• Crafty Mammy

Upcycled Market Bag

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Blogging is relatively new to me - it's something I've wanted to do for some time. It's a cool way for me to connect with you all and share how I make my projects. I was delighted to have my first couple of blogs noticed by Beginner Sewing (Home - and even more delighted when they kindly shared them with their 100K followers :-)

I was recently asked by Beginner Sewing to do a tutorial for their online magazine... WOW!! The answer was definitely yes :-) The brief was to do an upcycling project, producing a market bag and incorporating a print from Creative Fabricia into my project (Creative Fabrica - Premium Crafting Fonts, Graphics & More).

After some thinking and searching through my (rather large) stash, I came across some old curtains and a bed sheet which I thought would be perfect for this upcycling project. Here's my finished bag:

You will need:


To create a two tone bag like mine: take a 13"x14" piece and sew a 3.5"x14" piece to the bottom. Do this twice for front and back using 1/4" seam allowance


Two 16"x14"pieces for a plain bag

Two 16"x14" pieces for interior lining

One 16"x 8" piece for interior pocket

One 48"x4"piece for handles (you can go longer or shorter depending on personal preference)


Two 16"x14" pieces - I used Vlieseline mid weight, non fusible interfacing

Matching threads

Sewing Machine & pins/clips

Scissors/Rotary Cutter & Mat


Transfer paper - I used the following 5 X A4 T SHIRT TRANSFER PAPER IRON ON LIGHT FABRICS HEAT PRESS INKJET PRINT 180g | eBay

Print downloaded from Creative Fabrica - Premium Crafting Fonts, Graphics & More

I have never transferred pictures onto fabric before... how did I miss out on this fun for so long!! If it's also your first time trying this, I recommend you have a practice run first. The transfer paper I used came with full instructions but of course every iron and fabric is different so give it a go before commencing your project.

It was also my first time using the Creative Fabricia site (Creative Fabrica - Premium Crafting Fonts, Graphics & More). The site is easy to use and has a huge choice of images to choose from... I even signed up for some freebies :-)

I toiled with the idea of whether to put the print on my fabric first or when the bag was complete. In the end I ironed the print on first to ensure it turned out well before proceeding to sew the bag. If putting the print on first, be careful as you work and keep the iron away from it!

Just a couple of tips, regarding transferring your print onto fabric...

1) You will have to change the settings on your computer so that the picture is flipped, otherwise the print will be back to front when it is ironed onto the fabric.

2) Cut in as close to the print as possible to minimise the shiny, clear look of the transfer paper being visible on the fabric. I believe a Cricut or similar machine does this for you but unfortunately I don't have one. I will maybe add it to my Santa list!! Don't be deterred though, if you don't have a cutting machine, sharp, pointy scissors will also do the job.

Lets get started...

Iron on your transfer to your first exterior bag piece now if you wish, or if you're feeling confident do it at the end :-)

I started the bag by making the interior pocket first. Take the fabric for the pocket and fold it in half so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Place the interfacing on top of this and pin or clip in place.

Sew down one side and a third of the way along the bottom (as outlined in picture). Do the same with the other side. This will leave an opening at the bottom.

Clip the corners and turn the pocket right side out by pulling the fabric through the gap left at the bottom. Press the pocket flat.

Top stitch across the top of the pocket to leave a nice finish. Don't worry about the opening at the bottom for now.

Next I made the handles. Fold your long strip of fabric in half and press all the way along.

Then open the fabric out again, and take the top side and fold it in half, down to the iron line. Press down all the way along. Do the same for the bottom side, fold this in half up to the iron line and press all the way along.

Fold the fabric over again at the original iron line. Pin in place and stitch all the way along one side and the other side of the folded fabric. Cut in two and this forms your two handles.

Now we are going to start the construction of the bag. Take your first piece of interfacing and lay it flat. Spray a little adhesive on it, lay your fabric on top and smooth it out (just be gentle if you've already transferred the print). Repeat for the other side. Spray adhesive is optional... you could pin or tack in place.

Lay one side of the bag flat in front of you and take your first handle. Set in place. My handles are 3" in from each side. Pin in place. Repeat for other side of bag. It would be advisable to baste or tack your handles in place.

Now, place one side of your bag down and place the other on top, right sides together and pin or clip in place. Sew down one side, across the bottom and up the other side.

Cut the corners and turn the bag right side out.

Take your first lining piece and place your interior pocket on it, wherever you wish. My pocket is in the centre, 3" in from each side and 4" from top and bottom.

Pin the pocket in place and sew down one side, across the bottom and up the other side. This will catch the unsewn area left at the start when we made the pocket.

When you have your pocket in place, lay this piece down flat, right side up. Lay your other lining piece on top so the right sides are facing. What follows is the same process that we used to sew the pocket piece - sew down one side and across the bottom about a third of the way along. Do the same down the other side and across the bottom about a third of the way along and this will leave a gap. Cut your corners.

Next we want to attach the lining to the bag. Keep the lining

piece wrong side out and insert your bag inside... the bag will be right side out. Remember to tuck the handles neatly inside.

Line up your seams and pin them in place. Add a few more pins or clips to secure the lining to bag and sew right around the top edge.

Now for the exciting bit! Go to the bottom opening and pull your bag through so that you see the right sides of the exterior fabric and lining. Tuck your lining inside the bag and admire your handy work :-)

We're not finished just yet though... we need to close the opening in the lining. Pin the opening closed and top stitch along the bottom edge of the lining.

I didn't add interfacing to my lining as my fabric was quite heavy and it wasn't needed. However, feel free to do that if you need to.

Also, remember that it's important to measure your fabric correctly. If you use the same size pieces for the exterior and lining and the same seam allowances throughout, then the lining should fit perfectly into the bag. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout.

I hope you enjoyed reading this market bag tutorial as much as I enjoyed making it. I'd love to see any bags that you make... tag me in your pictures on Instagram @craftymammyfabrics. For more blog posts and information on my shop please check out Home | Crafty Mammy Fabrics

As mentioned, this blog post was written for Home - Do also check out this tutorial over on their website, where you'll also find a complementary 'how to' video and much more fantastic sewing information.

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