Here is a tutorial for the market bags that I made. It is not an original pattern; I copied it from a bag that I saw in a store. The only thing special about it is the way the square bottom is made. The measurements given are for a nice-sized grocery bag, but it could easily be adjusted to other sizes. I think it would make a great lunch sack in a smaller size. Maybe I’ll make some for back-to-school in the fall.
Fabric requirements: 1/2 yd of a medium to heavy weight fabric like twill or denim
Fold in half with wrong sides together. Cut three inches off of the selvage edge (not the fold).
Measure 2 inches from the folded edge.
Fold the upper half of the fabric along the 2 inch line. I do this at the ironing board. Place ruler along the fold, fold the fabric back again, slide out the ruler (VERY IMPORTANT – DO NOT IRON YOUR RULER), then crease the fold with the iron. Carefully flip the entire piece over and repeat on the other side.
Now you should have right sides together with a tuck folded into the bottom, like an “M”.
Sew the side seams with about a 3/8″ seam allowance. Finish the edges. (I miss my serger.)
There you go. Check out the cool bottom of the bag. Isn’t that a lot faster than sewing a flat bag and putting in the square bottom after?
To finish the top edge, fold down about 3/8″ and press. (Somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″ – I just eyeball it, this isn’t a custom-fit garment.)
Then fold down about 1 1/4″ and press again. Sew along the the bottom fold line.
To make the handles, take the two long pieces that you cut off at the beginning. Fold in half, right sides together and press. Sew along the long side with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn right side out and press.
Tuck the raw ends under, and pin onto the bags on a place that feels comfortable to you. Before sewing, check to make sure that the handle is not twisted, or this will be very uncomfortable when you carry it.
Sew the handles onto the bag. Sewing a box with an “x” in the middle is a traditional way of sewing a handle on securely.
You’re done! How fast and easy was that? I think I could make a bag in less time than it took me to write the tutorial. I hope you like it.