Shopping bag

I started sewing the little patchwork panel for this shopping bag in June last year. Why did it take me so long to finish?

Foldaway shopping bag made by Granny Maud's Girl

The handle features a traditional patchwork star.

All was going swimmingly, but as I was about to sew closed the turning opening in the rectangular panel that makes up the handle, I did a test fold and discovered that it was too small to wrap around the bag, no matter how tightly I folded or rolled the bag. I realised that I would have to unpick the handle and make the background panel larger. It was late that day, so the project got dropped in a basket on my sewing table. Other stuff got piled on top of it, and it was temporarily forgotten.

All I had to do to fix the problem was add ¾ inch to one end of the handle panel so there was enough of an overlap for the snaps. This addition allowed me to add the snaps without poking nasty holes in the patchwork – something I was not keen to do.

Foldaway shopping bag made by Granny Maud's Girl

The simple tote bag is rolled up and secured in a patchwork rectangle.

The other variations I made to the pattern were to substitute Velcro for snaps and to sew the patchwork panel using English paper piecing instead of simple hand sewing. I find English paper piecing always gives a marvellously crisp and neat finish. I simplified the handle construction a little too.

Foldaway shopping bag made by Granny Maud's Girl

The pattern suggested Velcro, but I used snaps.

Foldaway shopping bag made by Granny Maud's Girl

When carrying the bag, the patchwork handle is snapped closed.

The pattern is from a Japanese book by Kunie Yamazaki, which I bought while on holiday in Japan in 2014. There are still many cute projects in the book that I want to make.

Foldaway shopping bag sewn from Japanese pattern

The pattern for the bag is from a book I bought during my 2014 holiday in Japan.

I chose orange for the bag simply because I had an orange piece of fabric in my stash that was large enough to make the bag. My stash is very scrappy – mostly 30-centimetre cuts and fat quarters, and very few larger pieces – so size can be a determining factor when sewing from it.

Foldaway shopping bag made by Granny Maud's Girl

The cheery orange patchwork makes me smile.

I would be tempted to make more of these bags, but other UFOs found in the bottom of the basket are calling. If only I had unlimited sewing time.


10 thoughts on “Shopping bag

  1. I’m curious – do you read Japanese? Or did you just use the photographs as inspiration for creating your own pattern? It’s a great idea and I’m filing it as a possible project for later. Looks like a very useful item to tuck away in the car for unexpected shopping.

  2. Very sweet bag, and whats interesting to me is that my daughter and faily are living in Okinawa right now (military) and she is always sending me these darling cloth shopping bags 🙂

  3. What a cute bag. I often put something aside and then it just buried under other stuff. That’s why I keep of list of projects on the go. LOL

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