Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberry Bag

Here's something I found in Singapore when I was there
this past winter. Thought it would be fun to make and
store in the car as a spare carry-all. Especially with
farmers' markets happening in the summer. You've seen
these before, right? Little fat strawberries with cord stops
that open out into a spare grocery bag?

Anyway, just in case I'm not the last person on the
planet to have found these, here's how to make your own.

Here's what I used for the strawberry corner:
  • White-polka dots on red fabric - one 5.5" x 5.5" square*, cut diagonally into two triangles.
  • Green cotton - two rectangles, each 6" x 3.5"*
  • 18" thin drawstring cord
  • Cord stop

Please experiment with this square and the length of these green rectangles. Their size depends entirely on the kind of fabric your bag is made of. If you are using really thin fabric, like a single layer of rip-stop nylon, a 5" square is OK. If you are using something thicker, you'll need a bigger square and subsequently longer (the 3.5" width is not affected) rectangles.

For the actual bag, make your favorite flat tote in thin
fabric, so it can be scrunched up within the strawberry.
I had red gingham so I used that. Then that seemed a
bit too delicate for groceries so I added a lining of thin
rip-stop nylon (good for leaky stuff).

Here's what I used for my bag:
  • Two rectangles of each (outer and lining), about 14" x 16".
  • Four rectangles 3.5" x 16" for straps - two for each strap.

Here's an awkwardly-sequenced picture of the stuff you need for the strawberry corner and the 4 strap rectangles:

Step 1
Fold in about 1/4" of the short edges of one green rectangle (6" x 3.5") and sew these hems.

Step 2
Fold the green rectangle in half lengthwise, so the raw edges of those hems are hidden. Sew along the midline of this half-rectangle. This is the hull.

Step 3
Line up the long, raw edge of this green hull (wrong side, whatever that is) with the diagonal edge of the red triangle (right side). Using 1/4"seam allowance, sew to attach the hull to the red triangle.

This is half the strawberry. Press this seam open.

Step 4
Position this on a lower corner of the one outer bag piece and pin (on just the green hull) in place.

Flip the red triangle up and sew close to the diagonal edge (about 1/8") to attach to the outer bag piece. Flip the red triangle back down and sew close to the edge (about 1/8") to attach the other two sides of the triangle to the outer bag piece.
Resist the urge to top-stitch on the edge of the diagonal for now - save it for Step 15.

Step 5
Repeat Steps 1-3 to make the other half of the strawberry.
Repeat Step 4 to attach the other half of the strawberry to the opposite corner of the other outer bag piece i.e. in mirror image.

Step 6
Make the straps whichever way you usually make straps.

Step 7
Position one strap hanging downwards from the upper edge of one outer bag piece. Pin in place and sew close to the edge (about 1/8") to attach.

Step 8
Repeat Steps 6-7 for the other strap and the other outer bag piece.

Step 9
Place both outer bag piece together, right sides facing, so the strawberry corners are touching. Sew the side seam of the bag that has the strawberry corner in it. Open out.

Step 10
Insert the drawstring cord through the cord stop , then separate and (using a safety pin) thread through the channels of the green hulls as shown.

Step 11
Place both outer bag pieces together again, right sides facing and pin together. Insert 1" of both ends of the drawstring cord out of the bottom of the bag and tie a knot.
Sew around the bottom and remaining side of the outer bag. Sew over the drawstring cord several times to secure. Trim the corners, turn right side out and set aside.

Step 12
Complete the inner bag - sew the 2 sides and bottom seam, leaving an opening of about 4" in the bottom seam for turning out.

Step 13
Insert outer bag (turned right side out) into the inner bag (turned wrong side out) so the right sides of both bags are touching. Tuck the straps in between the two layers. Sew around the upper edge i.e. the bag opening to connect both bag layers.

Step 14
Turn entire bag right side out through opening in the inner bag and sew the opening shut.Top stitch around the top edge of the bag.

Step 15 (optional but very useful)
Pin the outer bag to the inner bag in the area of the strawberry corner- you are going to sew through the two bag layers and the strawberry corner. Top-stitch close to the hull-strawberry seam, all around the strawberry. This line of stitches holds the inner bag in place inside the outer bag.

Here's the completed bag:

Scrunch it up, stuff it in the strawberry

and pull the drawstring cord to close the hull-opening.

