Tutorial for Book/Market Bag

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I have been making these book bags for many years but I have picked them back up again and have

been asked for instructions so here you go.

 You will need:

2 pieces fabric 18” x 18” here I have used upholstery fabric. Other good choices are canvas/duck, denim, corduroy or any fabric with some substance. I have chosen to embellish the front of mine with an embroidery design but that is not necessary. You can also add trim, paint or Gelli print on the fabric first or appliqué after you have your front and back cut out.

2 pieces fabric 6” x 24” for handles

1 piece of plastic canvas 4” x 12 1/4”

2 pieces of fabric 5” x 15” (to cover canvas)

Using 1/4” seam, sew up one side of the bag. Serge or zig zag the seam. Serge or zig zag the TOP of the bag. Sew second side seam using 1/4” seam and serge or zig zag. Sew the bottom seam again using 1/4” seam and serge or zig zag seam to finish.

Box in the bottom of the bag measuring 2 1/2” from top of the seam. I turn my side seams to the back of the bag. Turn bag right side out.

Make handles. Find middle of strap lengthwise, press each side to middle then fold in half and press.Stitch along each side. You can stitch more or use decorative stitches if you like.

Measure down 1 1/4” down from top of bag. Press.

Insert handles 4” in from side seam (or wherever you like just use the same measurement ).

Tuck handles under the hem from the INSIDE of the bag, fold up and pin in place.

This is where I like to remove the table from my machine to make a freearm. Sew the top of the bag 1/8” to 1/4” from the top. Be sure to catch your handles underneath. Stitch again about 1” away from first stitching.

Press approximately 2” on either side of your side seams and topstitch close to the edge. This is not required but sure gives a nice finished look to the bag plus adds stability.


Make a sleeve for your canvas. Sew the two 5” x 15” fabric pieces on THREE sides using 1/2” seam. Trim the corners,turn and press. Insert plastic canvas fold in the edges and stitch closed. Place the covered sleeve in the bottom of your bag.Be sure and tuck your tabs from the boxing step under the canvas. Grasp the bag firmly holding the canvas in place and stitch on the seam line at least three or four inches each side of bag center. This will keep your sleeve from sliding around and will not show.

You are done. You certainly can make these bags bigger or smaller just remember to adjust your bottom canvas and maybe your handle length.







  1. Thank you for sharing! These bags are so useful.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial for the bag. I always do a better job when I have clear instructions. Where did you find the embroidery? It made me laugh. I just love it.

    • Thank you. When I get set up with video I will do a better one.
      I am not sure exactly where that embroidery came from as I have lots and they are stored on memory sticks. I buy from Etsy (just search theme/embroidery design and lots of shops will pop up), also Designs by Juju,and Embroidery Library.com. I hope that helps.

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