Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chinese Peasant Bags

Above is a Chinese peasant bag that Sarah brought home from China. I fold it up and keep it in my purse to use to bag up purchases instead of using a plastic sack. It's quite easy to use. Just tie a loose square knot with the handles and carry the bag.

When I was in China I purchased more of these and then promptly gave them all away. At first I thought I should have purchased more, but then realized I could make them myself. With Emily's help, she took apart hers, we learned that it's made from a rectangular piece of fabric: about 45" long. I purchased fabric remnants from Frank's in Claremont, NH to use to make more.
Here is the finished product - the 4th one I've made.

This piece measured 45" long by 16.5" wide. The trick is to fold and press then stitch.

The first fold is a triangle. From this the bottom edge will be folded to lay against the left edge of the above triangle.

The original triangle is on the right with the bottom edge against it on the left side.

Here it is turned over. The point of the top left will be one of the handles. The bottom fold will be the bottom of the bag.

The last fold is to make the right edge of the bag and the other handle. The handles aren't the same length but to do that would make a smaller bag overall. This fold is to bring the selvage edge to match the diagonal edge. There will be overlap on the bottom edge. Use the iron the press all the folds.

Iron all the edges that need to be turned under.

First stitch the overlapping corner on the outside. This was made by your last fold.

Finished stitching.

Turn the bag inside out and stitch the first triangle edge to the long side of the rectangle. You will want to turn it under twice since this will be an edge once you get passed the seam.

Here's that seam stitched and pressed.

The last thing to stitch is the overlap. The corner is already stitched but you'll need to carefully stitch down the overlap and take care not to go into the back of the bag.

I pin it in place and stitch.

Stitch both on the front side and the inside.

Here's the bag done. First the flap side stitched in place.

And the reverse side.

Completed bag with ties knotted.

Once you get the hang of this it takes less than an hour to make. I have 7 made so far.