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Making Reusable Shopping Bags from Placemats

The question is “Paper or Plastic.” The answer is ‘No thank you…. I brought my own bag!’ Let’s help the planet by not using plastic bags or paper bags when we are out shopping. Lots of stores do sell the fabric reusable bags. Here’s an idea using a fabric placemat, to make your own reusable bag and upcycle at the same time.Placemat reusable bag… it’s easy to make and lots of us have fabric placemats around the house!!

Placemat Shopping Bag design by Heidi Borchers
Placemats from World Market Cost Plus

Placemat Bag 



  • Placemats 2 for the bag sides 13-½” x 19”
  • 1 partial placemat for the handles-you will need 2 strips- 2” x 21”
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread (optional)


  1. To prepare handles, on each strip, fold back ½” on each edge and stitch.
  2. Place the two placemats for bag sides, wrong sides together. Overlap about 1” each at sides, stitch the overlapped edge together on outside of placemat. Repeat with opposite side. Stitch bottom edges of both placemats together. Note (If the thickness is to thick to get through sewing machine, stitch together with a needle and thread).
  3. Measure and mark the center of the top edge of the bag. One handle will be sewn on each side of bag (see photo for placement of handle) Place each handle approx. 3-¼” from center mark (there will be a 4-½“ space between handle). Each handle edge will be approx. 3-¼” from top edge. Pin to help hold until you stitch. Stitch into place, making sure all edges are lined up. When you stitch the handle on each side for extra hold also stitch an ’x’ inside first stitching.
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I used the padded placemats to make a holder for my ipad, added velcro for closures.

I want to thank you for making the light bulb go on for me.....We have Dish for tv and I am cheap and won't pay for a second remote for the bedroom...and I have been trying to come up with some idea for something to hold the remotes to the center of our spindled headboard.....As soon as I saw the word placemat, I knew I had found what I was looking for.....I have enough pillows on the bed to cover it when the bed is made if I can't find a placemat that coordinates with my comforter...but I am now excited about making placemat and some ribbon and I have solved the age old problem of "Where is the remote?"...and I am sure I will make a few shopping bags at the same time....thanks so much!

excellent what a way to make use of things feel are not worth i have been maging shopping bags (crochet0out of plastic carry bags

I really like this, thank you. I was thinking that you could add side pockets by using another placemat or the remainder of the one used for the handles attached partway up both sides with the pattern in the opposite direction. Or inside pockets would work too, maybe on the sides to hold bottles upright.


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