Make more to give away (you know you want to),
throw in purse/car and wait for the summer farmers' markets to begin!

P.S. I am quite sure these have been around for a long time. I am also quite sure you can make these into beets, onions, radishes, turnips and other bulbous vegetables and fruit. I'm going to stop at strawberries, though, and let you guys take it from here! And please come back and share what you've made!


  1. Can I tell you how awesome you are? How brilliant, and generous to boot?! Thank you so much. My girls will flip for these, especially since we just found out my oldest (almost 8) is, in fact, *not* allergic to strawberries as we first suspected! She's been living off of them ever since. Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for usual!

  3. fabulous! thanks. I always need a few bags in the car just in case. Very summery cute.

  4. So very cute! I've not seen this before, but really need to make one. Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. THanks so much for this. I only realized these sort of bags existsed about 3 weeks ago. A friend of mine brought one into the office and we tried to deconstruct the pattern. Now, you have done it for us!! and a strawberry one is so much cuter! Thanks, Lier.

  6. OMG I absolutely love this! What a wonderful idea. I am going to make some of these as soon as I can - I love it!!!!!

  7. So so cute! I have not seen these before!! (So if anything, you're the SECOND to last person on the planet to have found them...)

    I'd thought about giving my kid's preschool teachers each a bag that tucks up small, with a card something along the lines of "Teaching ____ for a few hours each week may seem like a SMALL thing" {photo of child with tucked up bag} "but it's had a HUGE impact." {photo of child holding opened up bag filled with stuff} This design would be so cute for that!!! Thanks for the how to!!!

    (Now just need to get some good thin strong nylon...)

  8. such a cool tutorial! thank you!

  9. I made a few of them some time ago to gice as gifts, now I want to make one for me... I found the pattern-instructions on a German website.
    It looks very cute as a strawberry !

  10. I am in awe -- your creativity is so amazing and your generosity in providing these instructions is just so, so great! Thank you!

  11. I guess I'm the last person on the planet to know about these. Way cool and I love the red checks with the red w/white dots together.

  12. This is more than just amazing. It is sew cool! I am itching to make one for my purse collection!

  13. I love this--and had not seen these bags. I am so excited, just need to find the cord and closure. Thanks so much

  14. it seems so easy when you do it !! thanks a lot for sharing, i saw this idea before but didn't know how to i just have to try !

  15. Hi everyone - I tried to answer some of your questions individually but horrible blogger just doesn't record email addresses. So I hope you'll be back to read this.

    Expatriate Buckeyes: I'm glad I'm not the only one who just discovered these. Actually I think I might have seen them long long ago (like the year before last) on some website that may or may not have been an obscure blog - I don't remember) but forgot all about them till now.

    Janet: Any thin cord will work. Even ribbon, if the cord-stop can hold it in place. The cord-stops can be found in a craft store. I haven't actually looked for them in a place like JoAnn, but it is possible they can be found there. Otherwise, google them and you might be able to find them on etsy/ebay.

    K: I know your email addy by heart, but still wanted to reply here so other people can read.
    Love the idea for the teachers' bags!
    The nylon fabric I bought from JoAnn for another purpose, and this was my remnant. It is like $7 a yard. And only one kind/thickness. Not happy. Alternatively, I also buy rip-stop nylon from Mill End, and they have different kinds, colors etc. If you use a single layer, you'd have to make french seams or use serger or whatever. I always dislike exposed seams allowances, finished or otherwise, so I did a double-layered bag. Problem: it gets bulky. So I had to make the strawberry corner bigger.

  16. No, you're not the last person on the planet to find these - I'm definitely in that category! Those are super cute and I'm so excited for a sewing tutorial that isn't related to small children (because I don't have any) so I can get going on it right away! Well, after a trip to the fabric store of course (I was just there today - before reading this post!).

  17. Love these!! I'm linking over at my new blog:

    Thank you!!!! So, so, so cute.

  18. I saw a lady on the subway today with one of these strawberry bags hanging on her purse! And I thought, hey that's so cool, I even know how to make one now! Thanks for the tutorial, it's on my list of things to make. :)

  19. This is SO COOL!!! The strawberry bag is cute enough just being a strawberry bag, but then there's a tote bag inside?!?! You ROCK.

