How to Make Bags

Fabric bags
Fabric bags (Image: Images by Natasha Lawrence)

Bags are made of different materials such as paper, vinyl or fabric, in different sizes, for different purposes. Some are simple and others are decorative; all are functional. Make a few fabric bags with handles to use for shopping, as a beach bag or to pack a lunch. These can also be made as gifts.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium-weight fabric (solid or printed), 18 by 36 inches
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinated-color thread
  • Double-fold binding tape, 1/2 inch wide
  • Iron

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Lay the fabric flat on a work table, aligning all the edges. Fold it lengthwise, right side in. With scissors, cut the fabric in half along the fold.

On the sewing machine, using coordinated thread, straight-stitch 1/4 inch inside the edges on three sides of the two layers of fabric, each side being 18 inches long. Leave one end open.

Turn the bag right side out. With scissors (closed) from the inside of the bag, gently push along the seams and into the corners to create the intended form of the bag. Press the fabric bag with a hot iron to make a neat finish around the edges.

Cut two pieces of double-fold binding tape 25 inches long. Straight-stitch each piece close to the edges. Put aside. These are the handles that will be attached to the fabric bag.

Slip one end of the double-folded binding tape over the edge of the opening of the bag at one end of the bag where the seam is. Make sure the fabric edge is well inside the double-folded binding tape. Straight-stitch the double-folded binding tape along the edge, securing it to the bag. Do this in short steps until the entire opening of the bag is finished with the tape.

Hold two ends of the double-folded binding tape handles (created in Step 4) together inside the bag seam on one side 1/2 inch. Slip this under the sewing machine needle and secure the handles to the bag by back and forth motions four or five times. Do the same to the other ends of the handles on the opposite side of the bag at the seam.

Tips & Warnings

  • Straight pins can be used, if desired, to secure the double-fold binding tape to the opening of the bag before sewing.
  • This is a simple bag design that can be made in different sizes. The handles should be adjusted in size accordingly.
  • The bags can be lined with a lighter fabric, cut in the same size as the outer part of the bag.
  • Fabric bags are reusable and washable.
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