Recycled Market Bag Tutorial

Re-purpose canvas bags with this tutorial from Karen Eckmeier by transforming the outside with waves of fresh fruit and vegetable fabrics for grocery shopping and keep the printed logo on the inside of the bag as a memento. Follow along with Karen’s Market Bag Tutorial to make some of your own.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial.

Do you have a collection of canvas bags from special events? These finished bags are blank canvases waiting for your creativity! My parents take several cruises each year, and wondered what they should do with their pile of keepsake bags. I had a solution! That year everyone received a recycled market bag for Christmas! This is a great introduction to my Layered Waves topstitching technique. Learn to go with the flow by cutting gentle curves to create a unique fabric to customize your market bag. Curves are so easy when they are topstitched!

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags
Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags

Materials:

  • 100% Cotton Canvas Bag with handles and sides with a single seam (avoid bags made with a plastic type material, it melts when ironed and rips easily. Not fun to work with!)
  • Seam Ripper
  • Fruit and Vegetable Theme Fabrics—¼ yard each of six fabrics
  • Black and White Fabric with food related text (optional)—¼ yard
  • Multi-Color Variegated Thread
  • Sewing Machine (I use a BERNINA 770 QE) with Reverse pattern foot #1/#1C/#1D foot
  • Iron
  • Rotary Cutter, mat and ruler
  • Optional—Double Sided Fusible Heavyweight for the inside base of the bag as extra support—¼ yard: size will vary according to the size of the bag

Instructions for making a Recycled Market Bag:

 Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Open up the sides of the bag with a seam ripper.

 Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Use an iron to press the bag open and flat.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Measure the shortest frayed edge. This is the approximate width of the bag.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Select one the fabrics which will be at the top of the bag. In the photo I chose the food themed fabric with text. Cut the fabric to the width of the bag (plus an extra inch or two). Use a rotary cutter to cut a gentle curve to create a strip that is approximately 3-4″ in length. I like to let the design on the fabric determine where and how I will cut the curve.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial
Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

This strip will have a top straight edge and a curved edge.

Materials to make market bags 1200 x 800 press curved edge

Use an iron to press the curved edge approximate ¼” toward the back side of the fabric.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Place this fabric with the pressed curved edge on top of the second fabric. Rights sides facing up.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Cut a curve in the second fabric about 3 – 4″ from the pressed edge of the first fabric. Let the design in the fabric help you determine this width.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Pin in place.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Topstitch 1/8″ from the pressed edge. Align the inside toe of the Reverse pattern foot #1 with the outside pressed edge as an easy guide.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Turn the topstitched unit over and trim the excess fabric ¼” from the topstitched line of trimming. Be careful not to cut through to the front fabric.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Now we begin to repeat the above process…. Press the curved edge of the second fabric.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Place on a third fabric and cut a curve on that one.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Pin in place, then topstitch, trim the excess fabric in back. HINT: I save these strips to make more Layered Waves fabric. Use yours to make an optional pocket.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial
Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Keep repeating these steps until you have a Layered Waves fabric large enough to cover the opened canvas bag. The length should be ½” – 1″ longer at both ends.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Coloring option—if you were lucky enough to find a black and white text fabric, add some extra color with fabric markers. Just like being in Kindergarten again!

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Fold the top edge under approximately ½” and align with the top of the bag. Pin in place. Pin the entire Layered Waves fabric to the bag. End by folding the last edge under ½” to align with the opposite top edge of the bag.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Begin stitching 1/8″ edge from the edge of the top of the bag (which is also aligned with the folded edge of the Layered Waves fabric). Add an additional line of stitching 1/8″ from the line of stitching for a secure edge.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Continue stitching “in the ditch”—next to the pressed edges of each of the curved strips.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

After the Layered Waves fabric has been stitched to the canvas bag, trim the side edges to the shortest frayed edge of the canvas bag.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Secure the edges with a zig zag stitch or use a serger.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Fold the bag in half so that right sides are together (right sides are now the ones with our Layered Waves food fabrics) and pin in place. Sew with a ¼” seam allowance.

Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial
Recycle old canvas bags into made-over market bags with this tutorial

Keep the bag inside out and flatten the bottom of the bag as shown in the photo. At this point you need to decide how wide you want the bottom of your bag to be. This will be determined by the width of the triangle you stitch. The bottom center of the bag runs to the end of each of the triangular points. In this example, I have marked a line 5″ long on each side. I will sew along those lines and this will create a flat bottom that is 5″ wide. Turn the bag inside out, so the right sides are now on the outside.

To reinforce the bottom of the market bag create a sturdy base. Measure the bottom of the bag and cut a piece of double sided fusible to that size. Iron a fabric of your choice on one side, and another fabric on the reverse (cucumbers in photo).

Recycled Market Bag Tutorial
Recycled market bag tutorial

Zig Zag stitch the edges to secure and place on the bottom inside of the bag.

Recycled market bag tutorial

Now you are ready to go food shopping in style!

3 thoughts on “Recycled Market Bag Tutorial

  1. Great tutorial!!! I have several of those canvas bags. Also, just joined a group, and challenge is gentle curves. This tutorial couldn’t have been more timely. Thank you. Also, have too many fruit and vegetable fabrics that need a new home.

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