I designed this bag for beginners sewers in my textiles class. It's a great project to introduce students or others to the sewing machine. The basic design provides beginners with plenty of opportunity to practice stitching straight seams.
The size can easily be modified to suit your needs.
Step 1: Cut Out the Template.
I wanted my bag to be large enough for my students to store their sewing projects during the year, so I drew my template at 42 x 38cm. This is an easy template to change. You can decide on your preferred shape - rectangle or square, and size. My bag has short handles so that it is easy to store. I made them 8 x 42cm. These could also be easily changed. You could change the length to make them long enough to carry over your shoulder.
Bag - Front/Back - 42 x 38cm
Handle - 8 x 42cm
Step 2: Add a Decorative Design.
My students had a theme to work with but obviously you could decorate your bag as you please.
Using scrap felt cut out your decorative shapes. I printed a template to ensure that my cutting out was neat.
Position your felt shapes onto your bag front, pin. Using straight stitch sew the felt shapes in place.
Step 3: Create the Handle
Fold the handle pieces in half lengthwise. Iron to flatten. Stitch along open edge leaving a 1cm seam allowance.
Repeat with second piece.
Turn through and iron with seam along the centre or side of the handle.
Step 4: Hem the Bag Top.
Fold the top edge of the bag front over 1.5cm and iron flat. Fold edge a second time. Iron.
Straight stitch along open edge, as shown in photo above.
Repeat with back.
Step 5: Add the Handles.
Fold the back piece in half mark the mid point with a pin.
Fold right edge of back to the centre, mark the mid point with a pin. Repeat with left edge. Remove centre pin.
Use the remaining pins to guide the placement of your handles.
Fold handle ends in, approximately 1cm. See photograph above.
Pin handles in place. Check that they look even.
Using straight stitch sew in place. I like to stitch a square and then from corner to corner to ensure that the handles are secure. See photo above.
Step 6: Sew Bag Together.
Carefully place the bag front on top of the bag back, right sides together. Using a straight stitch, stitch around sides and base. Make sure to leave a 1.5 cm seam allowance.
Step 7: Trim Corners
Trim corners from bottom corners of your bag. This will provide a neater finish when the bag is turned through.
Step 8: Neaten Seams.
Zigzag seams to neaten.
Step 9: Finishing Touches
Turn your bag through. Iron.
Your bag is ready to use.