8 steps to sew your zero-waste fabric pouch

Monday, June 22, 2020

Another quick and useful sewing project that I make often is a reusable fabric pouch. It is an ideal project for beginners, but also great to get rid of fabric scraps, upcycle some old shirts, curtains or blankets.

Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still hand-sew this bag too!

There are indeed many ways of sewing a reusable produce bag, but here is the quickest way I found.

diy pouch from fabric scraps

Material for a little drawstring pouch:

I used the measurements below, but they are there to give some indications only: you can (and should!) vary the sizes depending on the size of the bag you want to have, or depending on the fabric scraps at your disposal.

  • 2 x pieces of natural fabric such as cotton or linen: 35 x 25cm (14 x 10 inches)
  • String: 1meter (40 inches)
  • Sewing classics: a thread, a needle, a safety pin, scissors, measuring tape or ruler, iron

For hand-sewing:

  • Assemble the bag with a hand-sewn running stitch

    material to sew a pouch

    8 steps to sew a fabric pouch

    1. Cut out the fabric. Use a zigzag stitch (or overlock) to keep it from fraying and add strength.

      two pieces of fabric scraps

    2. Starting 4 cm (1.5 inches) from the right corner, sew all around the pouch until you get to 4 cm from the left corner.

      step three to sew a drawstring bag

    3. Fold the top raw ends to the inside and sew along in a V-shape to make the edges clean. Do that on the other side as well.

      sewing raw edges

    4. Fold the top fabric over, leaving a gap to insert the string later on. You can iron it and pin along to make the pouch easier to sew.

      reusable produce bag

    5. Sew a line and make several stitches back and forth at the openings.

      fabric bag tutorial

    6. Cut your string in two pieces. The length of one piece must equal twice the length of the pouch.

      handmade drawstring pouch

    7. Thread the string from each side of the pouch with an attached safety pin.

      making a bag for groceries

    8. Make a knot from both sides.

      handmade pouch tutorial

    You are now ready to go zero-waste shopping with your handmade fabric pouch! :)

My personal tip

If you want to make things even easier for your shopping, you can hand-sew the weight of your pouches on top. The shop assistants would then know precisely how much weight should be deduced when the bag is full.

I mostly buy food in zero-waste shops, so I find them super useful, but it can also be a nice present for friends and family. You don’t necessarily need to use it for your shopping - you can also use it for picnics, or even as a minimalist hygiene pouch for travelling.

zero-waste pouch


Here is a shortened 5 steps tutorial of the main steps for this little pouch tutorial:

  1. Cut the fabric and sew an overlock/zigzag stitch
  2. Assemble the fabrics 4 cm from edge
  3. Sew raw-edges to the inside
  4. Sew a line for the string
  5. Insert the strings

sum-up tutorial for a fabric pouch

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