I have been making grocery bags form extra fabric in the stash. These two I made from an upholstery remnant that I purchased for $1.50 at a thrift store. I usually put a pocket on the front, made from scraps. I donate the bags to my congregation where they are sold for ~$10. oo each. The bags are reusable, a "green" alternative to the usual "paper or plastic".
The pattern is made from a paper grocery bag.
I made a mini version to show how it is sewn together.
Sew the bottom and side seams first. I cut this one on a fold, so it has only one side seam. Then pull the bottom and the side together to sew the remaining bottom seams. See below.
On the larger bags I turn over the top and add carry handles. This little one I lined and used ribbons for the handles.
I had so much fun making the large bags and the mini one, I decided to make a small one that is book size. This is also re-use of sorts. In the fabrics I inherited from my mother there was a bag of several fussy cut butterfly's. So here is a butterfly book bag, with polka dot lining and old buttons for decoration.
Here are the instructions for adding handles to these unlined bags. I make handles from a 4 inch wide piece of fabric, folded in half and then quarters, sew along each side about 1/4 inch in.
Mark the center of the bag on both sides and then make a mark 2 and one half inches on either side of the center point. You will have 5 inches between the handles.
Fold over the top of the bag one inch and then one inch again, press. Place the end of each handle at the mark, slipping it under the fold. Then fold the handle up so that you now have two layers of handle under the folded top.
Here are all 4 handle bases pinned in place and ready to sew down.
I then sew along the top of the bag at the base of the folded edge, when I come to a handle I sew up and around the square and end with two diagonals to form an X.
This makes for a nicely reinforced handle anchor and the double fold over at the top of the bag gives it nice body.