Intro: Sheepy Shopping Bag
This is how to make a fairly robust shopping bag.
Firstly, you need to buy a fairly thick fabric with a nice design.
Then cut out 5 pieces for the sides and the bottom. In this instance, I cut:
a 380 x 130 mm piece for the bottom
2 450 x 380 mm pieces for the front and back
2 450 x 130 mm pieces for the two sides.
(This left plenty of overlap as the finished bag was 400 mm high, by 350 mm wide and 100 mm deep)
Then sew together your pieces, sew the inside side of the material (so when you look at the patterned surface, the seams are on the inside). Sew all of the sides onto the bottom first checking that the edges will be nice and straight. Then you can sew each edge. I sewed by hand, but you can machine-sew this (I just don't have a machine that works very well)
To ensure that the seams are strong enough for your shopping, run a bead of glue along the inside of each seam with a glue gun.
Then tidy up each seam with a blanket stitch, fold the excess material over as you stitch to produce a neater result.
Then fold over twice and sew along the top of the bag to make the top edge. If you run an iron over it to make firm creases it will be easier to sew.
To make the handles, cut two long strips of fabric. Mine were 7500mm by 75mm (this was for fairly long handles).
Fold these over and iron flat, ensuring that all of the frayed edges are folded inside, pin it until you are ready to sew..
Then sew the edges together.
Turn your bag so that the insides (and the seams) are now inside
Then sew your handles to your bag. To create a nice finish, fold the end of the handle over to hide the frayed edge. Measure from the edges of the bag to ensure that you get the handles central.
Then pin the handles where you want them. Before you sew then on, hold the bag by the handles to check that they look central and that the bag doesn't drag on the floor as you walk.
Then sew them on. Bear in mind that the handles will take the bulk of the weight of the bag contents, so make sure that you sew them on well.
I then decorated my finished bag with some of my Fabric flowers (https://www.instructables.com/id/Fabric-Flowers/), and I made a little charm with some chain and buttons.
This made a nice present (as well as bag for other presents) for my Mum's birthday :)