Now everyone is sporting reusable bags, I figured it was time I updated our battered bag collection and made some lovely new cloth shopping bags. This is how to make your own.
What You Will Need:
How To Make It:
First, cut out your parts. I made mine as follows:
Bag Base - 40 x 14.5cm (I cut 2 and just used them stacked to make it a little stronger and hold shape better. Feel free to add some stiff interfacing between the layers if you want even more shape held)
Main Body of the bag - 110 x 45 - cut 1
Straps - 15 x 110cm - cut 2
Inside Pocket - 30 x 14.5cm - cut 2 (Optional, but I hate fishing around inside a giant full bag for my phone and keys so this keeps them handy at the top).
First, make your little pocket. Take your 2 pieces 30 x 14.5cm and sew them along both long edges and one short edge inside out. A quarter inch quilting foot keeps your seams uniform and your stitching straight more easily.
Clip the corners then turn right side out.
Top stitch one short edge (if you want it to look extra neat) then fold the fabric along the width so that edge is in front and the back half is a little longer than the front (enough to poke the long edge under your hem for the top of the bag, and the front piece to sit just under it). Sew up the sides leaving the top open.
Fold your 2 15x110cm pieces in half length way, right sides together. Sew down the long side so you have an inside out tube.
Turn the tube right side out and poke the ends of the raw edges under. If you find this difficult, use a chopstick to help push it through.
Top stitch along both edges of your tube and you've now got bag handles! I line my stitching up with the edge of the foot instead of the guide to also use it as a 1/8 inch stitch guide.
Sew the bottom edge of the main body of your bag to the 40 x 14.5 fabric (plus optional other layers). Start your sewing centrally on a short edge, leaving 1/4 inch seam allowance free at the start.
To go around the corners, you may want to clip them slightly so it is a slightly curved edge to follow. Leave the needle down to hold your place. Lift the presser foot and pivot the material around. When you get to the end, simply overlap your edges right sides together and stitch right up the side too. If you have a bit of excess fabric from clipping the edges, simply trim before sewing up the side.
Either use an over edge stitch on that seam with an overcast foot, stitch a zigzag very close to the edge or use pinking shears to reduce fraying.
Sew your hem down. I used a stitch guide foot to keep my stitching a uniform distance from the edge.
Stitch your straps onto the bag by drawing a box around the section of strap which is overlapping the bag, then a big cross in the centre of it. This adds strength to the join.
Then your ready to go shopping with your new handmade bags.
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