I've been making a few of these market bags lately. This design has a flat bottom and can fit lots of shopping or library books inside. This particular version is made from linen I found at a flea market when we were living in Norway. All the way back in 2008! I knew it would come in handy one day. The sturdiness of the linen gives the bag a basket-like quality. I did a bit of simple hand-stitching on the front, and lined it in a red floral cotton.
But you could use any fabric you like.
Do you feel like making one too? Here's how:
YOU WILL NEED:
*strong linen or cotton (I used some strong hessian-type fabric that holds its shape well but keep in mind you could add interfacing to a floppier fabric)
*cotton fabric for the lining
*thread, scissors, sewing machine, iron, tape measure or ruler.
*First, cut the outer bag pieces. You'll need two pieces measuring 32 cms X 47cms and one piece measuring 36 cms X 13cms.
*Cut the handles from the same outer fabric: 2 pieces measuring 9 cms X 65cms
*Cut pieces for the lining- two pieces measuring 32 cms X 47 cms and one piece measuring 36 cms X 13 cms.
* Make your handles by pressing in the edges of the strips about 1cm. Then fold lengthwise, press again and stitch. Set aside.
* To construct the bag outer: take the two rectangles you cut and sew down the shorter sides, right sides together.
* Now, join the base to the bag sides. Take the smaller rectangle piece, and with right sides together, centre the long edge of it along one of the bottom edges of the main section (there will be a gap on each side of around 5cms). Now sew this seam but start a few cms in from the edge, and finish your seam a few cms before you reach the end of it. Repeat with the other side of the bottom panel.
* Attach the short edges of the bottom panel to the remaining part of the bag. Hold the short edge towards you, and match it to the bag side. Sew along this seam, then repeat on the other side. Turn the finished bag outer right-side out and press to get everything in place. (photo above shows finished base)
* Repeat the same process to make the lining. Keep the finished lining turned inside-out (no need to press it just yet.)
* To sew the two pieces together, make sure the bag is right-side out and place inside the lining piece. (Their right sides will be facing each other.) Pin them together around the top edge, making sure the seams are lined up. Take one of the bag handles and sandwich it between the lining and outer bag, with the short ends of the handles sticking out the top of the sandwich a little. I generally leave about 10 cms on each side of the handle from the bag edge. Repeat with the other handle, on the other side of the bag.
* Sew around the top of the bag sandwich. Leave a gap between one set of handles. Then turn your bag inside-out through this gap, then stitch all around the top edge, closing the gap as you go.
*You could also fit a piece of cardboard into the base if you like, and press folds into the sides of your bag to give it shape.