Wahoo! It’s that time again for Farmer’s Market!
Our favorite is held every Thursday night during the spring, summer and into the fall. The main street downtown is closed for four or five blocks, so that there is pedestrian traffic only. There is usually a stage where bands take their turn entertaining everyone. Vendors line the sidewalks and most of the permanent stores and restaurants extend their hours on Thursday nights.
It’s truly a festive occasion with oodles of heirloom fruits, organic vegetables, food, flowers, potted plants, food, entertainment, handmade clothing, crafts and……… did I mention food? My daughter-in-law’s mother, Donna, made me a beautiful cloth bag to take with me to the market. Isn’t it beautiful! She used french seams so that there are no raw edges!
When hubby and I go to the Farmer’s Market, we spend hours there browsing and sampling and buying. If you are like me, by the time you are halfway done, your arms are tired of carrying your purse and your purchases. If you want to stop for dinner at one of those yummy restaurants, you might worry that your lettuce is getting too warm while the hours pass by! I’ve been thinking about this all winter, and I came up with a plan to make a Farmer’s Market Bag – A bag that holds all my necessities (no purse needed), along with my purchases, and keeps everything cold to boot!
Using some of the design elements of Donna’s bag, I decided to make another one and incorporate all of the needed elements for my Farmer’s Market Bag!.
- Use washable fabric I had some fabric scraps to make the bag. I bought an inexpensive flannel backed vinyl tablecloth.
- The first step Zigzag the edge, then turn down about 1/2 inch and sew flat.
- Sew long sides together Sew the long sides together, forming a 3 sided pocket, then zigzag the raw edges. I ironed the edges flat and sewed each edge down, to form a stiffer and more stable side.
- Make the bottom corners Place the bottom of the bag with the seam in the middle, forming a triangle. Measure a point that is about 5 or 6 inches wide from each side of the triangle. Sew a seam across this line
- Finish the bottom corners Sew the triangle piece down on the inside of the bag. This is what the bottom of the bag looks like on the outside.
- Almost done! Line up seams and corners. Fold in the vinyl liner and pin about 1/4 inch from the top of the cloth bag
I started out with a piece of fabric about 40″ x 18″, and another piece of vinyl tablecloth cut to the same size. I first zigzagged the short sides then turned them under about an inch and sewed this down. Then I sewed the long sides together, to form a pocket about 38″ x 17″. Next, to make a rectangle bottom, fold the bottom corner to form a cone shape (see illustration) and sew a seam 5 or 6 inches wide. Then take the triangle, fold it to the inside of the bag and secure with zigzag stitches. The basic bag is now done. Do the exact same thing with your vinyl tablecloth, except the triangle for the bottom is on the outside. See illustrations above.
Now, place the vinyl tablecloth inside the cloth bag so that the vinyl is facing inward, line up the seams and corners, and fold down the vinyl tablecloth top edge so that it fits just 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the edge of the cloth bag and pin in place. I found this easiest to do with a box almost the same size as the bag inside. Now set this aside while you make the strap.
The fabric for the strap was cut 68″ long and about 12 inches wide. I sewed the length of the strip, turned it inside out, centered the seam then ironed it flat. I then sewed a seam 1/2″ from the center seam on both sides, which am hoping will give the strap some stability and strength.
Now it’s time for the magic! Pin the bottom of the strap to the bottom of the side of the bag (see illustration below). Decide where you want your pockets and make sure that you leave a large enough opening to get your hand into! I left one opening on each side about 5 inches wide. Sew the strap onto the bag about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the edge of the strap, leaving the pocket opening, and make sure you back tack both on the bottom and top of the opening.
Because of the way the fabric tries to bunch up, I found it easiest to start sewing the seam at the center top of the strap, down each side to the bottom of the bag. When you sew the opposite side of the strap you make one continuous seam without any openings for pockets. You now have pockets to store your keys, cell phone, change purse, etc., but the magic is that inside the bag you now have a pocket that will hold frozen water bottles or one of those reuseable ice substitute packs – which helps to keep your produce cool! Cool!
The final step is to sew on a flap to cover the top. I cut a piece of fabric 1 inch wider than the top of one top side of the bag, in my case 15″, and about 20″ long. I folded this right sides together, sewed a seam up either side of the flap so I had a 3 sided pocket that was 14″ x 10″. Insert the raw edge of the flap between the top edge of the bag and liner and sew a seam about 1/4 inch down. It’s done! You can add a button or snap to keep the flap down if you prefer.
And the best part? Because the bag is lined with the vinyl, the inside wipes clean with a damp cloth!
Now I have two bags. My hubby can carry one and I will carry the other! The one Donna made will be perfect for dry goods, handmade items and brochures/books. The other will hold my keys, money, cell phone and ID (just in case someone is giving wine or beer samples) in the pockets and will also keep my produce cool until we get it home. :)
Farmer’s Market – here we come!
Do you like to attend Farmer’s Markets? Or, perhaps, are you a vendor at one? Let me know what you think of this bag. If I get favorable comments, I might just add it to my Etsy Store!
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