Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Make a Market Bag with Mexican Oil Cloth

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you know that I have another shop called Mexican Fabric and Fashion.  My boyfriend and I run the shop together and it is a passion of ours.  We are hoping some day it will sustain us full time.  The difficulty I have with running two very different shops is that I don't have as much sewing time as I would like to devote to the Mexican shop.  We are in the process of setting up an extra work area as I will be hiring someone very soon to help out with the BeBes, and hopefully the Mexican shop too.

I spent today working on a project that has been sitting here waiting to be done for quite some time.  Mexico has a huge selection of oil cloth that is used here for many different things.  I was smitten immediately by the material because of it's color and variety, but my boyfriend, and his family, balked at the idea.  Apparently it is not considered a very hip or desirable material by Mexicans.  In fact they consider it kind of a poor persons material.  It's so strange how we view our own cultures.

Well despite what they said I bought myself some with the intention to offer it in our shop, as well as make some cool bags from it.  It's sat here for quite some time but today I spent a good part of the day making an extra large market bag.  Tomorrow I will be headed to the supplier to get another contrasting color to make a smaller sized bag with a different pattern.

First of all this bag is huge.  I intended it to be big but didn't really intend it to be this big.  I'm not sure how practical it is but I still really really like it.  If you would like to make your own bag, check out our shop for the materials.  For now here is how I made it...

You will need:
-approximately 2 yards of each material (buy it here)
-all the necessary sewing tools (scissors, thread, pins, sewing machine, etc)
-ruler and tracing pen

1.  Cut 4 large rectangles each 20 by 23 inches.  You will have 2 of each material.

2.  Cut 4 strips.  Ideally you would only need two strips of 63 inches by 8 inches, but most likely you will not have 63 inches of uncut material.  So what I did was cut 2 strips, 21 by 8 inches, and 2 strips 43 by 8 inches.  I then sewed the small one to the big one to make two long strips of 63 by 8 inches each.  If you are like me and sometimes you are bad at measuring (I am always bad at measuring) make your strips a little longer because you can easily trim them later.  You can't however add material if they aren't long enough.  

3.  With right sides together take your larger square (the strawberry material) and pin your strip to it.  Make sure you line it up to the seam where you sewed the two strips together.  Sew the strip all the way around the strawberry material on all 3 sides.

4.  Take your other strawberry square of material and sew to the other side of the strip with right sides together.  Turn right side out.

5.  Follow steps 1-4 and do the same with the other large squares and strip.  This will be the inside of the bag.

6.  I took this photo to show you that the two bags are exactly the same, however you will not want to turn the liner bag right side out.  When you finish sewing it put it directly inside the strawberry bag.  Adjust it so that all seams align and then pin it inside, starting at the seams.

7.  Pin all the way around the top, folding the material down approximately 2-3 inches.  

8.  Before sewing the top you need to make the straps.  Cut 4 more strips, 2 of each material  approximately 36 by 5 inches long.  This is a personal preference and you can use your flexible measuring tape to decide your own strap size if you would like.  Again make them longer if you have any doubts because you can always cut them smaller later.

9.  Fold the sides of the straps in until the ends meet and/or the strap measures about 2.5 inches wide.  Pin them carefully, measuring as you go to ensure that the strap is 2.5 inches the whole way.  Pin all 4 strap pieces before sewing.

10.  Once you have them pinned seperately put one strawberry and one gingam wrong sides together.  Sew them about 1/4 an inch from the edge removing the pins as you go.  When you finish sewing both straps lay them on top of each other and trim to the same size.

11.  Pin the straps to the top of the bag.  I pinned mine 4 inches from the first seam on the side of the bag.  You can pin them and try it out to see what you like best.  Just make sure you measure so that you place them in the same position all the way around.  Insert the strap approximately 2 inches inside the bag.  Once you have them pinned measure the straps to make sure they are the same length on both sides.  Adjust them if they are not.  

12.  Sew around the top of the bag.  I sewed over the straps twice to reinforce them.  

And voila!  Your extra large market bag is ready for use!  This bag is so big it was a little difficult to get a photo of however I made several more smaller sized bags that are available now.  If you are interested in making smaller bags just reduce your proportions on the instructions above.  These smaller bags finished are 15x15x4 inches.

Making market bags out of oil cloth means that they can easily be wiped out, as the fabric is waterproof.  The material is flexible and folds up fairly easily.  They are also reversible!  These bags would be great for the beach or pool.  If you are not interested in making your own buy yours in our shop here.  

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