Canvas bags are a great alternative to using plastic or paper shopping bags. There is a simple way to make canvas bags that will take about 30 minutes from start to finish and will create a bag that will not only be useful when shopping, but also handy for everyday use. The instructions below are for an easy to make bag that will be 16x20 inches with a large front pocket.
Step 1 - Buy the CanvasWhen buying the canvas for your bag, it is important to buy high-quality material. Though it may cost a little more, the better quality will allow for a durable bag.
Step 2 - Cut the CanvasHave 1½ yards of canvas cut. While the bag is only 16x20 inches, you will need the extra fabric for the handles and front pocket.
Step 3 - Make the PatternKeeping the fabric folded, use a pencil and draw the measurements of the bag onto a stiff pieces of paper or cardboard. Add 2 inches to both the length and the height to allow for a 1 inch seam on each side of the bag and on top and bottom. You will end up with 2 pieces for the bag, one for the front and one for the back.
To make the pattern for the pocket, again use the same paper and measure a square that is 10x10 inches. Unfold the fabric, and cut one piece for the pocket. Cut 2 strips of paper that are 20 inches long and 3 inches wide for the handles for the bag.
Step 4 - Lay Out the PatternLay the fabric out on a flat surface. Position the pieces of paper or cardboard on the fabric so that there is a minimal amount of scrap fabric left over. Butt the pieces up next to each other with about ½-inch in between the pieces. The extra piece of fabric can be used again for another project.
Step 5 - Cut the PiecesUse a rotary blade or sharp sewing scissors to carefully cut out the pieces of the bag. Make sure that the pieces are cut exact so that they are not uneven.
Step 6 - Assemble the BagTo assemble the bag, begin by ironing a hem on all four sides of the pocket piece. Sew it to the front piece of the bag. Turn the bag so that the pocket faces in. Then, sew both the front and back together, leaving a 1-inch seam on the bottom and sides. Turn the bag right-side out. Sew a hem 1-inch wide into the top of the bag.
To make the straps, fold each piece in half and sew along the side. Turn the straps right-side out and sew them to the front and back of the bag, 3 inches from the center of both sides of the strap. When you are done, the bag is ready to use.
Making a canvas bag is an eco-friendly way to carry groceries and everyday items. Try using different colored canvas or paint patterns to create a one-of-a-kind statement.