SUPER Easy Reversible Farmer's Market Bag

If you can sew a straight line, you can make this ADORABLE bag. Use it for library books, an outing in the park, take it shopping, or whatever! Take it to your local Farmer's Market and fill it up with all kinds of fresh harvested goodies - especially since Fall is coming. This cute bag is fun, easy and versatile.

Make up a bunch at one time and save them for gifts for the upcoming hoildays! (You could stuff it with an EASY cafe apron, some of my good pancake mix, good syrup, something yummy from Bath & Body Works and, of course, CHOCOLATE!)

So let's get started, shall we?! Stop hyperventilating - you'll do FINE! If you can sew a straight line, use scissors without drawing blood, and iron without starting a fire - you can do this!

You'll need:
1 yard exterior fabric - washed, dried & pressed (I recommend a good cotton)
3/4 yard (maybe less, but you could use the scraps) contrasting fabric - washed, dried & pressed
scissors & pinking shears if you have them
Rotary blade, quilting ruler, mat
Marking pencil for fabric
Chocolate & a Diet Coke - for the nerves...very theraputic...revvs the 'ol engine a bit
And...note: Always backstitch to secure your stitches.

First of all, if you've never used a quilting ruler and mat before, it's SO simple - everything lines up. If you look at the picture of the ruler and mat, it's all in square inches so when you line up the ruler with the mat, you're always going to get a clean, straight cut. Just make sure your top and bottom and side lines all line up.

You're going to take your yard of exterior fabric and hold it horizontally- that means the widest part should span your arm length. Fold that in half, then lay it down in front of you with the selvages to your right (if you're right handed), then flip that up and fold it again so you have one long length of fabric and all selvages are facing to your right. You're going to first trim off all selvages - about 1/2" . The selvages are the woven edges to keep the fabric from fraying - might have a JoAnns logo or something printed on it - that needs to be cut off.

Then line up your fabric again with the ruler on your mat and cutting ruler and cut 1 piece to 16" x 14". (Being that your fabric is folded, you decide which cuts you should make - and being that it's folded, the actual size of the piece is 32 x 14)

Then cut two 4 1/2" strips for handles. You can make the handles as long or short as you'd like, (mine are 28") just remember you're going to need an extra inch or inch-and-a-half in length due to sewing.
Now cut yourself a piece of your contrasting fabric - 16 x 14" folded.

Here is my 16" x 14" piece of exterior
fabric - folded. (Total of 32 x 14)

SIMPLE VERSION: NO POCKETS. Move forward, ignoring the pocket instructions.

FOR POCKETS, I cut an extra 2 pieces of 4 1/2" x 14" of my exterior fabric for an inside pocket and 2 magazine-sized pieces for my back exterior pocket.

To make the pockets, place right sides together and sew the long sides together, ignoring the short sides. Press seams open and turn it right-side out. Press flat and you've got your interior pocket.

For the big pocket, stitch all the way around each side, leaving the top open. Press seams open, clip bottom corners (without cutting your stitches). Fold top down 1/4" & press, fold down another 1/2", press & pin in place. Stitch all the way around, starting at one of the side seams. (you've made a little mini-bag)

Unfold your main exterior piece of fabric right side out, center, and pin your pocket. Make sure the pocket is only 2-3 inches from the top of the bag because you're going to steal a couple of inches from the bottom of the bag when we make a flat bottom. (like mine feels from sitting in this chair...hehe)
With this pocket, you'll have two pockets in one - the pocket you made and the natural pocket made when you stitched it onto the bag .

Then unfold your contrasting color - right side out - and pin your smaller pocket anywhere you'd like. If you want it closer to the top of the bag, put it there. My pocket was closer to the bottom - looking at the picture it was about 6-8" from the top of the bag.

Top stitch pockets down on all sides EXCEPT the top - you know - you need that open...to put stuff in!
Because my interior pocket was so wide, I stitched down the middle of it to divide the pocket, then I stitched one more time down the middle to make a place to hold a pen or pencil. Make as many of these as you'd like. GET CREATIVE! Stitch an opening to fit your phone, iPod or that little something you can't live without.

