Posted on


I love making and using these bags!  They’re about the same size as a grocery bag, and a paper bag will fit inside perfectly. They take about a yard of fabric, so they may be made from remnants or even large scraps.  They are single-layer bags, so they are lightweight.  The French seams keep everything neat, and the pocket may be used for coupons or lists.

You will need about a yard of fabric, some scraps of lightweight interfacing (about 1/4 yard), and basic sewing materials and supplies.

For this tutorial I used about 31”, or .85 yards of quilting cotton. That’s about the minimum if you want self-fabric handles and a pocket.

The first step, of course, is to pre-shrink the fabric by machine washing and drying it, and then ironing it nice and flat.

Cut two 20” squares, one 10” square, and two 4” strips at least 18” long.

To prepare the bag front and back pieces, fuse a 2-3” strip of lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of the tops, about ¼” away from the edge. Then cut a 2 3/4″ sqaure from each bottom corner.

If you want a pocket, fuse a 2-3” strip of interfacing to the wrong side of the top of the pocket, about ¼” away from the edge. Turn under and press 1/4″ and again at 1 1/2″. Sew using a 1/2″ seam. Trim the seam and clip the corners.

Turn and poke out the corners with a large knitting needle and press.  Press under ½” all around the pocket.Pin the pocket to the front of the bag in the center, 6” down from the top edge.  Sew the sides and bottom near the edge of the pocket, making a triangle on the upper corners for extra strength.

With the WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, pin the sides of the bag together and sew with a ¼” seam.  Press open.

Flip the bag inside out so that the RIGHT SIDES ARE TOGETHER and press, keeping the top and bottom edges even.  Sew the seam again, using a ½” seam.  Congratulations!  You have just made a French seam.

Press the seams to the back of the bag and topstitch down the middle and again near the edge.

Put the bottom of the bag together in the same way as the sides, wrong sides together and then right sides together, pressing toward the back and topstitching.

With seams together, French seam the corners of the bag, matching corners and seams to make it “boxed.”  Do not press or topstitch these corner seams.

Fold the handle pieces lengthwise with wrong sides together and press.  Open up and fold each half side in toward the middle and press.  Then fold the whole strip together and press again.  You should have a 1” strip of four layers.  Topstitch close to each edge and trim to 18″.

On the outside of the bag, pin the handles 6” apart and stitch, using a ¼” seam.

Turn the bag inside out and press down ¼” and then again 1 ½”.  Pin and stitch close to the edge, keeping the handles down.

Now flip the handles up and stitch them down, making a rectangle with an “X” through it for extra strength.

You’re done – happy shopping!!!