Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reusable Shopping Bags (Part 2)

The next part of the bag does the lining and the outer fabric tandem. So here goes. As I did embroidery on this bag, I had to wait until it was completed before I ironed on the interfacing.

  • Pin and sew the outer fabric along the side seam. Press the seam open.

  • Next, lay the fabric flat with the seam allowance folded together and press the top and bottom (a couple of inches) to mark the center fold line. Do for both the lining and the outer fabric.

  • Reopen the back seam and pin the bottom of the bag matching the center front fold line and the seam. Pin across the bottom and sew.
  • Press the bottom seam open. When I do this, I have a little triangle show up at the edges. I have a wooden tailor press to do this with.

  • Lay the bag flat on the ironing board and iron up the side seams about 4 to 5 inches. These marks are important.
  • Put your hand into the bag and down to the corner. Form a triangle with your hand. 

  • The bottom seam is at the front and the pressed seam is at the back of your hand. Remove your hand and align the seam to the fold and pin in place.


and the back side


  • Using a ruler, draw a line 3” down from the tip of the triangle.


Mark all four corners (outer and lining) and sew on the lines you made. I use a chalk marker but others have used a blue or purple marker. A pencil works also.

  • Press the triangles towards the bottom seam. Steam out the side press marks.

  • Lay the bag out flat and grab the points on either long side. Give a small tug so they are on grain.

  • Add the handles. They go 2” from the center front and back and are a total of 4” apart.

  • Three step zigzag the handles in place close to the raw edge.

  • Place the outer bag into the lining with right side facing. Pin at the center front and back. Taking the bag at the center front and back and give a tug. Start pinning around the top.



  • Sew around the top and pull the bag out through the opening in the lining.

  • Lay flat on the ironing board with the handles towards the outer bag. Smooth out and press the top seam. I tug at the fabric to get a flat seam line.

  • Put the lining into the bag and sharpen up the fold line. Top stitch down making sure that your fold line is fairly sharp.


  • Sew the opening in the lining by machine

  • Or by hand using a ladder stitch.

  • Give the bag a good press and it is done.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Reusable Shopping Bag Tutorial

I love to make these reusable shopping bags and have adapted a pattern by 40% to come up with this pattern.

You will need:

1 piece of fabric and lining 18” by width of the fabric for the bag

1 piece of fabric 4” by width of fabric for the handle


Interfacing for handles, bag and lining. The interfacing I use is a lightweight one but I have used craft weight when I wanted the bag to stand up on its own.

Note: My interfacing is 60” wide so I cut two pieces 18” by wide of the interfacing and one piece 4” by the width of the interfacing. If you are using 22” wide interfacing you will need to cut your pieces so they run down the length of the interfacing and you will need just over 84” of interfacing. You will be able to cut out the handles from the left over pieces.

Prep Work

  • Lay the lining and the outer fabric on top of each other so the folds are even. Cut off the selvage at the smaller piece so both are the same size.



I do these next steps first while the outer fabric is being embroidered.

  • Cut the selvage off the handle pieces and cut it into 2 pieces. Iron on the interfacing.

  • Fold each of the handles in half and press.



  • Open and then fold each edge to the center. Press.

  • Press closed and stitch on both sides using a longer stitch.


I put pins on the top side of the handles. This is the side of the handles that will show.

  • Take the lining and interface it.

  • Pin the sides together and stitch leaving a 5-6” opening in the middle part.

  • Press the seam open


By now the embroidery is done and we can start working on the outer fabric.

That will be tomorrow………………..