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  20. Thanks so much for the tutorial. The bag is so cute and practical!

  21. I can't wait to try this! I just pulled two cord stops off of my kid's jacket and wondered what I could use them for :) ~Sara

  22. I've never seen these! Soooo cute and thanks for the great looking tute to make them.

  23. I've never seen these, but I'm going to use up some of my stash on this. I don't have any red fabric for strawberries, but I may make a carrot!

  24. You have no idea how much I love this! You are awesome!

  25. This is AMAZING! Thank you so much! I'll be linking.

  26. This is really neat!!! I've never seen any like this before, so thank you so much for sharing! I think these will make awesome gifts!

  27. This is really cute. Your tutorial is so clear! I appreciate how you label the right side/wrong side of the fabric. I am adding this project to my summer to-do list.

  28. Wow! I LOVE this! can't wait to make it! Thanks for posting.

  29. this is so friggin' cute! they'll make awesome presents for my mom and all my gfs! :D

  30. This is uber genius!!

    I notice the same bag on sale, but I never knew you could make it on your own!

    Now I wish I can sew. SERIOUSLY SEW!

  31. oh love this. I would buy it just for the strawberry...but the fact that it opens into a bag! Brilliant!

    Followers giveaway@

  32. Love the tutorial. Thanks so much. I recently saw one of these but it was a fish at the bottom corner. Very cute. With your tutorial I am going to try to replicate it and use it as a quick gift for friends at Xmas - a long way away but if I start now I should have a couple done by December. Thanks again

  33. This is just awesome!!!!!!!!! I just bought one of these about a month ago and with shipping costs I paid $13 for just ONE of these. It just made me sick to pay that much. The shipping they charged was actually almost double the cost of the bag itself and they charged twice the cost for shipping than they actually had to pay. I was not very pleased by that at all. I contacted them and they said it was 'handling'. LOL To put this into an envelope and print a shipping label cost them $4 more?
    Anyway, I was hoping to figure out how to make more of them but you have just saved me the frustration of doing that.

  34. I am so glad I found this! I need to make several small presents and these will be perfect.
    I have not seen bags like this - only the ones that roll up.
    Thank you

  35. oh Lier you're the best!!! thanks thanks thanks!!! for this project!!

    I made one today. You can see it here

    I even linked you on my blog!! Oh I just LOVE you for sharing this tutorial!!

  36. I love this strawberry bag. Thank you.

  37. Thank you very much!!!

    All the best ; )


  38. Olá,eu sou brasileira, adoro todo tipo de artesanto.Seu blog é lindo,criativo e vc muito talentosa.Parabéns.
    Voltarei sempre aqui e obrigada por compartilhar coisas tão lindas.beijos.Tania

  39. I love these little bags...thanks so much for the tutorial for them! I'm including them in my Friday Favorites feature this week!

  40. I'm here via a tweet from VictorianaQuilt. I've never seen anything like this! Thanks for sharing! This is going on my "To Make for Christmas" list!

  41. nadiah athirah binti abdull rahimApril 13, 2011 at 4:20 AM

    how to buy this bag?
    and how much this bag one?

  42. I also found this via a tweet from VictorianaQuilt. I think it's a fabulous idea and have also never seen this before. Thank you so much for sharing.

  43. Here in Germany we also have those bags. You can buy them in drugstores and supermarkets for 2€ or so. But the tutorial ist great! I will definetely sew a few of those lovely strawberries for all my family and friends... :)

  44. Just stumbled across this and think it will make a great teacher's gift for the end of the year!

  45. Hi there! I just wanted to let you know I featured this tutorial, with a link to this post, on my blog at:

    Thanks for sharing this magical tutorial!

  46. Wow. I like strawberrie and I like your blog. Great.

  47. I have a couple of these bags - oddly, one is a strawberry, the others are roses. I always get "OMG those are so CUTE" when I whip them out in the checkout line so I guess even now many people haven't seen them. Love the ripstop nylon because they weight NOTHING so throwing one or two in my purse doesn't make it any heavier and they squish into nothing. My rose ones actually have a chunky plastic clip on them as well, so I can clip one to any sort of "hardware" or a strap on my purse. Great directions BTW. I might have to try to make a couple more of these :-)

  48. It's so cute! I'm linking over to my blog.
    Thanks for sharing

  49. I've seen different tutorials on this strawberry bag and I have to say: yours is defenitely the best! Thank you for such a great and well explained tutorial. My bag looks super professional (and I'm only a beginner in sewing)!