Now you're ready to make up some handles!

Here I have two 4 1/2" x 28" strips. Fold in half and stitch all the way down. Don't worry about the
bottom edges. Clip seam with pinking shears to prevent fraying.

Carefully turn them right-side out like this. Press flat.

Top stitch on both sides. You can't see it very well here, but they're all pressed, stitched, and ready to install.

But first we need to assemble the bag.

Here we go. With your pockets now attatched, you're going to sew up two separate bags and then put them together.

First, take your exterior fabric, put right sides together, pin down. Sew down both sides. Clip your corners without cutting the stitching (see photo). Do the same thing with your interior fabric. Carefully press seams open. Your ironing board can probably accommodate half of the bag - don't worry about the corner tip - you'll get that in a second.

Put your hand inside the bag and poke your fingers into the corner to bring it up to a point. Iron it flat - inwards about 3 inches. (see photo) Do this on both pieces of the bag - your exterior & interior pieces.

Align your triangle with your mat and mark a straight line 2" from the tip. Don't forget to align your ruler, too.
Do this on both pieces of your bag. (4 corners total)

Straight stitch right on the line you drew.

Now you get to be destructive. Clip each corner piece off of both pieces of fabric.

Voila! You just created a flat bottom. Now you'll be able to carry books & things without stressing the bag.

WE'RE ALMOST DONE! Now comes the fun part.

So now we've got 4 pieces. The outside, inside, and 2 straps. Let's put it all together.

Put your inside lining, well, on the inside silly!

Make sure to line up your seams on both sides.

Here is what it should look like.

Turn it inside-out, fold bottom edge 1/4", press, then another 1" down, press & pin together - keeping side seams together.

Should look like this.

Mark your center (I just measured & used a straight pin there at the top and then eyeballed from there.) and place your strap underneath your top seam between the center and the side edge. Do this on both sides.

Should look like this.

Bring the strap up and pin it down. You're going to top stitch all the way around, so the handle construction looks flawless.

Make sure to get the handles STRAIGHT. Don't twist them.

Using your first two handles as guides, pin the last two.
Once everything is all pinned down in place, carefully top stitch all the way around the bottom of your cuff, then all the way around the top edge - beginning and ending on one of the SIDE seams. You don't want to start right in the middle where everyone can see.

And you're done! It wasn't that bad, was it?! Now you can make lots of these babies!

Let's Review:
1.) Cut 2 big pieces: exterior & interior, 2 handles & pockets
2.) Sew pockets together
3.) Sew pockets onto body
4.) Assemble handles
5.) Stitch sides of body
6.) Make flat bottom
7.) Fold, press & pin top of bag down
8.) Add handles
9.) Top stitch all the way around on bottom and top edges.
10.) Enjoy your bag

Downsize them and make small ones for little kids.

Embellish the pockets with iron-on transfers, embroidery, or ribbon & ric rac before you sew them on.

Use contrasting thread (if your lines are straight) or do fun stitch patterns like ziz zag on the pockets or top stitching.

Get creative & crazy with your own designs. You are the artist - let your imagination run! Just remember that I want to see photos!
Now get out there and get going!


Pattie said...

Hi abby do make the bags and sell them and how much for. let me know

Abby said...

Hi Pattie! (if you get this) I don't make them to sell - but I could if you wanted one. You should try making one before you buy one - they're so easy!

missliss5 said...

Absolutely incredible. Such great instructions!!!

Veronica said...

Hi, Abby, I'm a brazilian crafter. Great Instructions and great therapeutic idea: "chocolate and diet coke - for the nerves"...
Muito bom!!!

DHCHWinn said...

Loved your tutorial- just the type of bag I wanted to make! I can't wait to use it. I will send you pics of the one I made to your e-mail (not sure how to post on this page)