With a loft full of fabric scraps from my interior design projects and Christmas on the doorstep it’s the ideal time to hunker down and start a production line making presents. First up is a shopping bag, this fabric makes me laugh whenever I look at it. The image of amorous pirates putting into a Caribbean port to dance away the night with beautiful sultry island girls to vibrant flamenco guitar, makes it the ideal candidate to lighten up the drudgery of any grocery shopping expedition.
I made the pattern for this large bag by cutting open the seams of a plastic supermarket bag. Transfer the pattern onto a large piece of paper that you have drawn up with a 10cm grid, 1 cm seam allowance is included (click on picture to enlarge for detail). Cut out the paper pattern, pin to fabric and cut out 2 bag shapes.
With fabric right sides out, sew seems A-B and C-D as close to the fabric edge as possible, trim fabric close to the stitching. To make a sturdy and neat French seem, turn the fabric right sides in and sew the seam again.
Finish the edges around the handles by rolling the fabric over twice, this needs a little patience, to ease the fabric at the curved corners you might need to make a few nicks in the fabric very close to the edge. As you go tack with small stitches, then machine along the folded edge before removing the tacking.
Keeping the fabric right sides out, make deap gussets on both sides by pleating fabric, then pin together. As before sew a French seam along the base of the bag. To allow for the pleated gusset, fold the handle fabric in on itself, then sew each handle closed with a French seam.