  50. I just found this today. Very kewl! I've never seen this style of bag before. Thank you for sharing!

  51. These are sooo cute! What a great idea. Thank you for sharing your hard work and creativity!

  52. What a great tutorial - it combines my loves for sewing, shopping and being green! I like it so much, I included it on my blog...

  53. You can too make only the strawberry as a bag ( sorry for my bad english im not good in it)

  54. You are only the second to last person to hear of these - I am the last person to hear any thing, including this. These are absolutely darling and I cannot wait to find some red and green fabrics to make some. I think I have a red plaid shirt of DH to use for the strawberries. So cute I cannot stand it - thank you!!!

  55. Bonjour, merci pour ce partage, je vais faire une collection de fraises pour offrir à mes amies
    A bientôt.

  56. Bonjour,
    Merci pour le partage, je vais faire beaucoup de fraises pour offrir à mes amies pour l'inauguration de mon atelier.
    A bientôt

  57. I remember when they sold these free with ribena in malaysia. good times...

  58. Can you please explain step 4 further .Because when you said flip the corner and stitch will it not cover the opening to crunch the bag inside

  59. Donde esta el botón me gusta para clickearlo, me encanto tu espacio

  60. io l'ho comperata bella e fatta ma di certo questa sarà più resistente :)

  61. You can purchase these little fab bags at the Dollar Tree.

  62. You mention rip-stop, is there a right side and wrong side to that material?

  63. very nice tutorial. I made one of these for myself, you can see the result here . Thank you for the tutorial

  64. I was all day today doing this (i don't own a sewing machine, so, by hand it is) and it was super fun! I love sewing things, but usually everything ends up thrown in a drawer. THis cutie, however, will go with me to all my grocery runs :)
    I used what is probably a thicker fabric, so the handles don't fit the strawberry, but they have a cute green leaves pattern, so it doesn't look bad, here's a pic :
    so thanks for the tutorial!! xx

  65. this is cute I am always reading the tutorial and it is on do list do you have the pattern for apple or a carrot instead of strawbrry

  66. Wow, great gift idea! I'm 13 and I spent a few hours making one of these for my mum. I changed the colour and pattern slightly to make a little Christmas tree as a Christmas present for her. Thanks again for the great idea!

  67. <3 Très joli sac ; merci

  68. I have a bunch of these bags (including the strawberry, a bunch of grapes, a lime, a lemon slice, a watermelon slice, a jack-o-lantern, a carrot and a candy corn--these two being conical instead of bulbous, of course--and a little squarish one that's the head of Frankenstein's Monster... I may have a bit of a problem, heh) and I adore them. They're so handy, and adorable to boot! It hadn't occurred to me to make my own! Thanks so much for the tutorial. :D

  69. I have been making these a LOT here recently. My family loves them. However, you have some little different steps to do that make them even cuter than they already are! So, thanks!!

  70. thanks for the detailed tutorial,
    I made one..hurray, turned out nice.

  71. How do you topstitch for step 15 without getting the other side of the bag as well? My machine lets you take off a bit of the base, but I don't think it's small enough to get all the way to the corner... Or do you hand stitch?

    1. Ruth: try sewing inside-out. Turn the entire bag WS out. Slide the bag under your presser foot so that the outside of the bag faces up and the lining side faces down (i.e. it touches the throat plate of your machine). Now you should be able to sew through just one side of the bag and also turn around the corner to the other side.

  72. THANK YOU X A MILLION....... I am a retired Nurse and I plan on giving my friends all one of your beautiful bag.... thank you again.

  73. Love it. Am about to start stocking fillers! Thank you!

  74. Thank you so much for this pattern. You used to be able to buy these fold away bags from supermarkets but they have stopped doing them now ( and my strawberry one has just literally worn out). Time to use some of my fabric stash.

  75. Thank you so much for this pattern. You used to be able to buy these foldaway bags from supermarkets but they don't do them any more (and my strawberry one has literally worn out through lots of use). Time to reduce my fabric stash me-thinks.


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