We have stepped into fall here in Tucson and the mornings are so nice. This year, life has been truly altering and there are so many things that I miss doing. I love Farmers Markets! On Saturdays when I can find time to run, I like to park at the Farmers Market so I can check out a few booths and get a little exercise in. All before I start sewing. These cooler days have me wanting to get out and about, so I made the perfect bag to take shopping as soon as I am mentally ready to get back into the swing of things. It’s called the Farmers Market bag. 

Handmade Farmers Market Bags made with Riley Blake Fabric

I have been a little obsessed with the Jelly Roll Rug pattern that I used last year to spruce up the bathroom. I can see the ball of fabric rope being used for a variety of items like bags, plant pots, cat homes (all things that I have made) and more. When I saw Bee’s Life fabric, I instantly reminded me of the honey guy at my Farmers Market and my ideas for a Farmers Market bag began to develop.

Ball of fabric rope
I the Jelly Roll Rug Pattern to make a Farmers Market Bag

The Fabric

This line of fabric called Bee’s Life was created by Tara Reed for Riley Blake Designs. Its colors include blacks, whites, yellows, and greys. I love all of the design elements which include honeycombs, bees, hives, and stamps. It’s the perfect blend of a traditional and modern. To me, bees are a super insect and l love to pay homage to them any chance I get. So, working with this fabric line was a must.   

Bee's Life Fabric from Tara Reed

Making the Farmers Market Bag

The directions for making the fabric ball are in the Jelly Roll Rug pattern, so I will refer you to that pattern for the steps on how to make that part of the project. That is not my intellectual property, so if you would like to get that pattern click here.

I created a video on how I made the body of the Farmers Market bag. I made the video on the phone and it is hard for me to get a detailed image of the stitches so I added a close up photo so you can see what I see when I am sewing the strips together. The video gives you a good idea on how to manage the bag as it is stitched together. Then when you are ready to attach the handles to your bag I show you the two different types of handles that I used and brief explanations on how I attached them. You can find that at the bottom of this blog post. I hope you love it! It is such a simple and fun project. Really the most time consuming part of the project is making the fabric ball; after that it is smooth sailing.

The Video

Tips on making the bag body:

  • The bags that I have made so far have been made using fifteen 2 ½” strips of fabric. So, this is the perfect project to use up your extra jelly roll strips.
fabric rope made from the Jelly Roll Rug
  • Place the ball of fabric in a bowl (I use a batter bowl) so the ball doesn’t roll around on the floor. However, you should have an extra amount of rope unrolled at all time, so the rope doesn’t pull on the bag in progress.
  • My starting fold was at 7 3/4″ for the black bag and 9″ for the white bag.
  • Make sure your zig zag stitch is wide enough to sew two strips of rope at the same time. The needle will be in between the two strips and when it jumps left it will stitch on one strip and when the needle jumps right it will stitch on the other strip.
  • Make sure you keep stitching both strips. If you miss the edge of one strip, go back to the last stitch that was correct and start again.
Close up image on sewing the Farmers Market Bag together
  • Lift the body of the bag up so it is flat when it is under the foot and needle.
  • Make sure you tuck the starting edge and the ending edge of your rope on the side of the bag.

Adding Wooden Handles to the bag

Farmers Market Bag with wooden handles

I have had these wooden bag handle for years and I am sooooo excited to finally use them. I created four 1″ x 4 1/2″ straps. Folded them in half and stitch the straps to the bag. I double stitched two different seams for extra durability.

To make the straps I stared with four 5″ x 4″ rectangles of fabric and four 4″ x 4″ rectangles of interfacing. (I used a thick interfacing, but it was really too much.) Fold 1/4″ over on both sides of the rectangle, making the rectangle 4 1/2″ x 4. Stitch folds down. Fold the rectangle in half (2″ x 4 1/2″) and iron. Then fold the raw edges to the middle fold (1″ x 4 1/2″). Iron and then stitch down the open edge.

Adding wooden handles to the Farmers Market Bag

Adding Leather Handles to the bag

Farmers Market Bag with leather handles

For the black and yellow bag, I used leather straps that had holes already made which made it easy to stitch to the bag. I measured 5 1/2″ from each side and 2 1/4″ from the top of the bag. I decided to hand stitch them to the bag, but it would have been easier to machine stitch them in using a jean or leather needle.

Adding the leather handles to the Farmers Market Bag

Happy stitching!!