A couple weeks ago, I took an old "gift with purchase" bag and retrofitted it to carry mason jars.
When I go grocery shopping I always bring at least a few jars to buy products more cheaply by getting them from the bulk bins. Not wanting glass jars to smash together, I looked around online for a solution. You can find cheap plastic wine bottle bags or really high end custom divided bags. Neither were a good solution for me, so I came up with my own.
This basic divided bag has been so lovely to use every time I've shopped since. I've even discovered that the 1/2 gallon glass milk bottles fit!
Here's how I did it:
Mason Jar Bag Retrofit Tutorial
1.) Measure length of bag and height of sections.
I made my bag insert with six compartments for jars.
I measured the length of the bag and the height I wanted the divider to be - tall enough to keep most jars I would use from clanking together.
I wanted a double layer of fabric between each jar so doubled the size I wanted and added seam allowance.
My bag was 15" wide and I wanted the dividers to be 8" tall. I added 1" of seam allowance in both directions. As an experienced sewer I rarely do seams more than 1/4" For a little more freedom you may want to add more.
8+8+1= 17" (height doubled over, plus seam allowance)
I cut pieces approximately 17" by 16"
I'm fine with my shopping bags being a bit wabi sabi. If you prefer things to be more precise, I'd recommend careful measuring, ironing and pinning.
2.) Cut three identical pieces and sew all sides - leaving gap for turning at end.
I folded pieces over and sewed all the way around leaving a small gap for turning the piece inside out. If you put the gap at the short end of the pieces, they'll get sewn up as you attach the divider to the bag.
3.) Turn pieces right side out.
4.) Line finished pieces up and sew a single seam down the center.
You'll end up with an asterisk of finished pieces.
5.) Sew each short end to the inside of the bag.
For the first seams I turned the bag inside out and sewed them directly using the machine.
As the bag is a little smaller than most of my cloth grocery bags, I ended up sewing the side end seams by hand. With a larger bag it would be easier to fold the bag around as necessary to machine sew.
I added a simple pocket and reinforced the handles to make them more comfortable to carry.
Now I'm all set to get even Closer to Zero Waste!
For more tips and tutorials check out our other Closer to Zero Waste articles here.