Oh my word…..I am SO excited to welcome our very newest contributor to Make It and Love It — Jill from Snugglebug University! Jill has some serious talent in those fingers of hers and has an eye for sewing construction. I think my favorite thing over on her site, are her darling plush toys….ack, so cute!!! Jill will be joining us around here, so be sure and show her some love! And Jill’s project today is absolutely genius — turning an inexpensive rug into a sturdy market bag. Absolutely love it!! And welcome Jill! :)
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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University, and I’m so excited to be here with a fun DIY farmer’s market bag tutorial!
If I had to give one secret to surviving “mommyhood” it would be having lots and lots of bags. There’s the dance bag, and the soccer bag, and the swim bag, and now….THE FARMERS’ MARKET BAG! Seriously. though, having dedicated bags is the only way I stay organized.
Our local farmers’ market is a big deal in our town. We take a picnic blanket, bring or buy dinner, and sit around listening to music as our kids run around and hula hoop with their friends. We snatch up the best market deals right before we leave, and leave with our bag filled with local produce.
My farmers’ market tote bag is made out of an Ikea rug, which I scored for less than $4 a few weeks ago at my local Ikea. All in all, it’s a simple tote bag with just a few special details.
The bottom is squared off to make it stand up and it’s fully lined with a snap closure.
It has an embroidered farmers’ market tag.
Leather straps finish the bag off.
And to think it all started out from this, an Ikea Signe Rug!
The best part about using a rug for the exterior of the bag is that it makes it super durable.
Want to make one too?
– My finished bag is about 19 inches wide and 14 inches tall (plus the height of the straps).
– Some sewing machines handle thick fabrics better than others. I sewed my bag with the same type of needle that I’d use for denim and I didn’t have any problems. If you are worried about the strength of your seams, it’s fine to double (or triple) stitch your seams for extra strength.
– Check out the Sewing 101 post, for more help.
To get started, cut off the fringe of your rug. Cut your lining fabric to the same size. Set aside.
The farmers’ market tag is made from a piece of fabric (embroidered with fruit and the farmers’ market words) mounted on top of another piece of fabric, which is then attached to the tote bag.
To begin making the farmers’ market tag, cut out the fruit pieces from scraps of felt.
(copy and paste the image below to use as a pattern)
Use a pencil to transfer the words “Farmers’ Market” to your fabric tag piece. Embroider the words with embroidery floss (I used a simple split stitch), and hand stitch the felt fruit to attach them. (Here is a good resource for embroidery stitches if you are unfamiliar with the split stitch.)
I used Pellon Wonder Under fusible interfacing to mount my embroidered piece of fabric onto another backing piece of fabric, but you could instead fuse your embroidered tag directly on to your bag front. (Don’t know much about fusible interfacing? Check out this post for more information.) Be careful when ironing your felt. The felt I used was a wool blend felt (which can be ironed). The more common type of felt (made from recycled bottles) will melt horribly, so make sure you know what you are using.
If you decide to mount your tag on another piece of fabric, here’s a little trick to fold down the edges nicely. Use an iron to press down the corners, THEN fold over the sides.
Pin this to what will become the front of your bag. I centered mine horizontally by eyeballing it, but you could certainly be more exact and measure it out. Make sure that you leave enough room from the top of the bag, as you will be finishing this edge off. I arranged mine so that the top of the tag was about 3 inches down from the top edge of the bag and then sewed around the edges of the tag. If you’d like your tag to be even more secure, feel free to use fusible interfacing as well.
As mentioned above, I sewed around the edges of the tag with my sewing machine, securing the tag to my bag front. I then used embroidery floss to just do a quick stitch at the edges of the tag to make it look like the tag is just tacked on (Yep, it’s purely decorative!)
Now we’re going to switch gears and turn to the inside of the bag for a minute, and attaching the snap. I always worry that my snap is going to pull through my lining fabric, so I like to fuse an extra small piece of fabric to the wrong side of the lining– where the snap is going to be attached. I plan so that the snap is about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the fabric and I sew a square around the added fabric reinforcement (fused on) to make sure it is attached well. The snap front goes on one end of the lining piece, while the corresponding side goes on the other side of the lining piece.
Position the back part of the snap and mark. I use a seam ripper to cut the mark, allowing you to fit your magnetic snap’s prongs through the fabric. Put on the back and then fold the prongs down. Repeat with the other side of the snap on the opposite side of the lining. Double check to make sure that the two sides of the snap line up when your lining fabric is folded in half.
Alright, now that the snap front and snap back are secured to your lining, it’s time to sew up the sides of the bag. The next few steps are variations of what you’ve seen before in the basic tote tutorial.
Place the right sides of your fabric together. Start by sewing up the side seams. I use a slightly larger side seam for the lining (3/4 inch instead of 1/2 inch) than I do for the outside of the bag.
Next you’ll need to square out the bag. Pull out one of the corners until you have a nice pointed tip. Sew about 2.5 inches down from the tip. If you are worried about eyeballing it, just go ahead and draw a straight line where you are supposed to sew.
Here’s what they look like all sewn up and turned right side out.
Then place the outside of the bag INSIDE of the lining bag such that the RIGHT side of the lining and the RIGHT side of the bag are facing each other. Match up the side seams of the lining and exterior together and pin them in place.
Sew a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the top of your bag, leaving half of the backside of the bag open (I basically leave open just from the snap to the side seam on the backside of the bag). Turn the bag right-side out, by pulling the exterior of the bag through the hole.
Next, I attached the straps onto the bag using heavy duty hand sewing thread and strong needle (I actually used a 4 inch needle used for doll making, because it was what I had on hand). I sewed around each handle several times, just to make sure that the straps were very secure.
Tada! Your bag is DONE!
Time to go fill it up with some lovely summer produce!
Wasn’t that fun?!
Thanks so much for having me as a guest contributor on Make it and Love it!
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Are you inspired?
We’ve got a lot of great re-purposing ideas to keep those creative juices flowing. Try these on for size: