(Or How to Make a Shopping Bag)
After the success of the Grocery Coupon Network giveaway of my shopping bags, I thought you might like to know how I make my bags.
1. Cut fabric. I use outdoor fabric like you can find at JoAnn Fabrics. Don’t worry, I didn’t pay full price. If I did, I would have to charge four times what I do, but that is the quality of the fabric. You will need: 2 pieces 14 1/2” x 18” for the front and back
2 pieces 6” x 18” for the sides
2 pieces 6” x 14 1/2” for the bottom (I double layer for strength)
2 pieces 2 1/2” x 18” for the handles
2. For the handles, fold in 1/4” toward the center lengthwise on each side, press. Fold in 1/4” toward the center again, stitch.
3. Sew the short edge of a side to the short edges of and two bottom layers. In this example, the tan piece is what will show on the outside of the bag, the brown piece will show on the inside of the bag. I sew a straight stitch 1/4” from the edge, and an overlocking stitch to prevent fraying.
4. Next, align the long side of the front piece with the long side of the side piece, stitch from the top, stopping 1/4” from the bottom edge as shown. Again, do the straight stitch and the overlocking stitch.
5. After you have sewn both sides to the front piece, align the bottom edges together of the front and bottom pieces. Stitch with the straight and overlocking stitches.
6. This is what the bag looks like from the inside at this point. Now, repeat steps 4 and 5 for the back of the bag.
7. Next, for the top of the bag, press under 1/4”, then turn again 1/2” hem. Sew two lines of top stitching as shown. The first, 1/8” from the edge, the second 3/8” from the edge.
8. Attach the handles 3 1/2” from each side, forming a U shape. Underlap the handle edge 1 1/2” from the edge of the bag. Pin. Stitch the handles to the bag along the top stitching lines. Then, also stitch along the edges of the handle below the top stitching lines, forming a square, with an X through the middle of the square. Repeat for each handle end.
9. Turn the bag right side out. Stitch a top stitch row along the sides and bottom, front and back. This adds strength and form to the bag, as well as making the bag look more professional.
10. And here is the finished bag. I don’t line the bags because they are intended for groceries, but if you wanted to line your bag, cut pieces for the front, back, sides, and bottom out of lightweight cotton. Sew as directed, but leave inside out. Place inside the outer bag. Then when hemming the top of the bag sew the two parts together.