Tuesday, September 24, 2019

grocery bag tutorial

Ten years ago (TEN YEARS! WOW!) I published a pattern for a grocery bag I had designed called the Nantucket bag. Since then I have modified and simplified it many times. I always get compliments from the ladies at the grocery store about my bags.... and they are so simple to make! Here's a basic, easy tutorial so you can make some of your own.
 2 bags I made from fabric I brought home from Africa

Materials needed:
fabric 20"x36" for outside of bag (depending on the weight of your fabric, you might want to interface this piece)
fabric 20"x36" for lining of bag
2 straps 20" long each (purchased webbing works great, or 2 pieces of fabric 4"x20" to make your own)

If you are making straps.....
Fuse a piece of interfacing (2"x20") in the center of each strap
Fold each edge to the center, then fold the straps in half....
edge stitch both long edges of each strap, then set the straps aside
Take your outside fabric. Fold it in half so that the folded edge is at the bottom. Then cut a 4" square out of each bottom folded corner
Refold your bag right sides together and stitch the side seams

Now box the corners by stretching out the cutout squares and sewing straight across. 

Now follow those same steps with your lining fabric. The only thing you need to do different is to leave a 3" section of one side seam unstitched so you can flip your bag right side out later on.

Add your handles to both sides of your finished outside bag piece. I found the center of each side and measured out 3" in each direction, leaving a 6" gap between each end of the handle. Baste both handles in place.
Now take your outside bag (right side out) and place it inside your lining bag (inside out). Tuck the handles inside and clip or pin around the top of your bag. Stitch around the top of the bag, making sure you catch the ends of your handles in the seam.

Turn your bag right side out through your side seam hole and stitch the hole closed. Press the top of the bag and stitch around the top of the bag to secure your lining.....
yes, I realize my fabric is sideways. oh well. it's a grocery bag!

And there you have it! I like to have a solid bottom in my bags. To do this, I cut a piece of plywood (8"x11") and then make a little "pillowcase" to slide it into, and place it in the bottom of the bag. The pillowcase is removable if it needs washing and the plywood is lightweight but never bends or breaks. 

I'm thinking grocery bags will be my go to Christmas gift this year!

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