I sew under the name linuxchic at BurdaStyle and for Christmas decided to make Charlie Bags for my kids’ teachers and my brother’s girlfriend. They are quick and let you shop for your necessities in style. If you have a large family, you can never have enough shopping bags and frankly, I don’t like buying the reusable ones that are store branded. They are cheaply made and just plain ugly.
You can use any fabric you have laying around (although cotton, canvas, or muslin would work best) and follow this pattern at BurdaStyle. I found this HowTo posted on upcycling pillowcases into Charlie bags and used it for my guide. I had some great old pillowcases I picked up at a second hand store just waiting to be used and thought this project would be ideal for them. I finished the edges with a simple overlock stitch on my old Singer to prevent raveling. All in all it only took an hour per bag and as I whipped them out I got even quicker.
These bags are roomy and fold up into a tiny little package to toss into your purse or diaper bag to keep handy. Using thread I had already and any old pillowcase, you can have great shopping bags for little to no money and they look great!