Shopping Bag Tutorial

 Today, I'm going to talk about what I call Little Shopping Bags.  You know those paper shopping bags with the cord or twill tape handles that some stores give you when you buy something small (and which you then use to carry things around in for months)?  I see people using bags like this to carry their lunches to work all the time.  I've been known to use them myself.  However, they're not very sturdy and they don't do well in the elements.  Also, they're ugly.  I was sure we could do better.

Making a fabric facsimile of these bags turned out to be easy.  It also gave me a chance to try out eyelets, which I'd never done before.  If you're like I was and think eyelets will be difficult to use, I'm here to tell you they're not.  Setting eyelets is very easy indeed.

Because this bag design is so simple, you can use almost any fabric you want.  Here are some of the materials I tried out:
 The pattern is simple, so it's very short.  I'm warning you, though.  I was complaining the other day about not wanting to make the same thing over and over, but I could not stop making these bags.  I made eight Sunday afternoon alone!  (That probably gives you some idea how quickly they come together.)

Have you been using a little paper shopping bag to carry your lunch?  Would you like something sturdier?  If your answer is yes, then this tutorial is for you!  This tutorial is also for anyone who wants a crafty, reusable gift bag, or just wants to see eyelets in action. 
The bag pictured above is made using a home décor weight fabric.  Some other fabrics that would work for this project are:


This project can be made in, pretty much, any size you'd like.  I've provided dimensions for three sizes here: 

Once you determine which size you're going to make, cut your exterior fabric and lining to the appropriate "panel size" as shown above.  I recommend using a lighter (no heavier than quilter's cotton) weight fabric for the lining.  Interface this panel with a lightweight fusible.  If you're making the exterior of your bag out of quilter's cotton, I recommend interfacing that panel too.   

If you're using linen or cotton, cut an interlining panel from a mid-weight sew-in interfacing.  I used Pellon 40.  If you're using oilcloth, vinyl or any heavy material that can "stand on its own," skip the interlining.  

You will also need the following materials and tools: 
-1 yard Cording or Twill Tape for handles.  Choose something that, when tied in a knot, will not slip through the eyelets.
 - 4 Large Eyelets.  If you don’t already have eyelet setting tools, be sure you buy the package called
-Eyelet Kit.  This package includes the setting tools. 
- Hammer (for setting eyelets) 
- Quilter's Ruler (for measuring gussets) 
- Heavyweight/Denim Needle (because there are lots of layers to sew through)  

Note: If you're using oilcloth, you'll also want a Teflon presser foot.  If you don't have a Teflon foot, cut some strips of tissue paper and place them between your project and your presser foot while you sew.  This will keep the oilcloth from sticking to your presser foot and can be easily torn away when you're finished sewing.

Let’s get started . . .

Prepare exterior panel.  Place your exterior panel right side up on top of your interlining panel.  Fold the whole thing in half, matching the two short sides.  Using a 1/2' seam, stitch both long sides closed.  Clip corners as shown, and press seams open.  If using oilcloth, finger press the seams open.  Don't use an iron on the oilcloth.

 Make gussets.  Open up one corner to a point, as shown.  Using your quilting ruler, mark a line 2"  (small), 2.25" (medium) or 2.5" (large) from the point.  The line should measure 4" (small), 4.5" (medium) or 5" (large) across.  Stitch along this marked line and clip off corner 1/2" from seam.  Repeat on other side.  Repeat all steps with lining panel, using a 5/8" seam allowance when sewing the side seams.

 Join Exterior and Lining Panels.  Place the exterior and lining with bottoms together, as shown.  Using a zig-zag stitch, stitch the seam allowances together on both sides.    Turn the whole thing right-side-out.  Use a zig-zag stitch to secure all layers together along the top edge, as shown at left.  Trim, if necessary, to make all layers even. 

 Hem top of bag.  Fold the top of the bag toward the inside 1/4" and press.  Fold toward the inside again, this time 1", and press.    Pin the hem you've created, then stitch in place. 
 Add eyelets.  Mark the placement of your eyelets and use sharp scissors to cut holes the exact size of the center of the eyelets.  Remember the old adage "you can always cut more, but you can't cut less" and err on the side of caution when cutting these holes.    You'll notice that there are two pieces to each eyelet.  The piece on the left in the above picture (the taller one) will go on the outside of the bag.  Place one of these through the outside, as shown at left.  Turn the bag over, so the eyelet is now on the table top, but sticking through to the inside as shown in the lower left corner.  Fit the second (shorter) piece on top, as shown below at center and, using the setting tools provided and a hammer, set the eyelet into your bag.  Repeat this with the other three eyelets.

 Now that your eyelets are all set, add handles.  Cut your yard of cord or tape in half and feed one end through one of the eyelets, from outside to inside.  Tie the end in a knot, so that it cannot slip back out to the front.  Feed the other end of the handle through the other eyelet on the same side of the bag, again outside to inside.  Adjust the handle to desired length and secure by tying a knot in the end and trimming away any excess.  Repeat with the other handle, making sure that handles are the same length.

. . . and you're done!

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1 comment:

  1. Unos bolsos bien bonitos y un estupendo tutorial. BESICOS.