As our awareness of the impact of plastic shopping bags on our environment increases, so has the popularity of reusable bags. The cloth Market Tote is a great option if you'd like to make your own -- it's very easy to construct, and because it requires only about 1/2 yard of fabric to make one about the same size as those plastic bags you get at the market, it's fairly inexpensive as well. You can use your serger, or your sewing machine -- I used both for bag shown in this tutorial. So here we go! I'll show you how easy it is to make one. Click on "Read more" to continue.Step 1:
I started by creating a tissue pattern from a plastic bag I got from the market. Start by cutting the very top of the bag handles off, and then the sides that you have one flat layer of plastic as your starting template. As you can see, I folded the tissue to make the pattern a little bit smaller so that it would fit on a 1/2 yard piece of fabric.
Place your pattern tissue with the handles on the fold of your fabric so that when you cut, you will end up with one fabric piece. That fold you see at the side of the fabric is just where I folded a 1 yard piece of fabric so that I could cut 2 bags at once.
Hem the outer, and inner edges of the handles. There are several options for finishing the handles.
You can serge the edges, and then hem on the sewing machine as I did here.
You can serge the edges, and not hem, leaving the serged edge exposed.
If you don't have a serger, you can finish the edges with an over-cast stitch on your sewing machine.
A bias tape covered edge will work well.
If you have a rolled hem foot for your sewing machine, that's also a good option to finish the bags. That's the method I used on the white bag shown at the start of this tutorial.
Note if you're using a serger to finish the edges of the handles: be sure to dis-engage your blade otherwise you'll have problems rounding those sharp curves.
With the bag folded over at the handles, and the right sides of the fabric together, sew the body of the bag together.
Here's the finished bag. I added the screen printed design after I cut the bag, but before I sewed it up.