew a Market Bag
Crochet a Grocery Bag
Market Bag from Pillowcase
Knitted Market Bag

If you make some of these bags, please comment with a link below. We’d love to see your take on our market bag!

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  1. I’ve made a no sew market bag for a family member one Christmas. It was fast and fairly simple.

  2. avatar
    Catherine says:

    How clever? And, it gives a purpose to the trashbag full of t-shirts my husband won’t part with in the attic :)

    • EXACTLY how this little project came about. I usually stuff pillows with single socks and old work out t-shirts. But this was a good use for them.

  3. Cute, cute, cute!

    And a sewing project I think even I can accomplish! 😉

    Thanks, Eren!
    .-= Kara Fleck’s last blog: Simple Elements for Backyard Fun – Even Without the Backyard =-.

  4. I wonder how well an old t-shirt would hold up with groceries in it! Even paying a little extra for the canvas bags is well worth it in the long run.
    .-= Dana @ MFCK’s last blog: Ardie’s Garlic Chicken =-.

    • I brought home a melon in mine today Dana! But I put the berries in their own t-shirt bag because otherwise they would get smooshed by the melon. But they hold up surprisingly well. But I agree, if Im buying my week’s worth of groceries, I use my regular reusable bags, but these work great in a pinch. Thanks for commenting!

  5. This project looks so cute! And I have just the perfect person & occassion to make it for :) Thanks!

  6. I love this! I’ve seen the idea before (Martha Stewart Website, slightly different but same general idea). I’m turning my son’s favorite t-shirts into bags for him (little ones!) after he can no longer them on. He’s having a hard time parting with them and I thought this would be a good idea for him to keep them and still have them usable.

    I really should make some more for shopping as we’ve got probably 20 re-usable bags and still run out occasionally. (We have a tendency to not put them back in the car or store things in them for long periods.)

  7. Good idea Diana! I bet your son will love his new bag. One of the ones I made, got used as a swim bag last night.
    .-= Eren’s last blog: Pretty Pictures and a bit of Housekeeping =-.

    • Ooo, a swim bag. Great idea! And one for the library. And to take piano books to son’s lessons. And to store and hang costumes. And…

  8. Awesome! I love repurposing t-shirts!

  9. Love the pillowcase bag idea. Might try that this summer if I find some neat cases at the thrift shop.

  10. Here in France we have no choice but reusable bags. The plastic, store-provided bags were elmininated about 5 years ago. The bags, though, are cheap and sturdy. I paid about 1 dollar per bag and still have my original 4 bags. They have good handles and hold 2 – 3 ‘grocery bags’ (the paper kind) full of groceries each. When I visit the US I bring a few back to leave with family… ;-))
    The are definitely not cute and not fashion accessories…. LOL
    .-= Katie’s last blog: Tangy Coleslaw (Cabbage Salad); Menu of the week =-.

  11. Most of my bags were only $1 but I love this project idea – I would definitely turn some band tees into market bags. This would be a good project to work on my sewing machine skills, although it could easily be done by hand as well.

  12. I’ve somehow amassed quite the reusable bag collection but I’m always needing smaller bags for other (non-market) purposes – like the library or snacks traveling to play dates, etc. So fun and SO EASY! Thanks, Eren.

  13. Great idea, Eren! I just gave a massive amount of old t-shirts to Goodwill…but I’m sure it won’t be long before they accumulate once more – they seem to multiply like bunnies! I look forward to making this soon!

  14. I’m with Katie; I just gave a bunch of t-shirts to Goodwill, but oh well. I’ll get more soon! I’m in need of produce bags, so this sounds perfect for that. Thanks for the great-yet-simple idea.

  15. Just made a couple for my daughter and her “groceries.” But after seeing Tsh’s comment I’m thinking kid shirts would make the perfect size for produce bags!

  16. I just made some market bags. I improvised a box shape and added lining and straps. Too easy.

  17. I have lots of shirts here that I no longer used, well it is now time to convert them as marketbags. Thanks for your DIY tutorial!

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