Start this in the morning, and by afternoon you'll have a cloth tote for the farmer's market or grocery store. For this spacious bag project maker Judy Sams Sohn chose eye-catching blue-and-white prints from Always & Forever collection by Alex Anderson for P&B Textiles.
Reusable Market Bag
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Inspired by "Market Fresh" from designer Gail Kessler

Project maker: Judy Sams Sohn


  • 1/4 yard blue print No.1 (bag body)
  • 3/8 yard blue print No.2 (bag body)
  • 1/4 yard blue print No.3 (bag body)
  • 1/2 yard blue print No.4 (bag trim, straps)
  • 3/8 yard blue floral (bag trim, pocket)
  • 5/8 yard white-and-blue print (lining)
  • 1/4 yard medium-weight, sew-in interfacing

Finished bag: 15x15-1/2x5"

Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics. Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From blue print No.1, cut:

  • 2--6-1/2x17-1/2" rectangles

From blue print No.2, cut:

  • 2--8-1/2x17-1/2" rectangles

From blue print No.3, cut:

  • 2--6-1/2x17-1/2" rectangles

From blue print No.4, cut:

  • 4--3x42" strips
  • 2--1-1/2x20-1/2" strips

From blue floral, cut:

  • 2--2-1/2x20-1/2" rectangles
  • 2--8" squares

From white-and-blue print, cut:

  • 2--16-1/2x20-1/2" rectangles

From interfacing, cut:

  • 7--1x20" strips

Assemble Bag Front and Back

1. Referring to Diagram 1, sew together two different blue print 6-1/2x17-1/2" rectangles and a blue print 8-1/2x17-1/2" rectangle to make a pieced 17-1/2x20-1/2" rectangle. Press seams toward outer edges. Repeat to make a second pieced rectangle.


2. Join together the pieced rectangle, a blue print 1-1/2x20-1/2" strip, and a blue floral 2-1/2x20-1/2" rectangle along 20-1/2" edges to make bag front (Diagram 2). Press seams toward blue floral strip. Repeat to make bag back.


3. Layer bag front and back; sew together bottom edges to make a bag unit (Diagram 3). Using tip of iron, carefully press seam open.


Assemble Pockets

1. Turn under 1/4" on top and bottom edges of blue floral 8" squares; press. Turn them under again 1/4" and press. Sew through all layers a scant 1/4" from second folded edge to hem upper and lower edges and make two pocket pieces.

2. Referring to Diagram 4, center a pocket piece on each end of bag unit, 8-1/2" from bottom seam. Baste side edges of pocket piece. Sew pocket bottom through all layers 1/4" from folded edge.


Add Straps

1. Cut and piece blue print 3x42" strips to make:

  • 2--3x63-1/2" strips

2. Cut and piece 1x20" interfacing strips to make:

  • 2--1x63-1/2" strips

3. With right side inside, fold one long edge of blue print strip over 1". Align a 1x63-1/2" interfacing strip atop folded section. Sew across short ends, securing interfacing (Diagram 5).


4. Trim excess interfacing from seam allowance and turn right side out. Turn remaining long edge of blue print strip under 1/4" (Diagram 6). Press folded long edge in place over layered side of strip. Topstitch along folded long edge to make a strap. The strap should be 1x63".


5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to make a second strap.

6. Referring to Diagram 7, pin straps to the bag unit with strap ends meeting at seam and strap inside edges overlapping pockets.


7. Beginning at bottom seam of bag unit, topstitch along one strap edge to point where bag unit's blue print No. 4 and blue floral meet (Diagram 7). Sew across strap at that seam and topstitch along strap's opposite edge back to bag unit seam; backstitch. Repeat with other end of same strap.

8. Repeat Step 6 with remaining strap, making sure ends of second strap abut ends of first strap (Diagram 7). Zigzag-stitch strap ends at bag bottom to reinforce.

Assemble Bag Body

1. Fold bag unit in half and sew together side edges (Diagram 8). Using tip of iron, carefully press seams open.


2. To shape a flat bottom for bag, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 9). Measure and mark on seam allowance 2-1/2" from point of triangle. Draw a 5"-long line across triangle, and sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric. Repeat at remaining bottom corner to make bag body. Turn bag body right side out.


Assemble Lining

1. Sew together side and bottom edges of white-and-blue print 16-1/2x20-1/2" rectangles to make lining (Diagram 10). Using tip of iron, carefully press seams open.


2. Referring to Assemble Bag Body, Step 2, shape a flat bottom for lining. Leave lining wrong side out.

Assemble Bag

1. Insert bag body inside bag lining with right sides together; straps should be between bag and lining. Align raw edges and seams. Stitch together upper edges of bag body and lining, leaving a 4" opening for turning (Diagram 11).


2. Turn bag and lining right side out through opening; hand-stitch opening closed.

3. Referring to Diagram 11, fold top blue print strip into bag to make upper edge; press. Topstitch 1/8" from upper edge to complete bag.